We Happy Few (Survival Horror)
So I played a game called We Happy Few in December of 2020 and wanted to give my thoughts on the game. I’m going to be sharing what I feel are fair rankings based on what you can expect from the game’s main features in terms of combat, stealth, story, crafting, general gameplay, and the soundtrack.
Combat Mechanics: 8/10
The combat is very straightforward. Skills can be unlocked to make it slightly more interesting. However, it stays the same throughout the game for the most part. There are different perk sets for each of the three characters, Arthur, Sally, and Ollie. Each perk set is defined as what kind of person they are in the story. Arthur is your primary character with no real strengths. So, he starts with a basic perk system with one perk in strength and stealth. Sally is a character that is more focused on her intelligence rather than physical attributes. Instead, her perk system hones in on her intelligence in the game, which then translates through her knowledge of chemistry. Ollie is a character that is more focused on his military prowess because of his background in the army. Because of this, he has a perk system that gives the player more physical strength and weapon perks to accommodate for a low intelligence level and inability to stay quiet. Despite the variety of choices available, the game doesn’t go too far from just swinging whatever is in your hand since nothing else is generally necessary to complete the game.
Stealth Mechanics: 6/10
Stealth is an optional gameplay mechanic within the game that can be exceedingly entertaining if you choose to use it. However, nothing is lost if you don’t choose to be quiet. Wearing different clothes can make your character sneakier by giving off less sound or providing camouflage. There are also some items that make you sound like you’re stomping on broken glass to attract attention to yourself or a different area. The stealth tree in Arthur’s playthrough is overpowered and makes the game incredibly more fun. That being said, stealth isn’t for everyone and, even if it is, makes the game unnaturally easy. I found in every other character’s playthrough that stealth is rather dull. It is only recommended for Arthur, who has an actual ability for it.
Overall Story: 7/10
Each story is set in Wellington Wells and the Garden District surrounding Wellington Wells. You play through three different acts. The first act is played by Arthur, the second act by Sally, and the third act by Ollie. The overall experiences with the story were completely different in their own ways. I enjoyed Arthur’s the most, as I’m sure most people who have played will agree. Ollie’s playthrough was infuriating at times but gathered a happy conclusion to the game overall. Sally’s playthrough was rather painful. The engaging moments of her story were far and few between. Mainly spread around after you get past the first fifty percent of her story, which included doing chemistry, cleaning, and taking care of a baby. And, if you’ve played the game and decided to read this review. You understand that getting rid of the baby is when the game becomes more interesting.
Crafting Mechanics: 4/10
For a survival game, crafting is almost entirely useless. You don’t need to craft nearly anything to get through the game’s story. Crafting is only required if the story demands it or if you need health. And I know you craft health a lot due to this game requiring combat for both Sally and Ollie’s playthrough. Only after the game is over is when you’ll most likely start crafting exciting and unique weapons. However, regarding ingredients in the game, they’re not exactly easy to obtain. And from what I can understand from playing through the story and continuing onward, your ingredients don’t respawn, making it even harder to explore the crafting system.
Overall Gameplay: 7/10
The map is vast, which adds a lot of availability to explore in the game. But, this being a typical open-world game means that there is a lot of empty space with nothing inside of it as well. This is hindered even further by fast traveling. It would be better if you didn’t fast travel from anywhere, but only between fast travel points. This would give the player an actual reason to explore more of the map to find the additional content. However, while the side quests can be interesting and funny, they are often too short, tedious, or just outright confusing. Now the enemies are unique and have really great concepts behind them. But they will ultimately act dumb around you, rendering all enemies more of an annoyance than something to be wary of. Doctors, for example, are supposed to smell you out, chase your scent, and corner you so they can force-feed you joy. Unfortunately, they mostly waddle around clueless after picking up your scent, making the game’s most significant enemy nothing but a joke.
Joy, now the idea of the happy pill is an exciting idea. When you take joy, the player can bypass security and trick people, at the downside of your world becoming “happy.” If your joy runs out, you become crazy, making people notice your behavior and causing them to attack you on site. But be careful because if you take too much joy, you overdose, which will release an angry mob that will viciously attack you. But, if you don’t take joy in some situations, you could die as well. This makes the game a bit more challenging, forcing you to take risks to avoid Joy consumption. The game does allow for an alternative method in the form of a drug called sunshine which essentially mimics Joy and makes it impossible for detectives, scanners, and the average pedestrian to notice. It’s not something readily available everywhere like Joy which can be found in booths, bodies of dead people, and shops.
Dialogue in this game is strange. In each story, discussions between characters are different from each character’s playthrough. For example, when you talk to Sally in Arthur’s act, you say entirely different lines than when you play Sally’s act and meet Arthur. Not just that, but in Arthur’s story, you meet Sally in her home. However, in Sally’s story, you meet Arthur in the Garden District, who is just casually on a swing. It’s very confusing as it feels like continuity was just drop-kicked out the window for each character’s cutscenes.
Inventory management in this game goes like this, “What can I drop?.” Throughout the game, you pick up a ton of crap you’ll never need or just gets in the way of story mission items or healing packs. And bosses in this game are interesting, but for the wrong reasons. They are so unbelievably easy to kill and were practically laying down and giving up before the fight began.
The Make Believes, Uncle Jack, And The Soundtrack: 10/10
The Make Believes are a fantastic band. For a band created just to fit the game’s atmosphere, I listen to their album a lot. It fits perfectly with the ’60s era they were going for, and the rest of the game’s background music also works with the haunting, sad atmosphere. Last but not least, Uncle Jack, everyone wants this man to be their uncle. And it’s not hard to understand why that’s the case. Julian Casey, the actor who plays Uncle Jack, does a phenomenal job as the charismatic and bright TV and radio host that addresses the people of Wellington Wells. Who, ironically, is the one who has to cover up his madness the most.
Overall this game is a solid 7/10. I can’t recommend it higher because of its unchanging $60 price tag, but if it’s on sale, it’s worth a buy. If the game isn’t to your liking and you refund it, at least check out The Make Believes and Uncle Jack on YouTube.