Just like a forcibly stretched grins of a inhabitants, a fun found in We Happy Few is a facade. The game’s fascinating sourroundings of a drug-fueled multitude wasting divided in feign complacency is consumed on repeated environments, feeble paced and officious tedious query designs, and a accumulation of treacherous mechanics that never find peace with any other. Its 3 particular tales of presence conduct to broach some surprisingly touching moments, though We Happy Few does a best to inhibit we from wanting to play prolonged adequate to see them through.
We Happy Few takes place in a timeline where Germany reigned winning after World War II and has England bowing to their whims. Children are sent to a German mainland though reason, and a still city of Wellington Wells is plunged into a drug-induced imagination of peaceful, happy co-existence. With pills called “Joy” assisting adults forget a atrocities of a past, overthrow is distant reduction likely. But this feign clarity of peace brings about a possess problems. Citizens refusing to live underneath Joy’s medicinal spell are wandering to a borders of city, forced to live in decrepit, exploding houses while they wait to starve to death. The adults of Wellington Wells are always happy to see you, though customarily if we reside by their rules.
Enter Arthur, Sally and Ollie–the 3 characters you’ll control via 3 acts that uncover all sides of this horrific society. Arthur suffers from post-traumatic stress, reliving a moments where he mislaid his hermit to a German kidnappings. Sally hides a tip within a walls of Wellington Wells while also providing black marketplace drugs to those who compensate enough. Ollie is customarily a confused fight veteran, uneasy by events of a past that have made his future. The some-more personal aspects of any impression finish adult being some-more engaging than a mythos surrounding them. Each new viewpoint lends context to formerly obscure interactions to emanate crafty “aha” moments, and a stories have absolute themes of abandonment, parental sacrifice, and rude guilt. Each finds a gratifying (if not always happy) finish to their journey, notwithstanding a mechanics fighting actively opposite we reaching their climax.
In Early Access (where a diversion sat for scarcely dual years), We Happy Few was a presence game. That’s mostly stayed a same, notwithstanding a structure of a pattern changing around it. As any character, you’ll need to conduct meters for hunger, thirst, tiredness, and some-more (Ollie indeed needs to watch his blood sugar, of all things), that levy penalties and buffs on your fighting and transformation abilities. Early on, handling these statuses is difficult, with a nonesuch of resources while you’re still entrance to grips with We Happy Few’s many rules. But they shortly finish adult being customarily frustrating. The resources to feed them aren’t tough to find, though constantly carrying to tend to them when you’re customarily wanting to get along with a story is arduous.
There is an unimaginable series of equipment to collect adult and lift in We Happy Few, though customarily a tiny handful finish adult being useful. You’ll frequently be forced to collect adult flowers to qualification recovering balms or constable pins for lockpicks, for example. But vials of toxins that can hit out or kill enemies don’t give we a reason to select one or a other. The crafting menus for any impression change formed on their abilities, though a core equipment that are common between all 3 are expected a customarily ones you’ll indeed utilize–the specialized equipment frequency obligate their formidable requirements. It feels like such a rubbish carrying a immeasurable crafting complement trustworthy to a diversion that never puts we in a conditions where it feels necessary. We Happy Few has many ideas strewn opposite a menus though zero mechanically that requires their use.
This disappointment is customarily exacerbated by a miss of engaging quests to commence in We Happy Few’s comparatively vast open world. Its inhabitants provide we as their smoothness boy, never giving we anything some-more formidable than walking to an area, picking something up, and walking all a proceed back. Quest pattern works counterintuitively to a thought of carrying to scrounge to survive. Even if we wanted to strech into a world’s nooks and crannies to find something interesting, scientific eyes are frequency met with any rewards aside from a engorgement of equipment we substantially already have stashed in your inventory. There’s a indicate in Arthur’s story where he exclaims, after a multi-staged questline, “All that, customarily to reboot a bridge?” and it feels like he’s great out for assistance from we directly.
What attempts to mangle adult this candid structure are a manners of Wellington Wells. Outside of a walls you’ll be forced to enclose scruffy wardrobe to fit in with a rest of a joyless crowd, as good as fighting off temptations to take from their strewn-about dwellings. Inside is another story entirely. The inhabitants of Joy-infested cities will be discerning to chuck adult arms should we do anything though walk. Haunting guards and scary Joy-sniffing doctors poise a hazard to your consistent in, that can force we to cocktail some pills from time to time. Their effects keep we dark for a time though have harmful withdrawal symptoms that forestall we from masking your depression, that can have an whole city on your tail in small seconds.
