A great idea, but complex gameplay mechanics and random buffering during combat ruins the experience for the player and takes all the joy out of playing the game
We Happy Few takes us, the player, into the world of Wellington Wells, a fictional town in a retro-futuristic 1960’s world where there are secrets and mystery everywhere. As the player, you play the game through the eyes of 3 protagonists with interlocking storylines, which gives a new perspective to how a game can be played and a story can be told. The setting of Wellington Wells is unique, centred around a completely new concept – that everyone takes a drug called Joy to forget the past and remain happy, and anyone who doesn’t take Joy is termed a ‘downer’ and exiled from the town. The protagonists are all downers trying to find out the truth of what has happened in the past.
However, that’s where all the positives about We Happy Few end. The game lags and buffers badly whilst exploring the open world, as the areas are too large and difficult to navigate. The animation is not smooth and often strains, so that it’s difficult to track what you are hitting. A major gameplay issue is that you just get thrown into the game, and there isn’t much to tell you how to play the game or how to navigate the world, with no tutorial and very few hints on what to do. There are too many survival mechanics to get your head around, which takes all the fun out of exploring the world and the combat within the game, because the player is always checking whether the character is hungry, thirsty, tired, injured, on a come down from Joy, whether the character is wearing the right clothes, etc. It’s just too complex and would be majorly improved by keeping it simple and focusing on the story and combat, rather than survival, because nobody plays a combat-based game to make sure the character has had a nap. If other open world first person games focused on survival, they would have flopped. Imagine playing Skyrim and having to stop after every fight to find clean water; it wouldn’t be fun. That’s the main problem with We Happy Few – it’s just not that fun to play.
Overall, We Happy Few is a great concept, and the technical issues such as the various bugs will probably be ironed out in patches. However the game is flawed, with the survival elements overtaking the story progression, and it quickly becomes tedious and boring to play. If they had a guide in-game of what everything meant and how to play, it would be improved massively.
We Happy Few is available now for PS4, Xbox One and PC