I’ve said a dozen times that Co-Op isn’t really for me. Multiplayer gaming in general is a thing that hasn’t had it’s hooks in me since I finished Killzone: Shadow Fall all those years ago; and it’s because the dynamic of online multiplayer has changed in a way I can’t really get on board with.
Remembering that this is all personal opinion, if the online world is something you can get behind, more power to you, but for me, there’s something missing.
And that thing, is fun.
Back in the day, I’d lose hours to sessions on Battlefield; sinking a lifetime into these massive team based events that would leave you with such a sense of awe and accomplishment that you couldn’t help but lay awake at night thinking about your next game. Landing in a game with a clan would mean either getting your ass handed to you or getting to be a part of a winning team that made you feel like you were helping.
Assuming you weren’t one of those twats that just ran around acting the fool and disrupting everyone else’s game. That’s what the GTA and Saints Row sandboxes were for.
Than the dynamic of the online community changed. Outside of the typical screeching teens and fucking pricks that just threw insults for no reason, the push towards forcing co-operative play was swift and sweeping.
Maybe I was just mis-reading the signals when I got into games, but that welcoming feeling never seemed to be there anymore. Then Games like Destiny brought in an age of boring games who’s selling point for fun was “Play with your mates”; something I’m not against, but isn’t always easy. I have a wife (that doesn’t play games); a kid that isn’t old enough to game with me; a dog; a job; a podcast; the list goes on.
Games are played in the half hour that it takes the better half to put the daughter to bed and maybe a couple of hours here and there a week. The thought of a 30 hour game needing my attention a few days before we are due to record a podcast about it is one that gives me heartburn. What if I’m a bit tired? What if I fancy a trip to the cinema? My own delicate house of cards can come crumbling down by just thinking about watching the latest episode of Will and Grace or coming across a decent horror movie sale on iTunes.
In short, nowadays, I try to stick to smaller, single player games that I have the time to finish.
Enter, A Way Out.
Considering everything I’ve just said, Swedish studio Hazelight Games’ debut game; a co-op only adventure with a focus on story and puzzle solving together; should be the furthest thing from my console. Ever.
Well, sort of. A good story based experience is one I will gladly take over a super-sized graphical powerhouse. For me, it’s story and gameplay over graphics any day.
Luckily, my podcast co-host John was just as interested in A Way Out as I was. And so, plans were made to get together and game. A logistical nightmare; I’m not the only one with responsibilities, after all.
But boy was I glad we made the effort.
Clocking in at a little under six hours, A Way Out was a fun little adventure game that absolutely needs some form of company to play. Playing alone – Something that isn’t possible – would mean being subjected to terrible dialogue, awful shooting mechanics and even more terrible dialogue. On your own, it would have been unbearable. But together, sharing in the suffering, it was a laugh-a-minute experience that meant we spent more time playing connect four in an in-game hospital waiting room than we did trying to get through some of the puzzles. I shit you not.
This is coming on the tail end of us playing Titanfall 2‘s horde mode together with similarly hilarious results and spending hours crying with laughter toghether in Dead Rising 3. But this was the first time I’d ever done a game from start-to-finish in co-op with the same person.
Playing with your mate is the only way to fly on games like this, and I would gladly fight the schedule to get to grips with more experiences like this one. But don’t think for a second that means I’m going to be pitching up camp with the next Destiny release; hell no.
But I will definitely be looking to drag John into Far Cry 5′s Hope County to go hunting for Bull bollocks for the Testicle Festival together.