Name: We Happy Few
Developer: Compulsion Games
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose
A game I’ve been following closely for quite some time, We Happy Few is finally out in full form. The game raise more than 330000 Canadian Dollars on Kickstarter, and the expectations has been sky high. The developers sure had their hands full when it came to living up to the hype, but did they manage? Let’s find out!
Set in a drug-filled retrofuturistic English city in the 1960s the story starts our action filled with Arthur not taking his Joy, which the authorities doesn’t take lightly. Before long it becomes clear that not everything is as it should be in Wellington Springs – and since I don’t know exactly how to put it, I choose to quote;
“At some point during the armed occupation, the population of the island town of Wellington Wells did what they considered to be a Very Bad Thing that caused the German occupation to voluntarily leave their island, allowing the British citizens there to live free. However, the repercussions of the Very Bad Thing left the citizens with immense anguish and guilt over their actions, inevitably leading to the invention of a new hallucinogenic drug called “Joy”, which ruthlessly suppresses all unhappy memories and leaves its user in a chemically induced euphoria that also brightens how they perceive their environment. However, its many negative side-effects include addiction, short-term memory loss, loss of appetite, nightmarish hallucinations, and being susceptible to manipulation.”
I won’t say too much about the story, but I will reveal that there are several playable characters, but for my part Arthur was by far the preferable character. However, to give you a little view into my thoughts, the story is the best part of the game, but it’s a bit too streamlined for my taste – there’s practically nothing other than a main story, and the few side-stories are forgettable. The main story however is a good one!
Fortunately, the game looks outstanding – depending on whether or not you take your Joy the world can be anything from bleak and sad to colourful and happy! Add in an excellent sound design and you get one amazing experience. Until the game stops running smoothly, which happens frequently. The framerate is quite frankly horrible, especially when you’re walking through habituated areas. And more often than not the game needed to take a break to load, in the middle of an action sequence(…) – in other words, not an enjoyable experience at all. With some fixes the game will surely become a great graphical experience, but for now it’s just not.
Let’s start with the fundamentals. We Happy Few is an action/adventure game, as well as a survival game, in addition to being a story heavy game, and also with RPG elements. Already here you might identify the issue. The game doesn’t really know what it wants. Misunderstand me correctly; if executed properly, a game with several genres is amazing, but in this case, none of the genres are very well made.
The survival parts start out well, but then the RPG elements completely ruins the experience, when suddenly you no longer need to drink, or eat or sleep. When it comes to the action the world is way too big (in order for the survival elements to actually make sense in the beginning), so it takes way too long between each action filled sequence. The same goes for the story. I kept forgetting what had happened, and what I was supposed to do next (and not in a good way).
All in all the controls are good, but it does have some faults. The fighting could be more responsive, and some of the platforming/jumping is quite bad. I actually preferred playing the game with a mouse and keyboard combination, but I also had the option to play with a controller. All of the keys are customizable, in case you don’t like the default setup.
According to the developers each playthrough features a new generated world. I will admit I haven’t started a second playthrough, but the game is quite boring apart from the story. That and the fact that there’s very little to do other than said story. I merely don’t find any reason to play the game more than once, or in fact, play more than the essential quests for the story.
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Replay Value: 3/10
Replay Value 3
It’s all extremely unfortunate, because if the game was just a little more focused on the most critical elements, this would be an outstanding game. The gameplay has set its sights way too wide, and doesn’t really nail any of the things they try. And the whole game has a feel of being unfinished. It does retain lots of potential though, so with some patching and maybe some (free) DLC, We Happy Few can live up to the hype.
User Review( votes)
- Good story
- Effects of Joy are impressive
- Framerate issues
- The controls could be better