Maintaining a Healthy Relationship: Lessons Learned from Playing “A Way Out”
When it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship, there is no shortage of advice out there. From effective communication to setting aside quality time for each other, the suggestions are endless. As someone who has been in a relationship with my partner for nine years, I like to think that we have mastered these skills. Not much can shake our bond. However, all of that changed when we decided to play the two-player narrative game, “A Way Out,” released in 2018. The events that unfolded during the approximately seven hours it took us to complete the game still haunt us to this day, and I’m somewhat surprised that it didn’t put an end to our relationship.
For those unfamiliar with “A Way Out,” developed by Hazelight Studios, it is a co-op third-person action game that requires two players to work together to solve puzzles and overcome combat encounters throughout the entire story. It is a remarkable example of co-op game design, seamlessly integrating gameplay into a captivating and thrilling narrative. At the beginning of the game, players are introduced to two characters, Vincent and Leo, who are both imprisoned and devise a plan to escape. The players must then decide who controls each character for the remainder of the game. My partner chose the charismatic and headstrong Leo, leaving me with the more strategic and risk-averse Vincent.
It is worth noting that while my partner is not as much of a gamer as I am (it is my profession), she is by no means a novice. In fact, she is the only one in our apartment who has completed “Hades” in its entirety, a fact she proudly boasts about. She has also played through all the “Uncharted” games, so she is familiar with puzzles and third-person action. Many co-op games fail to make both players feel equally important, but “A Way Out” excels in this aspect. The puzzle design allowed both my partner and me to feel like we were contributing something significant while effectively communicating to solve the challenges we faced. Given our long history together, communication was already one of our strengths. As a result, the majority of our experience with “A Way Out” went surprisingly smoothly. The only hiccup occurred during a chase sequence near the end of the game, which my partner struggled with. However, I remained patient, and we managed to overcome it. We were having a great time! But just before reaching the finish line