Horror games are a unique genre. Their creators have to win numerous bets when designing them. Not only the graphics have to be great, but the music also has to be carefully selected, and they have to include various mechanisms to throw off the genre's experts. From a horror game, you expect a well-written story, scary atmosphere, and a lot of jump scares. It's time to put We Happy Few under our microscope and see if it's worth the $60 that the creators are asking for.
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Table of Contents
What is We Happy Few?
Compulsion Games first introduced We Happy Few at PAX East in 2015, and in the same year, the company created a Kickstarter project. The game's campaign went well and raised $266,163 when the target was $200,000.
In 2016, the early access phase of the game began, and the final version came out in August 2018.
The game is a first-person action adventure that combines various other elements. In We Happy Few we can craft objects to aid us with our quests and survival.
Meanwhile, it also has small rogue-like elements; we can hide so we won't get caught, and we can sneak up on our enemies. Other than that, it's very creepy but quite colorful at the same time.
The game's title is from King Henry's V speech to his soldiers on St. Crispin Day. Later, William Shakespeare used this speech in his play "Henry V," more specifically in the following snippet:
“And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”
Another interesting information is that in the game, we will find the famous poster-turned-meme with the message "Keep Calm and Carry On."
The British Government created this poster to raise the morale of its citizens because many attacks were expected, due to the WWII.
The main story
At We Happy Few, we are in the British island town of Wellington Wells. We live in an alternate reality of 1964, where America remained neutral in WWII, which resulted in Germany winning the war.
During the German occupation, the inhabitants were forced to do something that they since refer to as the "Very Bad Thing." Rumors say they gave their children to the conquerors.
The inhabitants convinced themselves that it was the only way of making the enemy forces to leave the city, and live free.
Unfortunately, their freedom cost much more than they expected. Their guilt haunted them. So they resorted to creating a hallucinogenic pill, Joy.
Now, they take the pill of joy to forget what they did. They live happily in their present, without seeing the reality that surrounds them.
But what happens when someone doesn't take his Joy? He soon discovers how right others are when they ask: "Wouldn't it be easier just to take your joy and forget everything?"
The We Happy Few World
There are two different sides of the world of We Happy Few. On the one hand, there is the well-developed, colorful Wellington Wells town, but under police doctorate.
The inhabitants of Wellington Wells are all respectable, they always wear their smiling masks, and they never forget to take their Joy.
On the other side, on the outskirts of the city, we find the Wastrels. That's the name of those who have been banished from their homes because Joy stopped working on them and they remembered the "Very Bad Thing."
In all three stories, the protagonists have stopped taking their pills because the game doesn't leave us any other choice. Seriously, if we choose to take the pill, we will instantly see the credits.
Without using the pill, we become Downers, which makes us a threat to the city's population. Whoever doesn't get his Joy, can even end up dead.
The two sides differ in more ways than just the masks. In the city, we must dress and behave properly, but also mingle with the citizens.
If anyone understands that we are different, they will start chasing us, to force us to take the pill. But, they will most probably kill us while trying.
However, on the outskirts of the city, we shouldn't disturb the inhabitants, and we have to wear rags. Otherwise, we will remind them of the life they had and lost, and they will also start a deathly chase.
The three main characters
We Happy Few features three different characters; each one has its own story. Their storylines cross throughout the game; however, we play them successively.
The sad Arthur
We start as Arthur, who decides to escape his miserable life, and a job he doesn't like. He stops taking his Joy and tries to remember what happened to his missing little brother.
Arthur is the guy next door who tries to stay away from trouble. With every opportunity, he hides in the shadows and avoids facing NPCs.
As Arthur, we don't have any quirks; we are just a civil servant who made his revolution. As the story unrolls, we learn how to craft various objects, and we try to solve the mystery.
The scientist Sally
Every in-game character is problematic in their own way. For example, Sally is Arthur's childhood friend and a gifted chemist who created Joy.
Sally works alongside the system, but she has her secrets. They're after her for the pill she made, so she's looking for materials in the darkest parts of the city.
At the same time, she raises the first child, illegally-born, in Wellington Wells, fifteen years after the "Very Bad Thing." To protect herself, she uses chemicals she developed since she isn't much of a fighter.
The diabetic Ollie
The third character is Ollie, a veteran of the British army. He is a skillful engineer and an excellent fighter, with a passion for removing TNT from German bombs.
However, Ollie also has diabetes, in a world where there is no insulin. Apart from that, he also has well-hidden secrets, which often put him at risk. Perhaps he is the only one of the three who knows what exactly was the "Very Bad Thing."
