I was recently asked the question “Is We Happy Few anything like the trailers?” and I was puzzled for a second. Having a good hands-on with the Early Access release, I wasn’t sure how to answer this question. Although the game isn’t inherently like the trailers, the game is sort-of like the trailers? Though, there’s a lot missing.
We Happy Few launched onto Steam last month as an Early Access title. From what we’ve seen from the various trailers, we’re to expect a weird dystopian England where everyone’s past has been forgotten as they walk around hopped up on a drug called Joy. However, there are a few people who don’t want to be constantly dosed up, and want out of this smiley happy violent world.
For the most part, the game does indeed start just like this. You begin as Arthur, a newspaper screener who’s reminded of his shocking past. Before he can block it all out, his Joy seems to wear off and you’re offered the choice, keep on living this drug-infused life, or toss it all away? Of course, we’re all going to take the hard option and try and escape – but it’s not that easy.
After you’re given a glimpse of what life is really like, after the pinata you smash turns out to be the corpse of a rat, it’s time to cheese it out of there before the ol’ bobby come and hunt you down to inevitably beat you to death, just like our little rat friend from earlier.
This is where the game begins. You wake up in a safe house, what I presumed was somewhere within the game’s main city. However, once I’d searched all of the cabinets and drawers, fashioned a Jimmy, and broke out of there, I quickly realised that I hadn’t made it away from the brutal beating of the Po-po, instead I was thrown into exile with other non-Joy taking citizens.
“Brilliant,” I thought. “Maybe there’s some sort of story to be told by all of these other outcast characters!”
Oh how I was optimistic. Turns out, everyone, including myself, is bat-shit crazy. I’ve never felt so alone in such a populated area in my life. So, now we get into the meat of the game. Although the cobbled streets aren’t lined with smiley happy people that you’re trying your best to avoid. You’re trying your best not to anger the downers, while trying to complete missions in order to get back to “normal” civilisations.
The only problem is, there seems to be no real direction in the game at the moment. Quests seem to just appear at random, and for the most part, they’re awkward to track let alone complete. Pair that with temperamental AI which seems to get angered at simply the sight of your face, makes for a pretty frustrating game. Oh, then throw on top some survival aspects such as dying of starvation, thirst, and over tiredness, and the game quickly becomes one you’d rather switch off, than grit your teeth through.
And that’s just after an hour with this game.
Pushing through did certainly reveal some more cleaner aspects of the game, though it’s clear that We Happy Few is an Early Access title. There are no clear objectives at the moment, no solid storyline to follow, which we’re aware of before jumping in.
While the question “Is the game like the trailers” can’t really be answered right now, due to it’s early nature, there is definitely traces of what we all hope the game will become.
Right now however, We Happy Few is more an example of the game’s core mechanics and gameplay. and a taste of what’s to come. While the taste is slightly bittersweet, there’s definitely potential, however for those hoping for something a little more solid, I’d recommend waiting just a little bit longer.