REVIEW: It Takes Two, a co-op game that entertains from start to finish.

by Kelvin
Review: it takes two, um jogo cooperativo que entretém do começo ao fim. Pai e mãe se transformam em bonecos como forma de se reconciliar. A jornada imprevisível de it takes two levará você e um amigo para locais cômicos e estranhamente familiares

Father and mother become puppets as a way to reconcile. It Takes Two’s unpredictable journey will take you and a friend to comical and eerily familiar locations

“Multiplayer” was one of the most played (and watched) genres over the last year. In April 2020, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, first person shooter that is a landmark of the e-sports, set records for simultaneous players. Among Us, more casual competitive, was one of the most talked about last year for its implementation of cross-Intuitive platform and gameplay.

However, it took months until we had a “friendly” game, where cooperation and entertainment were balanced between more experienced players and first-timers. Luckily, the gaming industry has the blessing of the insanely creative mind of Josef Fares, the same as Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and The Way Out, for the design of the ingenious It Takes Two: a game multiplayer that reinvents itself at every level.

  

Released last Friday (26) for PC and past/current generation of PlayStation and Xbox, It Takes Two requires two simultaneous players (local or online) to contemplate a beautiful story about relationships. The best of everything? Only one person needs to pay for the game. With the help of an experienced – and equally patient – ​​longtime friend, I was able to test this game and I’ll tell you everything in detail in this review.

Remembering that all images below were taken by me on Xbox Series X, with a copy of the game provided by EA.

Story

A couple is in a relationship crisis when their daughter’s magical tears make them “own” handmade dolls. With the assistance of a book (with a Latin accent hot), the flame of passion needs to be rekindled, and for that to happen you must set out on a miniature journey while learning to deal with each other.

the introduction of It Takes Two it’s not meant to be taken so seriously, with the comic relief of the whole story being the advice book itself, Dr. Hakim. Over 7 chapters, protagonists Cody and May traverse different environments, all in the proximity of their own home. Even with humor in the foreground, Dr. Hakim’s lessons and the situations experienced by the little girl’s parents can bring reflections to the players.

Without giving specific situations in case you, dear reader, want to play It Takes Two, I just say that the levels are unforgettable. Just look at the screenshots of this review to try to find a very different narrative. You pass by a garden, a workshop, an electronic music ballad, a mole den, a circus and even a castle.

It Takes Two is a game of 12-14 hours, with a tempo that varies according to the style of play. watching all the cutscenes, my gaming time (on multiple Discord calls) hit an accumulated 12 hours. If you and your friend want to find all the minigames and do all the achievements, we’re talking about 16 hours. Casual gamers can take some time to pick up certain mechanics if they are not familiar with it, taking longer to complete the game.

Gameplay and multiplayer

having played so much Brothers like The Way Out, I thought I knew what to expect from the game in terms of pace and gameplay. However, I couldn’t be more wrong: in It Takes Two, you and your partner never do the same thing at the same time – and never repeat the same mechanics on another level. To make it easy, no matter which character you choose, you’ll be able to see both perspectives simultaneously – and a single screen in cutscenes or special moments.

A quality he borrows from The Way Out is the purchase of the game, as one player only needs to make the purchase (digital or physical) and the other only needs to download a copy of the Friend pass on the respective platform/online store. Also, as we are in a transitional period between generations, I was glad to hear that he was cross-generation. The only point that doesn’t make sense is to deprive it of being cross-platform as well, but the choice is even understandable when we consider prompts and specific actions – which can confuse anyone on the PC, PlayStation or Xbox.

In addition to coordination and time to complete the necessary tasks, communication between players is essential. At various times the game places complementary actions between Cody and May. For example, while one of them has a hammer, the other has nails. In another scenario, each person has one side of a magnet and can interact with specific parts of the environment, in order to help the friend progress to the end of the stage.

Just like the complementary variation between players, both also have standout moments with unique abilities/powers. a lot of what we have in It Takes Two is taken directly from dozens of other games, creating familiar (if unconscious) gameplay. Colored buttons in sequence, levers that only work in pairs, applying weight on a seesaw and sliding between train tracks are some examples. A good distraction between levels are the minigames, competitive games that can be discovered in sections of the story. There is minigames like chess, slug racing, slot machine, tug of war and target shooting.

As a result of the gameplay variable, a subject can be put on the agenda. In the end, It Takes Two is it inconsistent? I believe there are two ways to analyze the game’s changes and innovations: one, of course, the lack of consistency in gameplay; the other, this being an “anti-boredom” formula.

