Compulsion Games brings us a new dystopian open world survival game, We Happy Few. I’m sure you’ve heard of this one, as there’s been a ton of hype surrounding this title for a while. But just in case: We Happy Few takes us to an alternative history of 1960’s England. Here, the citizens of Wellington Wells are coping with their war torn reality through militant drug induced denial. Everyone is high on Joy, a drug that makes the world just one big ball of fun and erases your bad memories and bad feelings, replacing it with bright colors and happiness. Playing this game gave me lots of Bioshock vibes, but does it really live up to that standard?
We Happy Few Gameplay
You play as Arthur, an unassuming censor, who suddenly remembers the memory of his missing brother. It turns out that the pills, Joy, that you are forced to take have helped to suppress these memories. They also shield you from the awful reality of the world around you, masking horrible sights with happy images. If you chose to not take your Joy, like I did, the reality very quickly breaks with some horrifying events with your coworkers. Eventually, they find out you are off your Joy, and you run away, ready to set out on the adventure to find your brother.
We Happy Few is an open world game with a large map to explore with different neighborhoods and people in them. You traverse around gathering supplies, finding new items, and meeting people. And the world is actually beautiful, both when you’re high on Joy and when you are walking around with the wastrels. In restricted areas where you are trespassing, you need to utilize some stealth to avoid detection. You can also choose to attack and even kill people around you, but there are some consequences to your actions. You are able to find weapons, but you will do better crafting them from items you find in the world. Outside of weapons, you can also craft health boosts and items.
As you make your way through the map, you follow objectives in order to uncover more about the story. There are tons of side quests to get distracted with, but the main story is compelling. I find myself wondering what is going to happen next. The only issue is that the story is extremely linear, and it sometimes feels like grinding objectives just to get to the next point in the story.
Should I Buy We Happy Few?
Alright, so real talk here. It’s a new game, so things are a little wonky. But there are so many bugs in this thing, it’s a little hilarious. I found shrubs floating off of cliffs, buildings just completely missing, and people floating about the air when you walk by. I realize they are working on these bugs, and they have already released some patches. But it’s still a little annoying to buy a game and find these ridiculous mistakes. Also, the linear story progression is a little daunting, making the game predictable and sometimes less challenging. However, the actual story is really interesting, and it did push me to keep playing. I also like all the side quests and the crafting mechanisms, which give me a sense of reward as I go through the game. Do I recommend it? I almost do. If you are into games primarily for story, I’d suggest trying it out.