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    In love school with Dr. Hakim in It Takes Two!

    Who I am
    Marie-Ange Demory
    @marie-angedemory

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    Before moving on to the review of It Takes Two, it is right to spend a few words on its creator: you know Josef fares? But yes, that guy who every time he gets on the stage of some videogame event has to throw down at least one amused "Fu * k!" towards something or someone, a guy who is always over-excited and smiling. A real silhouette, in fact.

    There are those who remember him for his curses and for his scenic eccentricity and, of course, there are those who also remember him for his video games. Games that have always been well received, by the way. Brothers: a tale of two sons (Starbreeze, 2013) won several awards and convinced most of the critics, thanks to his delicacy and his knowing how to make us collaborate with ourselves by controlling two characters simultaneously. Then it was the turn of A Way Out (Hazelight, 2018), another cooperative game - this time for two players - which featured two prisoners intent on escaping from prison, in a crescendo of situations and emotions. Here, too, the success of audiences and critics was more than deserved.



    But now it's time to evaluate It Takes Two, Fares' third work and Hazelight's second. Will he be able to keep the evolution seen in the previous games or will his personality over the top end up influencing, in a negative way, his qualities as an author?

    Ok, he succeeded. It is useless to wait for the end of the review to admit it: with It Takes Two, Fares has created not only his best game but also one of the most interesting, varied and fun video games of recent years. With these few exalted words I could make you guess the reasons why you should play It Takes Two, without even having to write the entire review. After all, to describe the game, a sentence might be enough, like: “It Takes Two is an exceptional work, an incredible game, a title that offers fun and emotions all the time. A succession of overwhelming situations, supported by extremely varied gameplay and artfully packaged in all its forms ". Clear, right? No, that's not enough. Give me time, let me tell you more. I want to talk about this game. Then you can go and buy it.



    A couple that breaks out

    Take Toy Story, mix it up with a troubled marriage and add a dash of "Honey, I shrunk the kids!". Now replace "boys" with "parents", then replace Woody and Buzz with May and Cody, the mother and father in full marriage crisis protagonists of this story. Concerned about the dramatic family situation, Rose, their little daughter, devotes herself body and soul to strengthening the relationship of her parents, trusting firmly in the advice of Dr. Hakim, the writer of the Book of Love which, mysteriously, Rose has come into possession. Filled with hope for this rediscovered aid, the girl expresses the desire that triggers the spark of events: so, to ensure that the two can find their love again, Cody and May are transformed into dolls that the girl had made in their image and similarity. The culprit of all this is none other than the author of the book on love: Dr. Hakim! Following her unusual course on love is the only way out of the nightmare!

    The story behind It Takes Two is little more than a narrative gimmick to introduce characters and motivate their journey through the game. A simple and tested plot, but which thanks to the development of the protagonists and the continuous interventions and advice of Dr. Hakim (whose voice is given by Fares), manages to motivate every situation, give a logical sense to the settings and a natural coherence to the various equipment that May and Cody will have at their disposal.

    It Takes Two is an exceptional work, an incredible game, a title that offers fun and excitement all the time

    Each "advice" of the doctor corresponds to a different power, each power corresponds to a different approach to gameplay. This rule applies throughout the game, allowing us to tackle each setting with a different arsenal, suited to a level design designed specifically for the power or tool supplied. With the exception of the grappling hook, which can be activated towards specific platforms by pressing R1, no other power will accompany us throughout the game. I am absolutely certain that revealing even just one of the powers provided can ruin the experience, even if to a small extent. The thing I can say, without the fear of spoiling the pleasure of discovery, is that each upgrade received at the beginning of the level perfectly balances the gameplay between the two players; almost all the situations proposed are in fact suitable for the players to collaborate and every characteristic of the equipment in possession compensates for the shortcomings of those in the possession of the other player.



    USEFUL INFO

    I played It Takes Two on PS4 Pro with my wife, who also gave me the game (only to be a great gift for both of us). Some sessions went on for a long time, finding us so involved and having fun that we couldn't get away from the game!

    Duration
    • To complete the story it takes about a dozen hours, time expands based on the curiosity in discovering every secret and wanting to interact with every available element.
    Structure
    • Split-screen cooperative game for two players.
    • The adventure is structured in different environments and zones, each zone is divided into separate levels (selectable at will once completed).
    • Basically it is a cooperative platform, but it constantly transforms going to tease practically every known genre.
    Collectibles and Extras
    • There are no physical collectibles, but the hidden elements reserve very funny skits and situations.
    Game Card
    • Game Name: It Takes Two
    • Release date: March 26 2021
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
    • Dubbing language: English
    • Texts language: Italian

    Crazy, Stupid Farez

    As if the variety of powers and arsenal supplied and the perfect integration between players and level design were not enough, the game offers a succession of extremely varied situations, over the top and always (really, always!) Interesting and never banal. Each area you face offers new, new possibilities changes in gameplay and completely unpredictable new situations. The starting point is that of a platform game, but over the course of the title there are so many styles and genres that it is impossible to count them all. Just as it is impossible to grasp all the quotes and inspirations that influence every choice of gameplay and level design.