The memory of his daughter, Margaret, hunts him; she was killed during the bad thing. He prefers to fight, but this is not his only option in the world of We Happy Few. Right?
During the game, we can open the object and information menu by pressing the required button. Here we will find a lot of information, such as a detailed update of our physical condition.
On the left, we see our health level, how much Joy we have in our blood, and the percentage of memory loss. At the same time, we can see if we need sleep, food, or water. Below we can look at our attributes.
In the right part of the screen, we see information about the possible effects that are active and from where we received them.
One of the most crucial parts of the game is the character's points. On this screen, we see a skill tree. Depending on where we invest our points, the game also changes.
The first four is our hero's skills, so we can't change them. Then, we can add points to combat, stealth, or some super-duper skills.
Another vital part is crafting. Here, we see information about the required materials for crafting an object, what it will offer us or what we can use it for.
From here, also, we craft objects by merely holding the corresponding button.
Finally, there is the menu of quests. In this window, we see our missions, requirements, progress, and what we will earn when we finish them.
We Happy Few's future
So, this was the We Happy Few game, as it is now. Nevertheless, the creators will continue to add content.
Firstly, We Happy Few - Season Pass is available for pre-order. By paying it, we get free access to the three upcoming packs.
It has three new stories for the game's inhabitants. Creators aim to continuously add such packs, which the player can pay separately.
With the Season Pass, we get “Roger & James in: They Came From Below!”, “Lightbearer” and the “We All Fall Down.”
In "Roger & James in: They Came From Below!," we follow the two titled characters. They are looking for adventure and love, and accidentally unleash a strange technology and a terrible threat.
With the second pack, we become Nick Lightbearer, a heartthrob, who is also a trainwreck artist. He has been described as the Wellington Wells' most famous rock star, but no one knows who he really is.
Finally, in "We All Fall Down" the fragile society of We Happy Few is about to collapse. The creators referring to this pack said:
"Much like any well-worn happy mask, all societies develop cracks in their veneer. But that doesn't mean you should go digging up dirt from the past. Right?"
The free Sandbox mode
The company also announced a free sandbox survival mode for everyone who has the game.
This will be an endless mode in a world that we can modify. We will choose its size, how deadly it will be, the amount of food available, and more.
Compulsion Games will restore the sandbox system they had available during early access. But now it's an optional game mode and not the only way to play We Happy Few.
Concluding We Happy Few
We Happy Few has a good crafting system. It offers variety; it makes us search for the essentials and keeps us busy.
Ιt has, also, an interesting character point system that gives us the ability to make the hero as we want. So we can play with the style we like the most, aggressive or stealth.
Furthermore, the character physical condition system is excellent. As players, we must take care of ourselves to get various benefits.
Meanwhile, the game's puzzles won't test our intelligence, but they are a nice addition.
As for negatives, we have the stealth tactics that are particularly easy to use. This sounds like a positive, but the thing is that they are also so compelling, that you may never have to fight with someone.
The fights, on the other hand, aren't so well-designed. They can lead to the point of frustration sometimes. So maybe it's good that we can hide so easily.
One of the big problems of We Happy Few is that it's repetitive. We are wondering in the world, gather materials, craft objects, once in a while, someone will spot us, we will hide, and then we start all over.
Additionally, we can accomplish several of the quests by accident, even when they require specific things from us.
To add to the problem, NPCs usually ask us to do something almost deadly or something that's under their nose.
The last con of We Happy Few is its story. The main idea is interesting, but it's very lengthy and confusing at points.
It certainly makes you want to see if Arthur finds his brother, what was the "Very Bad Thing," and more. But it gets very tiring.
At the same time, Arthur's story is twice as long as the other two stories. Sure, he's the main character; but still, there is an annoying pattern.
Arthur and Ollie are trying to face the bad deeds of the past. So, it's a bit of a repetitive scenario, but with a different character. As for Sally, they treat her as an inferior, in a scrawled script.
The stories seem boring and rushed. It almost looks like the company was running to catch a deadline, or the authors got bored midway.
We tried to cover as much of the game as possible. We showed you what We Happy Few is, its positives and negative. But if you want our opinion, as it is today it's not worth $60. Maybe a $30 price tag would be better.
In any case, it is worth giving it a shot, and if you like it, pay for it. Perhaps the company will decide to add more free content than the sandbox mode in the future.
What do you think about We Happy Few?
Have you played We Happy Few or are you going to try it after our review? If you played the game, what is your opinion about it?
Write us your feedback in the comments; we will be happy to read it.
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