With the success of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and A Way Out, Josef Fares is back with his next cooperative adventure, and grounds himself as the pioneer of modern-day cooperative gaming. Hazelight Studios is back after the roaring success of A Way Out with It Takes Two, published by Electronic Arts. It Takes Two combines a fun, campy and heartfelt narrative with incredibly varied, ground-breaking co-op gameplay, making one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences out there.

It Takes Two (EA)

Instant Immersion

It Takes Two follows Cody and May, a married couple planning to divorce with a young daughter called Rose. Rose is obviously not happy when they tell her and using her handmade dolls that resembles Cody and May, plays with them as though they get back together. What follows is Cody and May waking up in the doll’s bodies, and an over eager, boundaryless relationship advice book, Dr. Hakim, there to help them mend their relationship and get back to their real bodies.

From the get-go you are thrown into the quirky world of being as small as a toy surrounded by what used to be a normal sized world. Through perilous adventures, vastly different worlds and an unparalleled diversity of genre you are taken on a journey unlike any other game experience to date.

A Story Worth Telling

It Takes Two (EA)

The continually changing style and direction of the gameplay always keeps you guessing. The plot is masterfully crafted, getting to the point where you don’t know what will happen next, a really exciting feeling that is hard to master in games. The campy, purposely cheesy dialogue is masterly written and brilliantly performed by the voice actors, creating fantastic characters that have true depth and personality. Cody and May balance a fine line between a crumbling relationship and deep down true love, and Dr. Hakim is the perfect combination of intensely over the top, highly entertaining and super annoying that is needed to pull off such an out there character.

Unpredictable

Whilst the truly future forward application of cooperative gameplay, both local and online, is a major feat of this game, it wasn’t the only factor that propelled It Takes Two to the higher echelons of gaming excellence. The constantly changing nature of this game is phenomenal, if not ridiculous. Each level provides entirely new worlds, new gameplay styles, new stories and new tools/weapons to use. The range and diversity withing this game makes it genre-less, or more aptly genre-full.

It Takes Two (EA)

In addition to the ever changing themes and levels, each world, and each area within these worlds usually contains a plethora of interactable objects, games and easter eggs. There are plenty of versus challenges, from races to button smashing games that pit Cody and May against each other. These are fun little detours that always got me really excited when I came across a new one. Again, these follow the ever changing style of the gameplay, making each one of these challenges a truly unique experience.

In addition to these mini games, a lot of the environments are highly interactable, from playing with keyboards to pressing buttons on toys to name a very small amount of what you can do. The easter eggs you can find of Josef Fares’s previous two games are clever, thoughtful and extremely nostalgic to those who remember these experiences fondly.

Beauty In The Detail

It Takes Two (EA)

You can tell a lot of love and care went into this game, from the previously mentioned narrative and genre-twisting design. But another aspect of this game that blew me away was how detailed the environments, characters and sound design was.

The art style of the game is phenomenal, using a tantalising combination of otherworldly and familiar, if not enormous, set ups. This game is somehow steeped in realism and fantasy, creating a unique, immersive and highly beautiful experience. The environments are wonderfully crafted with explicit details, a lot of which are interactive. The characters themselves are precise, heavily detailed and intricately designed, using imaginative visual ideas to humanise inanimate objects. Each separate world is full of its own NPCs, taking into account the style of these worlds and detailing them accordingly.

It Takes Two (EA)

The cut scenes are expertly crafted and you can tell a lot of time and detail went into the motion capture process to refine these moments. The smaller animation details such as running, jumping and idling again have a high level of thought and accuracy, differing between Cody and May adding to their unique characters and personalities.

The UI is another example of precise and thoughtful detail, pretty much being non-existent unless needed for use of world specific tools.

Final Verdict

It Takes Two (EA)

The fear of a highly anticipated game is when it doesn’t live up to the hype, but what It Takes Two does is blow any worry out of the water. It Takes Two is a ground-breaking game in both gameplay and the cooperative genre. Taking inspiration from multiple genres and interspersing them between the levels, this game is a truly unique experience that keeps you on your toes and has you hooked until the very end.

Score: 9.6/10

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