    The most surprising thing is that every genre that Hazelight draws on is remodeled and reinterpreted to fit the context. We do not jump from pole to branch with elements copied and thrown there to make up the numbers, but every addition and every style is reshaped and adapted to the context and gameplay. Even more incredible is how, for the entire duration of the game (about thirteen hours) there is never a situation identical to the other or an environment that remembers one already seen.

    The variety of levels and their implementation is another jaw-dropping factor. Each level is built in an impeccable way, from the smallest and most introductory ones, up to those with huge areas that can be freely explored. Thanks to always solid gameplay, jumping and running from one side of the larger levels to the other is a real pleasure, also because it is in them that the most intriguing goodies that the game has to offer are hidden.

    Exploring the corners of each level allows you to discover minigames, which can be played freely once unlocked. The interaction with the "suspicious" elements and the player's curiosity will give the stages further depth, rewarding him with hilarious skits, continuous quotes and, last but not least, unlocking the objectives that the game offers.

    Pixar, Step Out!

    As already mentioned It Takes Two is based on a platfrom skeleton, but it will almost never be linked to the concept of finishing the level (or a section of it) going from point A to point B. Exploration almost always dampens the journey, and the proposed puzzles give rhythm to each section. Activating levers, unlocking passages and facing fearsome bosses are factors that constantly mark the game.

    Whether it is the deep space reachable from a simple bedroom or the dense jungle that hides in every garden, the realization of the scenarios is of absolute value. Not only for the technical side, where however It Takes Two comes out with its head held high, proposing perfectly reproduced lights, colors and surfaces, all those strokes of genius that transform common objects into extraordinary scenic elements are also surprising.

    For the entire duration of the game (about 13 hours) there is never an identical situation to the other or an environment already seen

    The imagination of Hazelight artists went at full speed, riding a bunch of really crazy ideas. From the mechanisms to the elements of the scene, everything is the result of an idea that reinterprets the shape or use of a trivial object into something more, whether it is a simple platform, an entire level or an accessory to actually use in the game. There are also moments in which the earthly dimension of the environments is abandoned, heading towards the increasingly abstract and imaginative reinterpretations of the same. These two visual elements never go into contrast, on the contrary they are perfectly linked to the context and to what is gradually being told. The evolution of the levels goes hand in hand with the evolution of the characters, discovering themselves more and more similar and accomplices, put in crisis by bad habits and by that terrible vice (which often affects us all) of taking things and people around us for granted.

    The courage of Ideas!

    The ideas that the game abounds in are the reason why it is so fun and well done. Fares' courage to throw in all those ideas is rewarded by the fact that It Takes Two is extremely genuine and fresh. Although the game poses a big limit, that of being strictly played by two, this decision cannot be perceived as a discriminant or a defect, as it arose from a clear choice of its author. In this way, without stakes and without external constraints, the work demonstrates the importance of having courage in pursuing one's ideas.

    The imagination of the studio's creatives went at full speed, riding on a series of really crazy ideas

    As I said at the beginning, maybe not many words were needed to describe It Takes Two or, on the contrary, they would never be enough. The elements to talk about would still be many, the fact is that the latest Hazelight effort places the studio, and its founder, in the spotlight of the entire industry. The only element that can really hold you back from buying is the physical lack of the prerequisites that the game requires in order to be played, which can actually fail in various cases: you need two people, two pads or a connection and a friend / friend with which to play.

    If you have everything you need, play it without thinking twice and, if for any reason, you do not meet the requirements of the entrance ticket, my personal invitation is to do everything possible to get it. I guarantee you that the effort will pay off, trust me.

    Videogamingallday.com review
    Graphics

    Always at the top. On PS4 Pro (the tested version) the double screen does not affect the fluidity in the least, and the rendering of materials, effects and the variety of environments completes a picture of absolute excellence. The general inspiration gives further value to the work.

    90
    SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

    Music always present and well representative of the various levels with some peaks of absolute thickness, especially in the final part. An absolutely first-rate harmony of sounds. The dubbing takes up in a very pleasant way the various tones of the characters, both in their squabbles and in the sweetest moments. Special mention for Dr. Hakim di Fares, very funny and crazy.

    90
    GAMEPLAY

    An incredible variety of situations continue to follow each other with a crazy naturalness, adapting each time flawlessly. Each new mechanic is offered to the player as if nothing had happened, always making him feel at ease despite the sudden change in the rules.

    96
    Total Rating scale
    95
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