This is based off of the Preview build of We Happy Few, the game is still in development.
Version Previewed: Xbox One
Preview build supplied by Evolve PR
We Happy Few is a very hard game to explain, it is about a man named Arthur Hastings, a man that works censoring the effects of a pill named Joy out of the Wellington Wells newspaper. Joy reaches far beyond the point of a normal pill which creates an ecstasy-like effect to the people who take the pill. In this world, everyone is using and currently addicted to the pill. Joy is a precious commodity in the world and without it, it makes people go a bit mad. Whenever Arthur decides to stop taking the pill after a memory triggers his mind, he learns that perhaps Joy is actually the thing making the people of the community mad.
During the events of E3, we got a preview of the game, where Arthur makes his great escape from the company. At this point, after we relive this scene, we wake up just beyond the where we last left him, in a small safe house underground. From there, no new story is given and we are free to wonder around the world as much or as little as we like. Just minutes into the game, we already understood what this game really is, and it is by no means forgiving.
We Happy Few might look a lot like Bioshock, but the run and gun gameplay at this point is all but gone. The game actually plays a bit more like a craft survival game than anything. You must balance thirst, hunger, sleep deprivation and a host oof other things just to survive. Interestingly, the game also features a perma-death mode which is on by default. Since this preview features virtually zero tutorials, it’s best if you turn permadeath off for a few hours so you can get used to everything.
Did we mention the game is hardcore? Becuase, well it’s actually pretty tough. The game even features food poisoning and bleeding, if you are bleeding too long or are poisoned you are as good as dead because, well we don’t know how to create medicine yet. However, the game does mention how top create bandages and mead kits, its hard to find the ingredients without the NPC’s (which are crazy by the way) attacking and killing us. When you do figure the game out and can craft things more easily, the game actually gets a lot more fun.
From the developer notes we were given, it has been stated the game’s map is about 50% complete. At this time there is already a ton of stuff to do, and even if the game marks the ‘escape’ we took a look around the world and noticed just how much effort was put into the game. Everything has that cartoony Bioshock feel, while this might not be everybody’s cup of tea (We Happy Few reference), the game looks wonderfully done to me. While there are a few things that need fixing (floating chef’s hats, people that float instead of walk etc.) the game as a base is very well done with excellent lighting mechanics and colors that really make this game a one of a kind.
At this time, there is no actual story to be found other than the E3 demo that was already shown. It’s basically a sandbox where you can get used to life out there without Joy. It is a harsh, yet rewarding experience. One thing we must tell you, do not mess with the NPC’s for the first few minutes as they can and will beat you up quite easily for just about anything you do. They want more Joy so they will do anything to get it, be wary of your surroundings, and if music starts playing get out of there!
Overall, I think We Happy Few will be a sleeper hit and possibly one of the best games of the year. The game feels very much like a cross between Bioshock and Theif, and for us, that is a winning combination. We must tell you that this game is still in preview, while you can buy it right now it is not finished and the full release won’t be released until sometime this year. At this point, we think the game is worth the price, as long as you do not mind a few glitches and a hardcore crafting experience.