Above all, you to have to to play It takes two with a second person, whether it’s someone in the room with you or a friend playing online. So I was extremely grateful when my partner, a person with a healthy relationship to entertainment media who generally avoids video games (with the notable exception of Untitled Game of Goose), agreed to play with me. After borrowing a friend’s PlayStation 5, we set out to find out if it was in fact possible to make an engaging game about relationships.
After finishing It takes twothe answer is definitely “yes”… but maybe not this one.
Firstly, It takes two is effective in describing and encouraging cooperation. In each level, May and Cody have separate tools that must be used in concert to complete the objectives. For example: in level one, May has a hammer and Cody has a set of nails, while in level two, Cody has a gun that shoots sap, and May has… a rocket launcher. May can use her hammer to swing on Cody’s fingernails, while the rocket launcher can be used to creatively ignite the sap. Most of the game presents you with a series of puzzles where players must use both of their abilities in concert, along with well-timed jumps, in order to proceed. In doing so, It takes two gives a kind of quick overview of some of the most famous types of games: some levels look like shooters, others like role-playing games, etc.
Since my girlfriend had no previous experience with this kind of game, I had to explain some of the basics of video game grammar: double jumps, dashes, etc. After some trial and error, she (and we) developed a liking to the problem-solving components of the game. Being faced with these challenges really succeeds in spawning the kind of communication that the game is about. summer, my girlfriend and I faced the overwhelming power of a cruel and ruthless enemy: New York City apartment rentals. market. After months of finding a decent apartment in a historically bad time for him, there’s something nice and simple about having a common goal that requires collaboration and has no real stakes.
On the other hand, It takes two has many of its own opportunities for frustration. Even though I’ve played video games for most of my life, I’ve never stopped thinking that the classic video game boss fight is an experience designed to be stressful and hectic, something that surprised my girlfriend, who naturally believed that video games were supposed to be “fun”. Enter the vacuum cleaner, a big scary monster that screams a lot and throws bombs at you. After several attempts to defeat him, our collective anxiety levels skyrocketed as my girlfriend grew frustrated with my hesitant attempts to explain what we were supposed to do. We had to pause, mute the TV, and deliberately walk through each stage of the fight before continuing.
But there was a bigger conflict to come.
I love cooperative games, but I also love winning. So when I’m playing a game with someone who has less fluidity than me, I tend to engage in “quarterbacking,” which means telling other players what to do in the game. interest in winning as soon as possible. Between my slow and deliberate sessions of It takes two with my girlfriend I went through a bunch of ITT with my roommate, who literally has to play video games for her job.
My after-school gameplay was partly an altruistic decision – the game lets you easily switch between completed chapters, and I was hoping my girlfriend and I could skip the boss fights. But I have to admit, it was fun to get through the game quickly and take on some of the clumsier, more elaborate boss fights with a bit more freedom.
When my girlfriend and I started playing again, I knew the solutions to most of the puzzles, so I was a lot less fun as a partner. For a while, I feigned ignorance, “guessing” strategies that I already knew would work. But instead of successfully streamlining the gaming experience, my selfish quarterback made everything both longer and far less fun. Where It takes two think the solution to relationship problems is to act out by talking about your feelings, I’ve found the best gaming experience comes from knowing the best time to communicate and the best time to shut up.
Knowing when to shut up is an incredibly valuable skill, and it’s the one I want It takes two possesses. Because while the gameplay is often quite fun, the story can be charitably described as “wack”, “cheesy” or “really kinda bonkers”. In theory, you’re supposed to follow May and Cody on a sweet and endearing journey as they relearn how to work together as a team and (spoiler) eventually reconcile. In practice, the game presents the couple as incredibly selfish people who should divorce and who should, at the very least, seriously rethink their approach to parenting.