The Bioshock games have done something interesting where they not only combine fantastic gameplay and story, but they do it all within some genuinely fascinating worlds. Unfortunately, Bioshock: Infinite was released in 2013, and ever since then I’ve had this desire for a game set within mysterious and detailed worlds, but it seemed like interest in those types of games died off. That is, until We Happy Few, which gave me some serious Bioshock vibes, much to my excitement.
That reason alone is what got me interested in the game a few years ago when it was initially announced, however, at the time it was an Xbox One console exclusive, which is a system that I currently don’t own. That changed last year, however, with the reveal that it would be coming to PlayStation 4, and my excitement quickly skyrocketed back up. Fast forward to E3 2018, and I was finally able to sit down with We Happy Few (right off the bat of developer Compulsion Games’ acquisition by Microsoft) for around 30 minutes, and I’m happy to say that the game scratched the itch that’s been bothering me for over five years now.
For those that don’t know, We Happy Few takes place within an alternate 1960’s London, where most of society has been encouraged to take a drug called Joy, which essentially causes them to fall into a constant state of euphoria and, in turn, become complacent. In the game, you play as three different characters, each with their own connected story, however, for the context of my demo I only got to play as Arthur Hastings, the original character from the game’s early access release in 2016. Also, while the full game will be a mix between an open world and linear sections, I, of course, only got to see a linear slice of the game.
As expected, if there is one word to describe the world of We Happy Few, it would have to be “creepy.” The section I was dropped in barely had anyone in site after I went to my objective and circled back, I could have sworn I saw something that was out of place, but I wasn’t entirely sure. This uncertainty in and of itself is one of the reasons I love the world of We Happy Few. You never really know who or what you will or will not come across during your time in the world. On top of that, even the story that the world subtly tells is well done. I walked into an abandoned house and as I did, creepy music started playing. As I looked at the walls, I found writing and drawings and as I walked up the stairs to the music, and subsequently, the tension, built.
Another thing I love about We Happy Few is the gameplay. During your time, you’ll have to explore to find materials around the world, and while some can be used on their own, others cannot and will have to be combined with other objects to bring them to their full potential. For example, your normal suit gives you a crisp, clean, and sharp look, which is nice until you go into a place that doesn’t take kindly to the “higher-ups” within the community. If you combine a rock with a suit in-game, you’ll be given a torn suit to match with the locals. While it’s not the best example of combining materials, I can’t wait to see what other creative combinations Compulsion Games comes up with.
In summary, We Happy Few was a title I was excited to try and was even more excited coming out of, but that’s not to say I don’t have my concerns. I do wonder how smoothly each character’s stories will weave with each other since I didn’t get a chance to try out the other characters. That being said, We Happy Few is one of my most anticipated games of this year, and I hope I end up loving it when it comes out next month.