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First Impressions – We Happy Few

by on June 17, 2016

We Happy Few was a surprise showing at the Microsoft Conference.  It wasn’t a glimpse in the ID@Xbox trailer.  Compulsion Games had a solid 5 minute spot to show off the game.  As I wrote in my live stream, We Happy Few had a Bioshock vibe that I loved.  But as I found out playing the demo, labeling it a Bioshock type game would be doing a great disservice to the game.  It really is unique.

The game takes place in a dystopian society in the 60’s.  Everyone is hooked on a drug called Joy, which makes them happy and blocks things from the past.  The demo starts just like the conference trailer.  Your character, Arthur, is editing newspaper articles when he sees something that triggers a memory of his past.  He chooses not to take his Joy and needs to escape.  As we saw in the trailer, his coworkers find out about his lack of Joy and calls him a Downer.  Before the Constables come to get him, he manages to escape.  We see Arthur above ground in a town full of outcasts.  These outcasts tried to take the drug, but it had no affect on them.  They are essentially outcasts.  You can talk to them and interact with them.  But be careful, because your actions may cause them to attack you.

The game demo showed some very cool elements.  First, there is a very important crafting element to the game.  Crafting is essential because you have your personal needs to worry about.  If you are thirsty, you must drink.  If you are hungry or tired, you must eat and sleep.  You have a meter that shows how happy you are.  If you are running low on anything, an indicator pops up to tell you to eat, drink, etc.  This brings some survival elements into your game.  You also have limited inventory space, so be careful what you pick up!  In the demo, I had to be careful because some items take up multiple inventory slots.  You can go about a situation in multiple ways, either with force or stealth.  I saw some players trying to sneak by some Constables guarding a lone apple trees.  Others ran at them with weapons to take them on.

To be honest, one element that has me very excited is the social aspect of the game.  You social actions have an affect on those around you.  If you crouch while walking amongst people, they will become suspicious of your actions.  If you dress differently, you may not get safely through an area.  If you act like a Downer in an area with people on Joy, they will call the Constables to get you.  This game has a lot of elements where the strategy you pick is essential to survival.

I am so happy I had the chance to see this game at E3.  This game is unique and beautifully rendered.  The art direction is phenomenal.  Don’t expect a Bioshock clone when you play this.  It is much more than that.  The game will be available July 26th on Xbox Preview and Steam Early Access.  This game is a must play, so get it in July!!!

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