Hearkening back to classic platforming adventures like Another World and Flashback, it tells an intriguing tale of a man who'll go to the end of the universe (and beyond) to restore his lost love.
Anything for love
Another World is a 1991 adventure platformer designed by French developer Eric Chahi that has stood the test of time, inspiring the imagination of countless gamers and appearing on multiple platforms – including Xbox One. The Way is proof of its influence.
The Way begins quite strikingly with the main character, Tom, digging up the body of his deceased wife. When he returns home with her lifeless body, you quickly learn that Tom plans to bring her back to life somehow. He stores her body in a cryogenic chamber (Mr. Freeze-style) and then sets out to steal a spaceship for the endeavor.
The first chapter of the game focuses on this theft, giving players a chance to learn The Way's mechanics while still offering plenty of challenging puzzles. Our hero breaks into a facility belonging to his former employer, where he must initially use stealth to evade security robots and cameras. He'll have to perform numerous steps and interactions in order to reach the ship, prepare it, and then load his wife's body before takeoff.
Eventually, Tom picks up a gun. That's a good thing, because constantly waiting for cameras and robots to pass by would get old if we had to do it much longer. The gun has unlimited shots and can be aimed with the right analog stick, making it much more capable and pleasant to use than Another World's finicky firearm. Once equipped, taking out enemies becomes easy, though they'll still score one-hit kills now and then thanks to the element of surprise.
Once our hero steals the ship and takes it to an alien planet, the game opens up and becomes increasingly intriguing. We learn that Tom and his wife were part of a corporate expedition to this planet. There they discovered alien ruins and tantalizing hints at a source of eternal life. But the expedition's bosses somehow dismissed the ruins as unimportant.
Finding your way into the mysterious ruins will require precision platforming, a fair dose of shooting, and eventually, the use of powers like teleportation and telekinesis. The puzzle solutions range from intuitive to overly complex, as you might expect from an adventure game. Platforming challenges can be tricky thanks to slightly awkward movement controls and the protagonist's stiff jump, but checkpoints are usually fair enough to keep frustration to a minimum.
The Xbox One version of The Way features 29 Achievements worth a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. Most of these are quite easy and unmissable, though there are a few optional ones for tasks, like catching a ladder in mid-air and dying several times repeatedly. The Way also has seven collectibles, each of which reveal a memory of Tom's wife. They're usually just slightly off the beaten path, but you can use a video guide to make sure you don't miss them.
The hardest Achievement involves beating the final boss without dying. There are also two Achievements for a choice you have to make at the end, so you'll need to play through the game at least twice (which takes about three hours if you know what you're doing) to get the full Gamerscore.
Overall impression of The Way for Xbox One
The Way is a great evolution of the gameplay introduced by Another World so long ago, adding welcome elements like improved gunplay, better platforming, and more abilities with which to navigate the alien world.
Even if you've never played the games that inspired this one, all you really need is a love for adventure games and science fiction. As long as you're willing to consult a guide whenever you get stuck, you'll find this to be a fascinating adventure with a relatable emotional core. Can Tom discover the secret of eternal life and bring back his lost love? You'll have to play to find out!
The Way costs $9.99 on Xbox One and Steam.
- A great update to classic Another World-style gameplay.
- The story about reviving the hero's dead wife is relatable and intriguing.
- Visit numerous intriguing and beautiful alien locations during your adventure.
- The platforming is a little clunky.
- Puzzle solutions can occasionally be too obscure.
- Enemy designs are generally uninspired.
Xbox One review copy provided by the publisher.