Thank GodHatesGeeks that We Happy Few has vastly improved since its game preview beta days. We all know games don’t always do. When I reviewed the pre-release version (which you can read just down below), I was not impressed. Survival mechanics were overbearing, repetition set in, there was pretty much no story, and the combat wasn’t great. I’m pleasantly surprised playing it now. Survival is a lot more manageable, as it was ridiculous how often you needed sleep before; the great storytelling should makes players want to keep at it — greatly negating the repitition — and the combat.. ok, that’s still not great.
The targeting has to be patched up. I’ve hit so many people square in the face with shovels to only see them take zero damage. As it stands, We Happy Few is a lot more enjoyable when played as a stealth game. It would be nice to have the viable option of playing more aggressively. Another big issue is the repetition. As the game introduces new characters and areas, you get different tasks. Granted, this qualifies for 99% of games, but you definitely feel the grind to move the story along, my main drive to go forward.
The game’s strongest points are its looks and story. Graphically, it evokes an art direction similar to the Bioshock series and animated movies from small studios. WHF a nice break from the industry’s almost constant obsession of making everything look realistic. The world and environments give a nice setting to the bleak and trippy story (watch out for everyone and stay in line!). You play as three protagonists that cross paths, but never mix. There is no team-up here, just a presentation of different points of views– which I love a good 95% of the time; games with multiple main characters end up in some shoehorned team up.
I can recommend the buy, but you don’t need to pay $60 for this. Wait for a sale and go stealthy when playing (unless they fix the targeting). 3/5 Joy Pills.
The following review is a prerelease build of We Happy Few from EXACTLY 2 YEARS AGO TODAY, August 23rd, 2016.
DEAR CONGREGATION-AH!.. We are gathered here today for a late-ass review. AM I proud of this, you may ask? The resounding answer is NO-AH!.. You see, dear congregation of geeks. Of nerds. Of wrestling FANS-AH!.. I was unfortunately facing some personal trials (ah). Some health stuffs, hospital stays, etc. Now, nay sayers may say “Oh! That did not stop you from doing wrestling previews and such!”.. And to them, I say “EAT. A. DICK-AH!”.. Now can I get an Amen? Ain’t no “Play Xbox One games on your phone” app!! And playing Xbox One on those 20-inch hospital flat screens is not easy (ah). I tried.
So, with apologies, and without further ado, here is the review to the WE HAPPY FEW-AH.
Recently, a very polarizing game came out (many would say a disappointing game, others defend it like they would their mother), that game is No Man’s Sky. The reason I mention this game is because one of its early reviewers–which like the game, got praise and hate–had the philosophy of “once a game gets my attention, I try my best to not follow it obsessively, and get caught up in the hype”. So he got excited when the game first announced and the details were: unwarranted exploration, multiplayer, epic space battles… Fast forwards to the release, and he got: a survival game. Having to pay attention to a lot of gauges, collecting a lot of resources, and almost nonexistent multiplayer.
Where am I going with this? I share a similar philosophy. I do the same with movies (I saw the first Civil War trailer, then avoided any more clips like it was a plague); so when I first saw the trailer to Compulsion Games’ WHF, I loved it. Bioshock vibe and similar art style, the creepy storyline — or hints of it, with the pills that you have to take, etc. — first person action game, can’t wait, time to avoid any news… You see now where I’m going with this.
Game starts off as expected. Intro into the creepy world, where you have to take your “joy” to fit in, but if you go too long, you see how things really are (and remembering your tragic back story, of course). Sequence plays out, cops get you and you get thrown out to where the “downers” are.. And surprise! It’s not like Bioshock. It’s a survival game. Prepare to worry about being tired, hungry, thirsty, horny, itchy, cranky, having flatulence, a bad hair day.. Ok, I’m exaggerating; but you get the point. At this point, I said outloud “Oh, fuck me”. I’m not a fan of these games. Love games, but if I want to worry about things like eating, tiredness, and thirst, I have, you know: life.
But of course, I power through and play — because I’m not going to be a douche and not review it. The setting is fantastic. The downers you encounter will vary pretty wildly. Some will be friendly, albeit incoherent; others will straight up attack you; others, well.. will start off as one and end up as the other. Once you make it back in and are around people who are on joy, you have to manage how you act, and even at times take the pill (which causes a dramatic change in the visuals). If you fail to fit in? Well.. People beat the crap out of you and you’re back to square one. On one hand that sucks, but on the other–at the very least–isn’t repetitive because the map is different whenever this happens.
Combat and Gameplay? Combat is nothing to rave about. We Happy Few doesn’t do anything great, but nothing is wrong with it either. If you’re familiar with first person games, you’ll be fine. The Gameplay: if you love survival games, oh you’ll love this. For extra funsies, most of the food you find is rotten, so even though it’ll help with hunger, you then have to worry about your food sickness and vomiting. And like I mentioned, there’s the standard micromanaging of everything (thirst, endurance, etc. etc.). If you hate survival games, stay the hell away. Though I will say, I love the setting so much that if there’s a survival game I’ll push through, it’ll be this one.
Preemptively: I can already “hear” the Facebook comments. “Well that’s on you for not researching the game”. And you know what? You’re not wrong. But I like keeping some element of surprise, especially nowadays that there’s so much info available and constant “let’s play” / behind the scenes crap (even if it comes with its occasional disappointment like this). There’s also deceptive marketing, but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion/article. 2.25/5 Bibles.