I’m not normally into cartoonish games, with small characters that look like old school Mario, but The Way has changed me. From five minutes in I was loving the game. If you take anything from this review or if you’ve got a short attention span, then know this: The Way is a must play! The arcade style graphics for the story-based side scroller gives it a sort of charisma and intrigue that just pulls you in. The world looks beautiful and the puzzles are challenging but the story is what keeps you going. The small snippets from notes and Tom’s (You) thoughts even in the first two scenarios of the game are the reason to love this game. It may seem to be cliché but stick with it because it’s like something you’ve never seen before. The RPG is filled with challenging puzzles that, yes can sometimes be so challenging that you need to take a good twenty-minute break and make yourself a cup of tea to calm down. So, in short, yes, the game is hard but stick with me, and stick with the game.
As previously stated the plot in central around Tom, who you play as and control through puzzles space ports and alien planets. Tom has a mission, which is clear from the opening scene to the game which is not only gripping but impelling. The story is something that carries the game, certainly, although you may find it hard to connect with the character of Tom if you’re one of those people who rush through the game and don’t look at things. If you’re one of these people, then it’s simple- this game is not for you. You will either not take in the game as is intended, or you will rage quite because you’ve missed key information to solve puzzles. So, stop and look at things. The game is reminiscent of classics such as Another World, Heart of Darkness and even more modern Oxenfree. All these games rely on story and looking at things to understand the depth of the narrative. The Way has something everyone can relate to; a man desperate to bring back a loved one, an element of exploration and tricky puzzles, The Way I unique but fits the genre while not being cliché or same old same old, as some game sin this style can be.
I found at certain points in the game that I found would stick for example on the alien planet we visit first once Tom enters a sort of tomb, he is chased by a spider, there is a part where you must climb up and drop onto a ledge, I found that you had to stick to the right hand side of then wall and drop down, or else you would get stuck and inevitably eaten by the spider, forced to start again. This sort of thing happened about three times in the first two hours of me playing, which either left me waiting to die via giant spider or forced me to close and reopen the game. Another thing I would change is the save points, while the autosave has saved me from hours of anger and many rage quits, sometimes you just want a closer save point to the tricky parkour part you just spent twenty minutes doing with a very fiddly character. The haphazard and sensitive nature of Tom as a character makes the parkour challenging and at times tedious, so prepare for a lot of deaths. This game is no stranger to rage quits but at its heart it’s a brilliant challenge for our minds after years of games that have gotten easier and easier.
Technically though, the game is good, just a little over sensitive and a few glitches that can easily be fixed in a patch, but on my last leg of the game I started to find the music a bit annoying (my own fault I died far too much) and wanted to turn the music down, I went into settings and did the usual. The music tab got lowered and I pressed ‘A’ to apply the changes. No screen came up to tell me the changes had been acknowledged, so I pressed back assuming it had changed. It hadn’t. I tried again and again. It doesn’t work, the setting option in-game just doesn’t work, which is a bit of a setback, but it forgivable and easily fixable with an update.
While the game certainly has its flaws, the good outweighs the bad, the puzzles, as well as sometimes being the most annoying thing ever, are also the most satisfying and glorifying things ever when you eventually complete (if you get too stuck just look up a walk-through, I certainly won’t judge you it’s a difficult game) them. The puzzles are obscure but it’s a good thing, get exercising your brain while playing your games, kills two birds with one stone. The story again, carries the game, with the somehow compelling nature of a character that doesn’t talk, driven to find a way to bring back his loved one from death. It may seem cliché but it’s honestly very well done to the point were you wont mind the cliché. You make unexpected friends along the way too! So, stick around for that at least. As I previously stated, I am not really a fan of arcade looking games like this, and it’s because the characters never feel real. Yet Tom is more real than half of the characters in some triple A games recently, so nobody can complain. The small thoughts that show through text on the screen are enough to bring the pixels to life and make you root for Tom on his mission, and to care about him succeeding. The button mapping of the game is easy to use and switching between these ‘powers’ you gather throughout the game is easy to pick up and implement into your play style.
Overall the Way is a step in the right direction for games, this game gives me hope in the genre and inspires me to play more of these games that come out in the future. The way the game is made to have you care about a character so much, without the character even looking real with the help of good graphics. The Way has room for technical improvement but please when you play this which you most certainly should do not be swayed to stop due to these slight errors. Any errors are not game breaking and can be ignored, so please ignore. The Way is brilliant and simply doesn’t cater to any specific rules or follow the crowd , it is not scared to make its game difficult or to have no words, and for this it stands out, and therefore is a must play. It is worth the money you will spend and can even have some replayability, although this will not be too much value, you can collect all the side bits, to ensure you have gotten the whole story (this I greatly suggest as a lot of it is interesting). Even if you can’t bare to play it again though, it is still worth it for that story, its amazing, one of a kind. Enjoy. Explore. Get lost in the alien ruins. Ever wanted to bring back your lost loved ones? Live it in The Way.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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