Jump To Section
We Happy Few on PC
The bobby smirks at Arthur together with his creepy, Cheshire cat-like grin, warning him to not get himself into any mischief or there’ll be hell to pay. He brandishes his baton menacingly, giving Arthur one final figuring out look earlier than turning away. It’s a tense second, particularly because you’re unsure if the bobby is aware of you’re secretly a Downer. After turning away, although, the bobby proceeds to stroll in aimless circles across the bench Arthur is sitting on. Each few seconds or so, he’ll inform Arthur the identical factor he did earlier than —that he must maintain himself out of mischief— then proceed to stroll in circles and repeat the cycle.
This little anecdote might in all probability sum up my expertise with We Happy Few as an entity. The sport provides a compelling narrative and setting, however is consistently undercut by a scarcity of polish, which utterly botches no matter underlying menace and sinister message it was making an attempt to convey.
Developed by Compulsion Video games, We Happy Few takes place in a dystopian model of Britain. On this world, the individuals have gotten themselves hooked on a drug referred to as Pleasure, which places them in a continuing state of euphoria. The individuals are comfortable on a regular basis, however unwanted effects embrace extreme reminiscence loss, senseless violence, and the creation of an authoritarian authorities the place those that aren’t on the drug are ostracized and crushed up.
The sport’s first act places you within the footwear of 1 Arthur Hastings, who holds a job wanting by means of newspaper articles and censoring them earlier than they’re launched for public consumption. At some point, he opts to not take his Pleasure, and reminiscences of his childhood come flooding again to him. Earlier than lengthy, he’s acknowledged as a Downer (people who find themselves off their Pleasure), and he’s pressured out of the village. Arthur then resolves to get well as a lot of his reminiscence as he can, whereas additionally going seeking his brother Percy, who had been despatched to Germany once they have been simply youngsters.
We Happy Few’s setting serves as a pleasant backdrop for Arthur’s story, particularly when the sport delves into the political local weather of this dystopian world, together with themes concerning the worth of happiness and whether or not it’s value dwelling in a fantastical, dreamlike state moderately than coping with the horrors of actuality. It’s actually fascinating stuff, and his story solely will get extra thrilling whenever you meet different characters with conflicting ideologies or totally different takes on the state of affairs.
Artwork course in We Happy Few is stellar, with neon colours popping in vibrancy if you first arrive in Maidenholm, contrasted with the gloomy greys of slum areas like Lud’s Holm and Barrow Holm. The character designs are appropriately unsettling and creepy, the place each NPC has a white masks plastered to their face to make them seem like they’re perpetually smiling. The cartoonish type of the sport is gorgeous and eerie on the similar time, and there’s so much to understand right here when it comes to artwork and visuals.
We Happy Few has loads of story content material to dive into as properly; whereas Arthur’s story can take as much as 10 hours to finish, there are two extra character arcs to discover after that. The sport allows you to play as Sally, the drug vendor with a secret, and Ollie, a delusional Downer who hears his lifeless spouse’s voice in his head. Sally and Ollie’s tales are a bit of shorter, however attending to discover Britain by means of the lenses of three very totally different characters offers We Happy Few with quite a lot of depth to its narrative and storytelling. Which makes it all of the extra unlucky that every part else concerning the recreation is simply so awfully unpolished.
At its core, We Happy Few is a survival recreation, which is already an odd selection by itself. Apart from managing how a lot Pleasure you’re taking, you’ve additionally acquired to control different wants your characters may need. For example, Arthur must handle his thirst and starvation, Ollie has his blood strain to look out for, and Sally, nicely, I gained’t spoil what Sally has to handle because it’s truly fairly an fascinating twist within the context of the story. It isn’t troublesome to seek out the assets you want more often than not, however it seems like pointless padding or busywork simply to make you are feeling such as you’re all the time doing one thing throughout downtime. If something, it virtually ruins the pacing of the story, as you’re continuously ensuring your characters are wholesome, managing their inventories in order that they don’t get overburdened with stuff, and all of it simply feels so pointless.
I can’t assist however marvel how the sport would’ve turned out if it had simply been a linear story path that you might comply with, or if Pleasure was the one factor you needed to handle. Because it stands, which means the majority of the gameplay revolves round amassing assets and ensuring your characters by no means get too exhausted, lest they begin underperforming in fight.
