Published on April 25th, 2021 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: It Takes Two (PS5)
Hazelight Studios are back again with another co-op only game published by EA after the success of their previous co-op game ‘A Way Out’. So how does this improve on and also stand out from the last game? Well it goes for a completely different story and tone and improves on every aspect of gameplay throughout. Let’s dive in.
Story/Concept: It takes two starts out with married couple ‘Cody and May’ telling their daughter that they’re going to get a divorce. Their daughter Rose makes a wish for her parents to become friends again whilst holding dolls she had made of them and of course in true fantasy fashion, her tears landing on the dolls make her wish come true…sort of.
Cody and May wake up to realise they are now in the body of dolls, and of course are tiny in stature, but not only that, the world around them is living and breathing from Rose’s toys, to talking animals and also home appliances. They are met by Dr. Hakim, a literal book on love who tasks them to work together to build back their relationship. Cody and Rose begrudgingly go along for the ride in order to get back to their real bodies and well you get the point.
The story is full of charm, personality and humour. Dr. Hakim had me cracking up with his pure insanity and the interactions between Cody and May just seemed completely genuine throughout. This feels like a proper movie with arcs and a story that perfectly develops throughout the course of the game, making it such a delight to experience.
Concept wise the game is 100% co-op and can’t be played single player. Whether you choose to do couch co-op or online play is up to you, but you’ll need someone else along for the ride.
Graphics: This game is absolutely stunning! the visuals are so crisp with amazing texture work on the PS5 with everything running perfect on couch co-op split screen. I was surprised how well it ran considering players can be doing two completely different things without a hitch. I was expecting to notice dips in either resolution or frame rate but i couldn’t see any and neither could my friend.
All the environments are so lovingly crafted and whimsical. I love that the game is split into different sections so that you get to experience everything from outdoor realistic environments to inside a fairy tale castle to a neon 80s feeling music scape. It all looks distinct and packs equally the same amount of charm. I couldn’t think of an environment really that i thought ‘this just looks bad’ or that didn’t fit the aesthetic.
Characters all look amazing too and it’s nice seeing animals that look realistic and then seeing something like a stuffed animal that also looks as you would imagine it to. Animations are top notch too from the facial animations to how your characters interact with objects and the environment. One of the better looking games of late that had me looking around in awe every time i entered a new locale.
Gameplay: I was so impressed with how much variety in gameplay types there was throughout the entire experience and it is definitely one of the strongest points for It Takes Two. The majority of the game is a platforming action adventure but you also have a lot of puzzles to solve together, 3rd person shooter sections, naval combat and even flying combat akin to something like crimson skies. There’s so much diversity that you never get bored and each chapter you gain a new ability designed for that particular area.
May and Cody both gain different abilities to each other such as one area where Cody has to shoot enemies with a honey like goo which May then shoots lit up match sticks to create explosions and thus killing the enemies and also breaking through barriers. You’ll have a puzzle section where you have opposing ends of a magnet that you need to work together using. Another section has Cody shooting out nails to act as poles for May to swing across. I won’t spoil all the things you’ll be doing but there is so much and because each ability is tied to a specific character, it makes you want to replay the game using the opposite character on your next play through.
Big chunks of the game will have characters split off working together to get through an area whilst others are more of a free roam environment where you can take in the sights and look for hidden mini games to unlock (which there is a bunch of) as well as little cute trophies to unlock by doing or finding certain things. I found it cool being able to do my own thing and saying ‘hey come check out this cool thing i’ve found’ and then realizing your partner is on the other end of the map, all whilst retaining a locked smooth frame rate, it’s really impressive stuff.
Speaking of mini games, there is a tonne to unlock and a lot of them are quite fun. These are all 1 v 1 games that pit you against each other from stuff like the ice equivalent of lawn bowls (can’t remember the name) to shooting galleries, races and even a complete game of chess. They’re all great fun tracking down and just having some fun against each other for a little break from the main story. These can all also be played as much as you want from the main menu once you’ve unlocked them which is another added bonus.
Boss fights are also present and can be challenging as you need to definitely work together as a team, so coordinating your moves and being vocal is a must. It’s definitely a great social experience as well as you really are working together in these moments under pressure.
All in all gameplay wise this game has it all and has so much variety to keep you engaged and wanting more and more.
Sound: Voice acting for a game that has a story to tell that you actually want to invest in can either be hit or miss but fortunately both Cody and May play their parts perfectly and Dr. Hakim is just a nutcase. The supporting cast all play their parts perfectly too. The emotions portrayed by all the characters are all on point and fit the tone perfectly. Both me and my friend enjoyed it from start to finish.
The music throughout fits the themed worlds just as you would expect and adds the right amount of ambiance and accentuates the action at hand. The only slight slight little teeny thing to complain about would be occasionally sound effects not popping, like when you grind a rail we sometimes noticed the sound effect not triggering, but that is so minute that it doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
Awesomeness: Apart from being one of the rare games that you’re able to play split screen these days, the best aspect is how both Cody and May have different abilities throughout the each chapter. This makes replayability a whole lot more worthwhile as anyone who played as Cody will have a different experience the next time playing through the game as May.
Most games you’ll pretty much do the same thing with other characters with subtle difference between them, so this was refreshing that you both weren’t just doing the exact same things through your journey. Admittedly a lot of May’s abilities I was jealous of on the first playthrough, she’s definitely the badass of the two.
Also don’t have any friends to play couch co-op, you can jump online and send a friends guest code so they can play the entire game with you without having to purchase the game. An awesome feature ‘A way out’ introduced upon its release. Hell you could even just find a random on a forum or something and ask if they wanna play it and send them the code. So there’s no excuse for ‘i don’t have any friends to play with’.
Final Word: I was so hyped about this game right from the announcement trailers until release and it delivered on everything i had hoped it would be and more. It is definitely an amazingly unique experience and one that i thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. This is definitely my current contender for game of the year and i will be interested to see if anything can top it.
Out of 5 Bugs!
Summary: SIMPLY PERFECT