A Way Out

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
A Way Out Game Poster Image
Parents recommend
Mature prison action game with cinematic buddy film flair.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Focuses on a need for teamwork, cooperation, but main story of two fugitives on run after escaping from prison, as well as actions they take along the way, are far from positive influences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Neither Vincent nor Leo are particularly "good" characters, despite having some occasionally good traits. Both, being convicted criminals, are willing to do whatever it takes to escape prison, not go back. Many other characters the duo come across are likewise not anywhere close to being role models.

Ease of Play

Controls are fairly intuitive, easy to pick up, but focus on co-op play requires good communication between two players. Many issues of timing can be frustrating: Since either character can usually perform any task, players will need to come up with some strategies ahead of time, and also agree how story should progress.

Violence

Features multiple firefight scenes, with characters shooting, being shot at. Also a specific sequence that involves players torturing a captive for information with a variety of instruments, including a nail gun, electric cables.

Sex

Number of sexual references in dialogue, as well as a sex scene observed through a window. Some scenes in prison also show some male nudity.

Language

Frequent use of "f--k," "s--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarettes, alcohol make occasional appearances, depending on choices players make.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Way Out is a co-op action adventure game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows. Two players team up, via either couch co-op or online, with each controlling one half of a duo looking to escape prison and find their freedom on the run. There's a lot of content in the game that would not be suitable for a younger audience. The game features numerous scenes of violence, including the deliberate and brutal torture of another human being. Characters make frequent use of profanity throughout their dialogue, as well as numerous smoking and alcohol references. The game also features some blunt sexual content, including male nudity in the prison and an extended sex scene that players can observe through a window after they've made their escape. While Leo and Vincent each have their own beliefs and even occasionally can take some positive, redeeming actions, neither character could be considered particularly "heroic"; rather, they're willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStarBear266 July 7, 2018
Parent of a 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, and 13-year-old Written byMored1984 June 18, 2018

Best store

Best Co-Player game over 2018
Teen, 15 years old Written byMeatballMan August 22, 2019

Good game with mature themes

This is a good game about escaping prison and how you and your friend live after. There is one sex scene which has no nudity, just adult themes. There is a brie... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bydaaaniel December 24, 2018

Multiplayer game about escaping prison and going on the run,.

Involves violence and swearing, however the game has a lot of comedic stuff adding in around the place and most of the violence is not very gorey.

What's it about?

A WAY OUT is a tale of two prisoners, Leo and Vincent, whose fates are irrevocably intertwined after they join in a common goal to escape prison, to reconnect with their loved ones, and to exact some good old-fashioned revenge on those responsible for their incarceration. The two strangers are forced to rely on each other if either has any hope of glimpsing the daylight of the outside world, and to trust one another if they have any hope of surviving their freedom. This is an interactive buddy film where the story depends on you. Players must work together in either local or online co-op play, honing their communication, planning their strategies, and synchronizing their timing, as the story plays out.

Is it any good?

It's a well-known fact that lots of things work better in pairs, like socks, shoes, scissors, and escaped prisoners. So maybe that last one isn't as well-known, but that doesn't make it any less true in A Way Out, a prison break buddy film wrapped around a co-op adventure game. Right off the bat, the first thing you'll learn is that there's no such thing as "single-player" here. You'll need a buddy that's willing to tag along for the six- to eight-hour ride in the gaming equivalent of a three-legged race. If you can't find someone to share a couch with, you can recruit a partner in crime from your online friend list. Thankfully, unlike most co-op games, you don't need to worry about the other person owning the title thanks to its "Friend Pass" system. After sending an invite, your co-op partner will be prompted to download a "demo" version of the game, which contains all of the content but doesn't allow that player to create a game of their own.

The real question is whether or not A Way Out is actually worth making that friendly commitment for. The answer: Absolutely. The game's cinematic presentation does an amazing job of making you (and your partner) feel like you're not just playing a game, but playing an active role in an action movie. It's particularly fun when one player's actions show in real time during the cutscene of the other player, or when a third scene plays out while both players are in the thick of things. There are a couple of minor problems with this movie-like plot development, though. The biggest issue is that the plot is much more linear than it seems. Players can occasionally choose different ways to overcome certain obstacles, like choosing stealth or charm over threats and violence. But it doesn't ever really matter which path you choose since you always wind up in the same place afterward. This also hurts the game's replay value. After all, it might seem interesting to see how events would play out if you went with Plan A instead of Plan B, but since nothing changes, there's not much reason to care unless you're a completionist. Still, like most good movies, A Way Out is at its absolute best the first time you experience it, with no idea what's coming.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about adult themes in media. How are adult themes and content used in entertainment media like A Way Out? How do these more mature subjects offer a different perspective to storytelling, and how can these subjects be discussed with kids?

  • Talk about teamwork. What are some of the strengths offered by working with others to achieve your goals? What are the key elements needed to form an effective team (trust, communication, etc.)?

Game details

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