Preview: We Happy Few
*Please Note: The Gamer HUD was given a preview build of the game since the final product is still in development.
It has been almost a full day since my last meal and the lack of sleep has also begun to take a toll on the stories character, Arthur Hastings. Since my rations at the bunker have long since been consumed, I now find myself combing the darkened streets of Wellington Wells, the setting for Compulsion Games next title We Happy Few. With my vision now becoming blurry, I come across an rather worn looking building that has some kind of a hand made security alarm rigged of cans and string. Glancing inside, I see a gentleman standing over a fire with a pot of some kind of food slow cooking over it- and it's at this moment that I start to realize that this has become a "better me than you" situation. While I normally find myself taking the high road in nearly all previous games where they offer a choice system, it is becoming more apparent that Arthur is starving to death and his time is running out. It is once that I have accepted this terrible reality, I burst through the front door of this mans home, causing the cans to crash to the floor and him immediately turning towards me, ready to defend his meal. Using a rather large stick that I had found on the street outside, I take the man down in a few solid swings- dodging his counter attacks. As he melts to the floor and I realize the fight has been won, I make my way to the score. Just as I pick up the food and am now considering scavenging the rest of the flat, I hear a woman running past the doorway saying aloud, "This means more food for us!"- and once again I am fighting for my survival.
Probably the best part about this entire scenario that I just walked you through, is there were at least 10 more moments that I could have chosen- none of which are scripted, but rather random events that I stumbled upon while exploring the immersive world of Wellington Wells. Thanks to the procedurally generated world, my version of Wellington Wells and yours, although both will have the dark and ominous presence that is intertwined with every aspect of the world, both will be setup differently. In my 5+ hours that I have spent with the preview build, I am happy to say that the gaming community will have a lot to look forward to when the final version releases sometime in 2017.
We Happy Few is a first person survival game with RPG elements in which you have to monitor your characters well being such as: water intake, sleep deprivation, and food consumption. From weapon creation and item gathering, this game has a lot more depth than I had originally anticipated. For the alpha build that we were given to preview, we did not have access to any additional narrative content other than what was shown in the E3 gameplay demo, however we were given access to its open world of Wellington Wells and some of its side quests that it offers.
When first approaching the preview and learning that it would not include anymore of the incredibly enticing narrative shown off during E3 2016, I was interested to see how the rest of the game would hold up. It is safe to say that it will not only be the narrative that will keep you coming back for more, but for the gameplay loop that challenges to you survive as well as the interesting side missions they offer. One quest in which I was challenged to stop a runner by the name of "Crazy Legs", was an interesting feat for me to complete since I had to time it perfectly and those around me immediately wanted to join in the fray when it would begin. So what started out as a task to stop an individual from running, turned into an all out street brawl between some of the towns citizens and Crazy Legs himself.
One thing that I have been asked now on multiple occasions, is the games comparison to the Bioshock franchise. Coming out of the E3 gameplay preview, people were buzzing about We Happy Few since it offered a similar artistic style to that of Bioshock Infinite, however that is where the similarities stop. While it is understandable to get that impression initially, its gameplay and ominous tone offers a completely different take- leaving this comparison rather flat. We Happy Few will be a title that stands on its own two legs, rather than the fame of another.
Both PC and Xbox players have the ability to check out the alpha now via the respective systems Preview Program. Compulsion Games has promised that players will get to experience the continual expansion of the procedural world over the course of the games development, but we get to use this small taste of the game as a chance to get acclimated to the rules and features of Wellington Wells before We Happy Fews final release next year. In the mean time, I think I'd better take my 'Joy' and try to blend in, people seem to be getting suspicious of me and I've got to avoid detection if I'm going to survive. Wish me luck.