Screenshot: A Way Out (Electronic Arts)
If you have been looking for the video game equivalent of marriage counseling, boy do I have a suggestion for you: Grab your significant other and go play A Way Out.
A Way Out, which came out last month for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, is a cooperative narrative game that tells the story of two people, Vincent and Leo, as they escape from prison and try to get revenge on the forces that brought them there.
You have to play the game with two people - one controlling Vincent, the other Leo - and you'll spend most of the time cooperating to solve puzzles and shoot bad guys with weirdly clunky assault rifles.
A few weeks ago, my fiancée and I spent a weekend playing through all of A Way Out, and I am happy to report that our relationship is STRONGER THAN EVER. We laughed, we cried, we fought, and we successfully escaped from the world's most insecure maximum security prison.
Here are just a few reasons why A Way Out is perfect for couples:
- It's not hard to play. Even if your significant other has very little experience playing video games, they will still have a good time with the story. It might take some adjustment before they really get the hang of moving the camera with the right joystick while walking with the left one, but for the most part, the learning curve is not very steep.
- It forces you to cooperate. When one of you is driving an escape van and the other is gunning down police cars, it really adds perspective to the fact that your spouse never does the damn dishes.
- It will probably make you squabble. And over the course of a six-hour game, it's important to have an arc. You need to start off as a flawed but loving couple, until one of you starts telling the other what to do and the other says "stop telling me what to do" and one says "then stop dying" and then you put down the controllers and argue for 20 minutes before going back to the game in silence and then awkwardly joking over a weird Leo joke and then hitting the climax, where you'll both look at each other in shock, closer than you've EVER BEEN BEFORE.
- The performances are really bad. You'll have something to laugh about together!
The next time you and your loved one of choice think about staying home and watching Netflix (ie: every weekend), consider instead staying home and playing A Way Out. And if you don't have a significant other, well, hey, here's a good incentive to go get one.