We Happy Few finally looks and feels like a good British Bioshock

SANTA MONICA, California—It took a few years, yet We Happy Few is finally moulding adult to play as good as it creatively looked.

The 3D journey diversion has so distant taken a weird broadside route, as a splashy 2016 exhibit was followed by a weird early entrance diversion launch. Gamers were sole on something that looked like a trippy, story-filled alloy of Bioshock and Brave New World, yet a paid, playable chronicle was instead a procedurally generated sneak-and-fight sandbox.

“The problem was, we don’t wish to play half-baked story after half-baked story in a early-access process,” Compulsion Games Creative Director Guillaume Provost explained during an E3 preview event. Rather than fibre early entrance players along with unprepared tract morsels, a studio chose to give fervent players a demeanour during a game’s mechanics first.

“[Compulsion] went still 8 months ago,” Provost added, after conference fans’ unanimous request: “We wish story.”


The fruits of Complusion’s labor were laid unclothed in a 45-minute demo that done a few things apparent. First and many importantly, We Happy Few now has an apparently awake debate mode. What’s more, a story and a smoothness are resolutely in Bioshock-loving territory, and that shamelessness is what redeems a whole package.

The story apportionment that debuted during Ars’ pre-E3 eventuality was admittedly a small tough to follow, overdue to a chain roughly 15 mins after a game’s tone-setting intro. we played as British protagonist Arthur in an alternate-history England of a 1960s, and my avatar had only stopped holding a government-mandated mood stabilizer called “Joy” as we began acid for my mislaid brother. Honestly, this demo’s somewhat disorienting, “where am I?” feeling seemed to be partial of a point: we as players were convalescent tract alertness during a same time as Arthur. It didn’t take many cessation of dishonesty to tumble in line with how a diversion fed pieces of story.

We Happy Few‘s Bioshock comparisons became immediately apparent as story sum were meted out in hidden, hand-written letters and environmental details. But the demo’s opening apportionment serves as a organisation sign that a Bioshock array wasn’t merely successful due to story pieces being tucked into a 3D world. Rather, WHF includes an opening array of war-shattered towns and compounds that brew visible and architectural pattern to impel players into bark behind layers of a story. Books use difference to make we spin a page, while WHF uses a brew of open design and subtly paced, subtly destined calm to fill we in on what’s what.

In one of a many distinguished tools of a demo, we found myself in a former home of someone who had clearly gotten off his or her mind-altering meds. This comfortless stage was eventually noted by scribblings all over a wall, reading in all-caps: “I REMEMBER, OH GOD, we REMEMBER.” Other letters and mementos sparse around a cracked building hinted during this game’s swap chronicle of post-World War II events, and these sum were stretched on as we changed serve by a demo. In a few instances, a multiple of unusual imagery and apparent hallucinations hinted during a diversion world’s swap history—like when unresolved bodies quickly seemed in a hollow while Arthur remarked on British life after World War II.

We Happy Few‘s new “20-hour” debate appears to hinge mostly on a several ways a enlightenment moves on in a arise of a tragedy, yet it’s tough to contend either a gameplay mechanics will tie directly into this messaging. The apportionment we played was informed first-person sneak-and-fight stuff, generally as we schooled how to crouch-walk, toss distracting objects, and throttle apparent baddies from behind. The game’s deficient postponement menus showed how to enlarge Arthur’s abilities and qualification new weapons, accessories, and items—and you’ll wish to entirely collect by WHF‘s nooks and crannies to find useful materials and blueprints (which is one approach a demo organically guided me by a best show-don’t-tell story beats).


WHF‘s opening map is smothered with purple-and-blue skies, foliage-overgrown buildings, and an intriguing accumulation of opulence, wreckage, and elaborate buildings both above- and below-ground. Honestly, it all looks and plays like a Bioshock fan tribute, and that’s high praise. But that regard is quite specific, and it also leaves WHF exposed to any probable breaks in story proof or impression development. If a diversion doesn’t lift out any serve gameplay mechanics or Joy-fueled tweaks, afterwards a story will be a mountain that Compulsion lives or dies on.

So far, during least, this new demo creates transparent that Compulsion has during slightest crafted such a hill—and we’re now fervent to stand it once a diversion launches in “summer 2018” on Windows PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

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