In an open world game you will rarely feel bored, as the pace is usually dictated by you. Those who like to explore the map will do this first, those who prefer to go after collectibles will put it as a priority and those who only care about the lore gamers will want to get on with the story as soon as possible. The latest adventure titles such as franchises Uncharted and tomb Raider, bring large sections of the “semi-open” world, which gives the game breath to last longer.

Now, dealing with an almost 100% linear game, with the exception of the sections of minigames and larger areas to solve puzzles, It Takes Two taking a dozen hours to complete is almost synonymous with proof of friendship. Bearing in mind that most players will opt for the online co-op, despite the formula of gameplay is innovated practically every 5 minutes, giving up tends to speak louder. I recommend booking two or three days with a friend, if you choose to end the game early, to avoid the frantic change in game style not reaching the point of saturation.

Visual and Audio

No exceptions or exaggerations, all levels of It Takes Two there were at least 3 moments that made me breathless. I put special emphasis on the last one, the attic, which is an audiovisual treat in its own right. The game is constantly changing miniature maps, justifying the marriage (pardon the pun) between gameplay and visual to culminate in dozens of innocent and fun moments.

Anyone who has watched the latest Disney animations will understand the beauty of this game. I think the most tangible comparison I can make is with Toy Story 4 which, even with a questionable narrative, has Pixar’s most ultra-realistic animation to date. Because we are also in a toy environment for most of the game, the metal, wood or plastic surfaces of It Takes Two give the impression that you just stretch your hands to interact with these textures.

Lighting is another deserved highlight, as getting it right so consistently in varied environments is not an easy task. The artistic direction of this game is worthy of awards. You get the same treatment given to a musical instrument room and a circus that seems like a child’s dream. The realistic textures don’t get to “tired”, as each color palette is renewed when transitioning to a new section of the game. Adapting red (Cody) and blue (May) weapons and interactions makes it easy for those who don’t want to think too much about which character they’re controlling.

Certain themes and game sequences, however, have an even darker approach if not for the visuals. There’s a dismemberment of a stuffed animal that, luckily, isn’t taken seriously – and the look carries a huge responsibility. The only part of the game where I was detached from the immersion was with the simulation of liquids, specifically with one of the bosses. The water seems to have come from a game from the decade before (2000s), even being in the Series X. The strange thing is that the ball pools even manage to look like real water, so the contrast between the two is slightly disappointing.

The soundtrack ends up being complementary to the look of It Takes Two, without very important moments. The cartoonish look has its answer in the songs, because in a chase scene, for example, you hear what you’ve been used to for years – the “formula Tom & Jerry“So to speak. Epic Moments has clichĂ© songs and the climax of each level is delivered without exaggeration.

Sound effects, on the other hand, are able to increase immersion in different scenarios. The dynamics extends to the different environments, with depth, reverberation and attention to the smallest details. O feeling Pushing buttons, sliding across ice or jumping over rubber objects translates into every sense (sound, visual and touch), making each step of the journey a memorable moment.

It Takes Two on current generation consoles

It Takes Two has two positive points when it comes to console: graphical improvement in Series X/S and the fact that it is cross-generation. With comparisons to my gaming friend, who had the game on Xbox one, the improvement is more in lighting and textures (as in other games of the two generations).

O loading of the levels is also absurdly fast, taking a few seconds between cutscenes and transitions. Another valid compliment is about the very little fall of frames (rate of fps), regardless of what happens in the scene. As comments about the game on one, this appears to be a console issue that has been alleviated in the current one.

Conclusion

An example of creativity in terms of atmosphere and gameplay, It Takes Two it conquers gamers looking for a good laugh and some shared entertainment. No matter how casual or hardcore whatever your style of play, the degree of difficulty of the challenges is an engaging obstacle that makes you interested in discovering the outcome of the saga of Cody and May.

The 13 hours of gameplay are great for those who can spend a weekend with a friend, however, the other two games by Josef Fares were more concentrated and could be finished in a single gaming session – which requires local or remote disposition for a longer period. Still, because of the fun, the game is quite worth it.

It Takes Two is available for R$199 for Xbox (Series X/S and One), PlayStation (4 and 5) and PC (via Origin or Steam).

So, what did you think of It Takes Two? Who would you most like to play it with? Let us know in the comments below!