We have interviewed Josef Fares and played his new game, It Takes Two, a title that ‘could bring a couple back together’, according to its creator
Taking out an exclusively cooperative game, in times when there are still limitations to be in the same house with people who do not live together, seems a risky strategy. Although for Josef Fares, designer of It Takes Two, this is the perfect time to foster bonds between people. In addition, the game includes a friend pass with which you can share the experience electronically and for free with whoever you want.
Because the peripheral you need to play is someone else. This new EA title, developed by Hazelight Studios, does not allow a cooperative with a random Internet user, it has to be an acquaintance, friend, partner, family member or even a co-worker. “It’s about you playing with someone you know because you need to communicate. This is not a title to play in parts, the experience is to enjoy it from beginning to end with the same person,” Josef Fares, game director and founder of Hazelight Studios.
Coming from the creator of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and A Way Out, from this game you can expect originality and freshness, as well as that special touch that makes its stories unforgettable and, after more than four hours of review, each adjective remains confirmed. The story is somewhat cliché, a marriage on the verge of divorce, a sad daughter who wants everything to be fixed and a charismatic character who will be the guiding thread and guide of the protagonists.
From Cariño’s perspective, I have shrunk my parents, the marriage, May and Cody, magically turned into rag dolls after the intervention of their young daughter, they will have to cooperate to discover how all that happened and save the situation. The protagonists of the game will be as forced to understand each other as the players themselves, that they will have to agree from the moment of choosing a character, until the choice of tricks to defeat the final bosses.
HOURS OF COUPLE THERAPY
At first glance, the title’s story seems like an intricate activity proposed in couples therapy, and this same format is sometimes imitated in the game. After each chapter, as an introduction, Doctor Hakim, a talking book with Fares’s own voice (and some body movements, according to he himself confessed), will sit the rag couple on a sofa to give them some little advice about love and life as a couple.
“I think It Takes Two could bring a couple back together. Players have to talk and collaborate all the time. In internal tests of the study we have found that couples who have played the title, had the feeling that this activity was something that they needed, “said Fares. “Although they are clichés, the book of love gives many useful advice for couples, but also for friends or any type of relationship,” he added.
In addition, the director of the game himself made a calculation of how many hours of couples therapy the title would equal, “around 14”. Considering how quickly the testing hours went by, they might know little, but the stories created by Fares are always round.
The ability of the narrative to naturally intertwine themes such as the spark of love, family and tender or more emotional moments, with delusional situations such as a cold war between bees and squirrels, is worthy of admiration. Details like this make the player feel that he is facing a different title, away from ‘epicities’ and bombastic speeches, but with an argument with the same packaging.
Each protagonist has a non-stereotypical personality that, in addition, is related to his role in solving a puzzle or the weapons he uses. “May is the hardest part, like the wood, is the one that maintains control and the support of the family. While Cody is like the clay, softer, more sensitive and even fearful, so the materials in the game have to see with the protagonists, “explained Fares.
The mechanics of It Takes Two are its strong point, without a doubt. Used to an industry where the cooperative option is something additional or an extra, when a game is designed and built around this function, it shows. In addition, the action is so frenetic that you do not have time to get bored, nor do you notice repetition in any of the mechanics.
The scenarios and the interactions with the elements are dynamic, sometimes you will have to slide, jump on platforms, withstand hordes of enemies or solve puzzles; making each part of the game look unique and different. Something that seems to be permeating between the different ratings that have been given to the title that has become the best game of the first quarter of 2021, according to the Metacritic scores.
To advance in the story, players will have to coordinate their skills and support each other, something that can attract a more casual audience and less used to complicated video games. Although the game also has 25 mini-games, integrated into the scenarios, although sometimes hidden, that will bring out the competitive streak of the players.
Other of its strengths are the controls, precise and with great ease of camera movement that do not obstruct the action. Something important in such fast games and with platforms. Both aiming and controlling the avatar’s movements are easy and safe, yet another reason that adapts the game to users less familiar with video games in general.
LOVE IN MINIATURE
The fact that most of the action in the game takes place with the protagonists being two little dolls, has allowed the developers to create a miniature world rich in detail. What was once a garden, a living room, a garage and a children’s room, is now a universe in itself. There are times when each area of the house seems like a different game, with new mechanics and abilities.
Visually it is different and beautiful, the most mundane objects, like that half-broken vacuum cleaner that collects dust in the closet, can become a final boss. While the inhabitants of the garden will now be two geopolitical blocks that fight relentlessly to take control of a tree, a war that will also catch May and Cody in the middle.
Despite the simplicity of the story, It Takes Two is addictive, entertaining, and especially visually beautiful. Lacking repetitive mechanics, it is a constant surprise. In addition, the compulsory cooperative, more than subtracting, adds, adding to the experience of the game itself, memories with a friend or with your partner.
In the absence of user ratings, It Takes Two, on sale today, March 26, on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X / S and PS5, is already on its way to carving out its place among the best ratings in the world. anus.