There was only one game at E3 that stuck out, stuck with me, and wasn’t just a marketing ploy with a check list of token PR talking points: A Way Out. For that reason, it was easily the best that E3 had to offer this year.
Hazelight’s indie made game is being backed by Electronic Arts. Creative director Josef Fares was one of the only few people to take the stage and talk about his game as if he were an actual gamer and game designer excited to play games and push the genre forward by not only telling a compelling story but enforcing gamers to have fun.
So many games demonstrated at E3 seemed to roll through that proverbial masturbatory checklist for shareholders, consisting of buzzwords like “immersive RPG”, in an “open-world”, with a “diverse” cast of characters, containing “epic” moments. Just hearing all of those things nearly makes me vomit. It also made me realize I’ll either never play any of those games or only begrudgingly buy them for $2 during a Humble Bundle sale and let them sit and collect dust in my digital library until I feel like playing one of those AAA games that would probably be the equivalent of taking a cyanide pill.
However, A Way Out wasn’t like that. It did something a bunch of other games didn’t do: it showed actual interesting looking gameplay that tied itself directly to the story, and made the gameplay and story seem compelling.
Fares gave gamers a look into a project that wasn’t just him being a PR front-man to sell gamers on an endless grind for microtransactions like Destiny 2 or Anthem, and it wasn’t just some hipster bull-crap designed to earn progressive points within the indie clique of social studies dropouts living through trust-fund welfare. Instead, he showed us a real game made for real gamers.
Players take on the roles of Leo and Vincent in a synchronous split-screen tale featuring these two criminals escaping from prison. Fares was reticent to divulge too many details about the story on why the two need to escape, and what they’re escaping for, but we get small hints about it during the game’s story trailer.
Coupled with Caught A Ghost’s “No Sugar In My Coffee”, this indie title looked like anything but a low-budget affair. In fact, even the Dorito Pope himself, Geoff Keighley, had to admit that the game looks like an AAA outing, and I absolutely can’t disagree with that assessment.
A Way Out features constant split-screen play even during the cinematics. Whether gamers play it online or locally, the split-screen will always be there as an indicator so the other player knows exactly what his buddy is doing at all times. This can even be used to cinematic-bomb the other player by doing something goofy or ridiculous while a cut-scene plays in their screen.
One of the things that Fares mentioned to Keighley is that this is not one of those games where there are moments in there just to extend the gameplay. There are fight scenes, shootouts and chases, but they’re all done in moderation to fit the narrative. Nothing is done in excess just to stretch out the play-time. Good man.
It’s for all of these reasons that A Way Out had no choice but to take the Best of E3 2017. It’s not a rehash like Call of Duty. It’s not a microtransaction honey pot like Star Wars: Battlefront 2. It’s not a cultural statement like Beyond Good and Evil 2, and it’s not just a splash screen with nothing to show for it like Metroid Prime 4. I mean really, anyone who is willing to pay $60 based on a title screen needs to reevaluate their life.
Now some of you might be asking “What about The Last Night? That game looks cool, too!” Well, if a developer lacks the integrity to maintain any self-respect, why on Earth should he or his project be rewarded with any respect? I digress.
With that said, A Way Out was definitely the Best of E3 2017.