A Way Out
Escaping prison and living a life on the run in couch co-op
It’s like a David Cage game but good,” I say to PC Gamer US’s James Davenport after we leave our session of A Way Out. This co-op narrative adventure game comes from Josef Fares and his studio Hazelight. Fares directed Brothers:A Tale of Two Sons, which you may remember as a devastating entry in the ‘sad boy’ subgenre.
I don’t really mean my slight towards Cage’s work. The way his games present interactive storytelling is great – I just wish they were better written. AWayOut impresses in that regard. In the scene we play, set in a gas station, your goal is to hold the place up and take their money. This is not a branching adventure, but you can make choices that shape the dramatic beats. First of all, we can decide who’s going to hold up the cash register – Leo or Vincent. We pick Vincent, my character, because Leo comes across as a hothead.
As we approach, we can send civilians away by lying to them about better gas prices across town. This reduces the likelihood that someone will call the cops. Inside the gas station itself, characters can interact with objects based on their personalities. Leo can drink beer, whereas Vincent can play around with a fishing reel.
Enough scene-setting, then. Vincent presses the gun in the attendant’s face. I find out there’s a safe in the back, which Vincent yells to Leo. Unfortunately, Leo’s grabbed by some guy as he runs into the back. I send Vincent out there and he socks the guy in the face, freeing Leo. I keep Vincent by the safe while Leo talks the attendant into giving up the safe code. One of the NPCs who we forgot to send away from the gas station has fetched the cops, and they’re now incoming.
Out of control
I point the gun at the attendant and pull the trigger, but Vincent just fires in the air. You can’t go on a killing spree in AWayOut – the characters are who they are. We make a swift getaway in the car. That was a tense scenario that told me a lot about the kind of characters we’re playing as, and the writing and acting is generally of a high standard. I’m impressed. You might say it’s like a David Cage game, but good.
In this, you and another person play as Vincent and Leo, two guys who become pals in prison before breaking out. They form a kind of working relationship as they make their way through the world outside of their jail cells.