So let’s speak concerning the fight. To place issues bluntly, the fight isn’t nice. The truth is, it’s type of terrible. You’ll primarily be utilizing melee weapons, and also you’ll hit the left-click to provide your enemies an excellent whack. However once you take the stamina system under consideration, it’s not all the time straightforward to land hits on enemies, and also you’ll additionally have to study to dam assaults and shove individuals away to interrupt their guard. Whenever you’re enjoying as Arthur and Sally, it’s usually unwise to face your foes head-on, and so that you’ll need to rely extra on stealth. And sadly, the stealth parts are simply the weakest a part of the sport.
For starters, enemy detection feels hit-or-miss more often than not. Whenever you’re crouching, you’ll have the ability to see enemy footsteps in your display, and sneak as much as them accordingly. Nevertheless, it’s not all the time clear what the enemy’s line of sight is. At occasions, I’ll be capable of sneak up from the aspect and carry out a fast takedown. Different occasions, I’ll be crouch-walking in the direction of an enemy from instantly behind, they usually’d one way or the other hear me and get aggressive instantly. Even once you’re pressured into full-on fight, AI conduct nonetheless feels extremely wonky and stilted. Enemies will run straight at you and attempt to beat you up, so it turns into a matter of kiting teams across the room when you’re recovering stamina, then turning round and making an attempt to get a couple of jabs in earlier than you proceed operating. In the event you’re feeling notably courageous, you’ll be able to attempt to face the group head on and break their guard whereas making an attempt to slap a number of enemies directly, however that’ll often finish badly for you.
With an unreliable stealth system, and poor melee fight slowed down by your character’s wimpy stamina bar, fight isn’t notably enjoyable or partaking in We Happy Few. It’s fairly tiresome, and the truth that a lot of the recreation funnels you thru these stealth-based ranges doesn’t make for a really pleasant expertise, gameplay-wise.
That lack of polish permeates all through the expertise, even if you’re out of fight. As per my anecdotal instance from earlier, NPCs within the village serve no objective aside from to stop the world from being empty. We Happy Few is a semi-open world recreation, the place you possibly can journey between the totally different islands and pursue aspect aims, however aside from key NPCs who exist to offer you quests, the remainder of them are simply there to stroll round with no objective. Bobbies will hunt you down at night time, and docs will come after you with chainsaws in the event that they see you’re off your Pleasure, however everybody else simply type of meanders round. The open world finally ends up feeling hole and devoid of any soul due to that. I suppose you might argue that the NPCs are soulless exactly as a result of they’re so addled with Pleasure, however once they begin strolling round in little circles and saying hello to the identical individual each few seconds, or when their character fashions randomly disappear when I attempt to speak to them, it breaks any immersion you may need had in We Happy Few’s world.
We Happy Few is at its greatest when it concentrates on simply supplying you with the lore and story particulars. The sport’s writing feels a tad ham-fisted throughout its opening hours, nevertheless it will get progressively higher when you get out of the tutorial island. The writing is so filled with witty appeal and darkish humor steeped in British tradition that satirizes some real-world conditions in playful, and typically disarmingly profound methods. It’s additionally completely foolish and plain psychedelic in one of the best methods attainable. Simply once I assume I’m about to surrender on the sport for placing me by means of yet one more depressing stealth part, We Happy Few places its charming aspect on full show and lets me go on a rollercoaster teacup experience whereas I honk a horn and suck up rocks in a tube. The sport thrives on the absurdity of its premise, and it’s the one factor that propelled me ahead, giving me the willpower to see the story by way of to the top, as a result of rattling if I didn’t want it in any case these painful stealth and fight encounters.
After finishing all three story acts, I discovered that I loved the journey the sport took me on, however I used to be additionally overwhelmingly relieved that it was lastly over. On the finish of the day, We Happy Few leaves me feeling conflicted. I don’t ever need to put myself by means of that useful resource administration slog ever once more, however I can’t low cost its sharp wit and fascinating writing both. Finally, I can’t deliver myself to offer We Happy Few a wholehearted suggestion for the typical participant. This can be a recreation that may check your endurance, and in case you’re prepared to stay it out, you’ll be rewarded with a great story that was solely let down by bizarre design selections and flawed execution.
Rating: three/5 – Truthful
- Actually distinctive setting with an attractive story that’s propped up by good writing.
- Lovely artwork type and course.
- A lot of story content material to dive into.
- The useful resource administration facet ruins the tempo of the sport.
- Fight is dangerous and never very enjoyable.
- Stealth sections are a ache, and AI conduct feels inconsistent.
- Recreation feels fairly unpolished general.
For extra info on how we assessment video games, take a look at Twinfinite’s evaluation coverage right here.