A Way Out - Xbox One

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A Way Out (Xbox One)
Also for: PS4
Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Media: Blu-Ray Arcade origin:No
Developer: Hazelight Soft. Co.: Electronic Arts
Publishers: Electronic Arts (GB)
Released: 23 Mar 2018 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 18+
Accessories: Xbox One X Enhanced (recommended)
Connectivity: Local Multiplayer (recommended), Online co-op (recommended), Online Multiplayer (recommended)
Features: Local co-op (recommended), Shared/split screen (recommended)


A Way Out is a rare thing in today's games market - a co-op game. More than that, developer Hazelight would really rather you play it with a mate sat next to you on the sofa rather than online (though you're certainly catered for if online play is your preference). One thing that's for sure - there is NO single-player mode on offer here. Hazelight is trying to recreate those early gaming experiences when your mates would crowd around a tiny TV and chat, argue, and jostle over what you'd do next. So invite a friend or two round, order a pizza and get stuck in.

The most literal interpretation of the title of A Way Out is as a description of our antiheroes' attempt to break out of prison. Given our damaged protagonists' backgrounds, however - one comes from a broken family, the other has a propensity for violence - the title might also describe a way out of their troubled lives, too. While there's plenty of action on offer, Hazelight has focused heavily on narrative and the characters' emotional arcs. It plays out as an adventure game in the mode of titles like Life is Strange or Telltale's The Walking Dead, with stealth and action interspersed with examination of the environment and conversational cues. The moments of action are punctuated by quieter character moments, however. Evading a police barricade by sneaking (or ploughing) through it in a stolen car might be followed up with a scene in which you're doing nothing more than catching and cooking a fish. It's the relationship between the characters - and the players behind them - that form the core of A Way Out, and Hazelight doesn't forget that.

While there are certain parallels with director Josef Fares' previous game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, the comparison doesn't quite do A Way Out justice. It's a cinematic, relationship-focused adventure that's as much about what happens on the couch as what happens on the screen.