The thing people remember about co-op prison escape game A Way Out has nothing to do with the actual game itself. People remember the man doing a bad word on the internet telly in the lead up to launch.
And that’s a bit of a shame, because I remember A Way Out as one of the first times I had proper fun playing a co-op game. It wasn’t the gritty story about two very similar men running away from bullets (and bulletting other similar men) – even though I think it’s a perfectly serviceable narrative that gets a bit of an unfair doing – it was the quieter moments where I could just interact with my pal that stood out to me.
You can challenge one another to a game of Connect 4, you’re able to play a bit of baseball, and — my personal favourite – you’re able to splash around in a pond while your buddy tries to catch some fish. That last one probably lives long in the memory purely because of the unadulterated joy we got from virtually drowning each other. Some things you can’t explain.
A Way Out does play like two stitched together single player games a lot of the time, with you and your co-op partner doing individual tasks and then meeting each other in the middle. And it’s in those moments where it falls a tad flat. But when it allows you to just mess about with your friend, it’s a pretty good time. And, without it, maybe we wouldn’t have got arguably the best co-op game ever, It Takes Two.