The Way is split into six separate episodes, with the player's save file being transferrable throughout. The games tracks a huge number of player decisions and other variables that carry over between episodes and greatly effect the player's experience.
The Way begins in media res, introducing the player to the protagonist Rhue. The game takes place in a world referred to as 'the Way', and those who live in it are known as 'wanderers'. Rhue has been wandering the Way for several years before the story starts, in search of someone he lost. His travels take him to a wide variety of locals and introduce him to a large cast of characters. Meanwhile, a mysterious shadow killer stalks the way leaving a path of death and destruction in his wake. This mystery, and many more, will unravel throughout the course of the main plot.
The Way is composed of both 3D and 2D terrain, through a mixture of parallax backgrounds and discerningly used pixel art. Although not all of the characters in The Way were custom designs (sometime being borrowed from other games or from the stock RPG Maker graphics), they remain very well animated throughout. The game does not hold back on pixelated violence, with liberal use of dismemberment and blood splattering. Every major character has a wide range of expressions and emotions that are conveyed well during conversation.
Despite the limitations of the RPG Maker 2000 engine upon which the game was built, it employs some very impressive gameplay systems.
The plunge is one of the two battle systems in The Way. It was customly created within the confines of the RPG Maker 2000 engine. On the surface, the plunge system appears to work like a simple game of rock, paper, scissors. However, the specifics of the system are fairly complicated and are detailed at great length within the game's manual.
During the plunge, players has three stats (Hit Points, Plunge, and Damage Threshold) displayed in combat. Each stat is represented by one of six colors, depending on its current condition.
- Blue = 101%+
- Green = 80-100%
- Light Green = 60-79%
- Yellow = 40-59%
- Orange = 20-39%
- Red = 1-19%
Players will never find themselves equipping new armor or weapons in The Way, at least not in the traditional manner. Instead The Way uses auras to help players improve their attack and defensive powers. By defeating enemies with an aura equipped, the player will improve that aura's stats and learn new specialized skills.
Abilities and stats can be improved in more permanently through the use of notch items. Throughout the game, the player will come across items which can be set into notches in one's sword. These notched items are absorbed through combat by gaining specialized points from defeated enemies. By absorbing these items, Rhue will acquire new skills and grow his basic stats.