The sourroundings sounds intriguing on paper: a complement where secrecy is managed by amicable interactions and conformity. But a execution is lacking. Obeying a particularly imposed manners is pardonable and customarily slows down your swell towards a subsequent query marker, negating any clarity of tragedy they competence have imposed. Outside, a manners are looser, though there’s also distant reduction to demeanour at. You’ll spend a lot of time simply sprinting by dull fields with no discernable landmarks, customarily to be greeted by another overpass into another despotic state that brings swell to a crawl. It’s a unsatisfactory injustice of a complement that competence have differently been engrossing.
It feels like We Happy Few understands many of a mechanics are a duty to start with.
The impression course complement is even some-more underdeveloped. While any of a 3 characters has some singular characteristics, a abilities you’re means to squeeze are mostly common between them, and many give we ways to spin some of We Happy Few’s manners off entirely. One allows we to scurry by cities though rousing alarm for example, while another lets we omit irritating night curfews entirely. It feels like a concession–like We Happy Few understands many of a mechanics are a duty to start with.
When manners aren’t being (mercifully) nude away, they mostly customarily don’t work. The night curfew, for example, will have guards spin antagonistic should they mark you. But disguise yourself on a bench, and they inexplicably omit we entirely. Melee fight is monotone and predictably boils down to we burdensome your stamina overhanging your arms and afterwards simply restraint until it recharges. When you’re not being forced to contend with that, you’ll be unctuous around enemies with a hardly functioning secrecy system. Enemies are unsuitable in their ability to mark you, infrequently walking opposite your trail though a sniff of suspicion. Their unit lines are easy to mark and never deviate, creation a prerogative of a successful infiltration feel remarkably hollow. Most times they’re customarily distant too predictable. They’ll glance for extended durations during distractions we conjure and destroy to hunt an area after spotting we briefly. We Happy Few’s secrecy is so transparently binary that it customarily feels like you’re intrigue a complement many of a time.
It’s a contrition that so many of these systems never fit together in a cohesive way, generally when a universe itself is superfluous with potential. There’s some abounding environmental storytelling in We Happy Few, even if a visible accumulation is shallow. It’s distinguished to transition from decayed walls with insane ravings created opposite them to orderly structured hollows together with rainbow roads. The proceed We Happy Few mixes adult a visible illustration formed on your character’s mental states is clever, too. On Joy you’ll declare double rainbows as distant as a eye can see, with a glossy veneer encapsulating a overly happy inlet of your character. Withdrawal sours this into a dull grey universe where a sounds of flies and visions of spoil reinstate customarily mediocre facets of a environment.
This blends good with We Happy Few’s interpretation of a era. Monochrome radio screens hang from awnings and play a propaganda-filled ravings of a puzzling Uncle Jack pitch towards we as we pass with a extraordinary red hue. The stretched faces of Wellington Wells’ many behaved adults are off-putting in a brilliantly creepy way, even if there’s such a miss of graphic impression models that you’ll find mixed matching faces unresolved out on a singular travel corner. Cartoonish robotic contraptions association in some-more particularly secure areas and alarm off happy tunes as they pass by. They also tend to disaster about with a pathfinding for Wellington’s tellurian inhabitants, that is waggish customarily a initial few times. For all that We Happy Few gets right in terms of universe building, a gameplay leads it astray.
For all that We Happy Few gets right in terms of universe building, a gameplay leads it astray.
Technical issues disease We Happy Few too, trimming from softly irritating to equivocal game-breaking. Characters will mostly shave by a building or disappear wholly as we approach. Shifts between night and day see characters seem and disappear from one second to a next. The framerate suffers on means PC hardware. Quest logs will infrequently not refresh, while removing an object during a wrong time unsuccessful to trigger a query milestone, forcing me to reload an comparison save. Audio can disappear from cutscenes wholly for prolonged stretches of time. From countless angles, We Happy Few is in severe shape.
But even if we are means to disremember a technical shortcomings or maybe wait for some-more fast rags in a future, We Happy Few’s biggest problems are ones that are tough to remedy. Its whole gameplay loop is underpinned by tedious quests and prolonged stretches of inaction. And even when it army we to correlate with a universe over customarily walking to waypoints, combat, stealth, and differently fascinating societies destroy to levy a right change of plea and tension. There’s a transparent miss of instruction that We Happy Few is never means to shake, that wastes a intriguing setting. It does conduct to wobble any of a 3 stories cohesively into a incomparable tale, though it’s also one that’s never vicious adequate to acquire a right to repeat “happiness is a choice” any possibility it can. There are customarily too many hurdles to overcome to suffer We Happy Few, and not adequate Joy in a universe to expel them aside.