It Takes Two


It Takes Two 

To rebuild a relationship requires effort from both.

Josef Fares has become quite a recognizable figure in the industry in recent years, including for his statement Fuck the Oscars. He was originally a film director and in 2013 created his first video game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, which he developed at Starbreeze Studios. In this game, the player-controlled two young brothers, who were trying to find a cure for their sick father. Having gained the necessary experience, in 2014 he founded his own development company, Hazelight Studios, and started with the help of Electronic Arts the creation of the next title, A Way Out.

In A Way Out, which was released in 2018, we tested two convicts trying to escape from prison, but what made it stand out was that it could only be played by two players. Shortly afterward, Fares and his team at Hazelight Studios began developing the company's second title, which is also played exclusively by two players but has a completely different script and gameplay. It Takes Two was released in March 2021 and Fares seems to have used all the experience he has gained over the last decade, presenting us with his most ambitious game to date.

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Marriage tips from a… book.

The story of It Takes Two follows Cody and May, a married couple who are one step ahead of their divorce. Their little daughter Rose has been affected by this situation and is quite upset because she believes that she is to blame for the marriage situation in her corners. In her quest to find them again, she has made two dolls that represent them and has found a Book of Love to help them. At the beginning of the game, she witnesses another fight and crying while wishing her parents to become friends again, her tears fall on the two dolls. This had an inexplicable magical property and so shortly after Cody and May wake up, but instead of being in their bodies, they are inside the dolls.

The Book of Love he has brought to life is called Dr. Hakim and takes on the role of a relationship counselor. Dr. Hakim informs them that in order to get back to reality they need to rebuild their relationship and to do that they need to learn to work together again. Along the way they will find themselves in worlds that metaphorically represent the causes of the problems in their marriage and passing every track, they learn to face them. The script, although it covers a relatively heavy issue, never gets too dark and always contains a lot of humor, and in some places is moving. What makes the story quite unpredictable is that you will never know what world you will be in and what reason you will be there. For example, once you are in the yard of their house, which has been neglected and the flowers have become giant monsters because Cody gave up his passion for gardening as May never supported him. Even the end is not entirely predictable, although it could easily be done.

Collaboration is everything.

In It Takes Two, as the title says, it takes two to play the game and there is no single-player option. You can either play with a teammate using a second controller or online with a friend by sending them an invitation, without having to buy the game. It Takes Two is basically an Action-Adventure Puzzle-Platform, which in some cases uses mechanisms that we have encountered in similar titles, such as Ratchet & Clank, but its key element is collaboration. On each track, It Takes Two can take a completely different form and from platform to become a Third-person Shooter, RPG in the style of Diablo and others, while the gameplay mechanisms have a huge variety.

Each track represents, many times figuratively, one of the reasons that Cody and May's relationship has taken a downturn and in order to get through it they have to work together. On a track, they have to defeat a wasp nest, which in real life, Cody had promised to fix and never did. At this track, Cody has a gun that throws a flammable material and May has one that throws giant matches at them. So in order to defeat the wasps, there must be perfect cooperation and synchronization. In another, Mary complains that she has no time in real life and cannot be in two places at the same time, and Cody instead claims that there is infinite time, so May's strength is being able to create a clone of herself and Cody being able to go back or forward in time. The examples are many and each idea perfectly executed, but we will let you discover the rest yourself.

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At the end of almost every track, there are bosses, whose battles are just as ingenious as they invite you to test how well you learned the skills of each track. What is remarkable is that wherever you are, you need to work together and combine your skills, otherwise you will not be able to move forward. Powers and special abilities are equally shared and you will never regret choosing one character over another. Note here that whether you play online or local with a second control, it is almost necessary to be able to talk to your teammate, as it will require a lot of communication.

Where you start to feel bored of something, the scene changes completely.

It Takes Two, apart from the huge variety of worlds and gameplay mechanisms, also has several optional mini-games that you can find on the tracks where you play against your teammate and they also have a great variety. There are no collectibles anywhere in the game, as Fares does not like them and most trophies/achievements have to do with moves or actions that must be done on a specific track at a time. Chapter select exists from the beginning, but to select a track you must have completed it first. As we have said, It Takes Two is constantly changing form, which means that you will probably never get bored of it, but once you complete it, which took us about 12 hours, there will not be much to do other than play your favorite chapter again.

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Magnificent landscapes and scenery.
Hazelight made perfect use of the Unreal Engine4 and so It Takes Two is aesthetically a spectacle worthy of Pixar movies. His graphics, although not aimed at realism, are in many places flawless. The detail in the many environments you will encounter is remarkable and the same goes for the protagonists and creatures you will encounter who are quite well designed. The great variety on the slopes results in some looking more beautiful than others as one may resemble a snowy village and another the interior of a clock. The protagonists look almost like real dolls and all the creatures you will encounter and encounter are also full of details. The highlight is the excellent lighting that makes the colors come alive everywhere,

Technically It Takes Two is also even as all of the above are done in duplicate. What each player sees, the other sees. It Takes Two plays at 60fps in both halves of the screen, without a single frame drop, even in scenes where many and almost indescribable things happen at the same time. Bugs or glitches were not encountered anywhere, except once a character got stuck between two surfaces. In general, it is obvious that a lot of work has been done and the title works perfectly, in whatever format you play.

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Realistic interpretations for dolls.

The music of It Takes Two is also quite good and fits every track and setpiece. In each track it changes to suit the occasion and the highlight is a track that has music and song as its central theme, where great work has been done, but we will not tell you more due to spoilers. There are many different soundtracks for each world and no you will never get bored listening to someone. The sound effects are also quite good and realistic and as we are in an almost cartoonish world, they make any situation quite humorous. An example is a horde of bees that has an airplane sound.

The overall experience is also helped by the very good performances of Joseph Balderrama and Clare Corbett, who play Cody and May. Their relationship seems real and the way they react to everything that happens to them is human. Balderrama also plays Dr. Hakim, the Book of Love, but he has done an excellent job and there is not a single point that seems to be about the same actor. Motion capture for the Book has been done by Joseph Fares himself. What is worth mentioning is that the other creatures also have human behaviors and it is for example quite humorous for a squirrel to have the voice of a tough soldier.

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The best work of Joseph Fares so far. 

In short, It Takes Two is probably the most pleasant surprise of the year and if you have a friend, brother or sister, or partner who plays video games, it is definitely worth trying as the second player plays for free. The huge variety in gameplay and the worlds you will meet will keep you until the end without getting bored easily. In addition, such a title, at a lower cost than others and without small transactions and the like, shows another person of Electronic Arts. Josef Fares had said in an interview that he would give $ 1000 to anyone who played It Takes Two and got bored and we certainly could not ask for it. We look forward to seeing Hazelight's next work.


Pros :
- Very nice graphics
- Great variety in gameplay mechanisms and worlds
- The marriage of gameplay and script
- The interpretations of the protagonists
- Satisfactory duration
- The second player plays for free

Cons :
- Minimal replayability
- Some tracks are better than others

Rating :
Graphics: 8
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8.5
Screenplay: 8
Durability: 7.5
Overall: 8.3

One of the best collaboration games. Maybe the best.

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