Craig "Doomsayer" Gervais
· 9 min read

Savior or False Shepherd: We Happy Few

Savior or False Shepherd: We Happy Few

GOOD MORNING!!! GOOD MORNING TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!! I COME TO YOU ON THIS JOYOUS DAY A MAN WRAPPED IN BLISS AND GLEE. Why you ask? Have I shred my fire-spitting and end-ranting doomsayer attitude? Well, after stories of an IGN editor found guilty for plagiarism and people doxxing CD Projekt Red over a tweet, I decided a vacation was in order. But where to I thought? A cruise? A road trip? No, I needed somewhere where all my worries will melt away. Why not the wonderful Wellington, Wells, the happiest place on Earth? Surely some rest and relaxation in this colorful city is just what I need this time of year. In the happiest city in the world, no doubt I would return to my soapbox with smiling faces and pep in my step.

I arrived in Wellington in the garden district, the slums of the city. With all the dour faces, I was starting to question the promise of the happiest city in the world. Then I ran into a lovely chap by the name of Arthur Hastings. He explained to me that the garden district was for town folks who weren’t taking Joy. Joy, I thought, how could one take Joy? Arthur then explained to me the marvelous drug all the people of Wellington take known as Joy, a drug that overwhelms you with feelings of happiness while also causing you to forget the past. I expressed my concerns with such a drug and Arthur agreed. After recalling an event involving his brother being sent off to Germany following the Germans victory of World War 2, Arthur abandoned his Joy habits and vowed to find his brother. Moved by his story, I vowed to lend him a helping hand. To do so, we had to make our way to the other side of the city. To enter the city, we had to go through a rehabilitation center, a sort of colorful reverse rehab that help you get back onto the drug. Upon taking the miraculous drug, I instantly forget about all the problems with the game industry. No thoughts of all the false trailers from E3, no thoughts of shady practices the games industry started to employ, and of course, no thoughts of political battle lines being drawn. It truly was a joy. If a simple pill could make me feel this good, surely the city is a beauty to behold, I thought as Arthur and I raced into the city.

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Upon taking Joy thought, I started to feel funny. I started to become hungry, thirsty and very tired. Sometimes I would just feel one of those effects. Other times, I would be feeling overwhelmed by all those effects at once. While the remedy was simply consuming the food or water that we gathered, it significantly slowed our adventure down. While, we easily just grabbed any item we thought would aid our adventure, we were soon weighed down by our inventory and spent a quite large amount of time fiddling with what we were carrying. So after I started to become quite ill and started to violently throw up. Arthur explained that it had been too long since my last Joy and I was going through withdrawals. Before I could express my concerns that Joy doesn’t seem to last very long, the townsfolk had formed an angry mob with their sights aimed at me. Much running and hiding then followed, and as soon as we lost the mob, I went to a telephone booth redesigned to dispense Joy to stock up. Hoping to not have the drug impede our adventure, I took three Joy where again I threw up, townsfolk got angry, much running and hiding came to follow. Arthur then explained that townsfolks hate when you overdose on Joy, and I had to strike a balance between taking enough and too much. Wow, I thought, Joy really seems like something designed not to improve our adventure, but stall it out. Wow, I am starting to sound like a Downer myself. I brought some Joy back from Wellington, maybe I should take some right now. Ahhhh. Much better. Now back to the adventure.

We continued our way through Wellington meeting a whole cast of interesting characters. From Arthur’s old Irish neighbor, who clearly lost his mind, Olie, to a constable who is stuck in records due to one mishap with a flirtatious female, I wanted to meet everyone in Wellington and hear their story. I often found myself pushing through hunger, thirst and throwing up just to talk to the next person. I’ll never forget the private club that we snuck into. Everyone was wearing a rubber suit, electrocuting themselves for a bit of a sexual thrill. A club so bizarre and unique, and much like the rest of Wellington, I don’t think I could possibly forget it. I often enjoyed just standing in front of the many TVs found in the Wellington street that had Uncle Jack playing. Uncle Jack is pretty much like a British Jimmy Fallon or Ellen Degeneres. He talks about the news in Wellington Wells, often plays Simon Says with his audience, and frequently reminds folks to take their Joy. Truly visiting Wellington is an experience you will never get in any other city. Thought, my favorite has to be anytime we ran into Arthur’s ex Sally. Arthur claims he has a grudge for her cheating on him fourteen years ago and will try to be cross with her, but he clearly has a soft spot for her. He always melts in front of her to the point I always ask him if he needs me to scrape him off the sidewalk.

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Though talking with Sally usually doesn’t end well. I doubt she is related to this, but it seems anytime she disappears in Batman-like fashion, some thugs will corner us in an alley looking to fight. The thugs always get us trapped in situations where we can’t sneak off. This has happened multiple times. While, I feel like I can fight one or two people, these thugs always come in groups of three or four, and basic blocking and wild swings, don’t seem very effective. I tried to focus on improving my fighting prowess, learning moves designed to break blocks and cause my opponents to bleed more, but it didn’t seem to matter when we were swarmed. I remember trying to fight a mob of citizens after experiencing Joy withdrawals. I was able to take down a few of the bobbies before someone flanked us and knocked us out. We woke up in a ditch. AGAIN STALLING OUR ADVENTURE EVEN FURTHER.

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There I go again sounding like a Downer again. Surely, that means it is time for me to have another round of Joy. Blimey, I keep forgetting these things don’t last long. Ah, much better. You know, I am always impressed by the wonderful things everyone has to say in Wellington, especially Arthur. Having spent the whole time expressing how he wished we didn’t have to fight and just get along, it was brilliant to just watch him confidently walk up to a bobby and lie directly to their face about being repairmen or inspectors. Everyone in Wellington speaks so elegantly when with their thick British accents. I still recall sneaking around an army camp, and having to stop Arthur from eavesdropping on a drunk soldier recall the tale of a General shooting an elephant in the face. Even with the soldier completely intoxicated, I was mesmerized at his storytelling chops.

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Unfortunately, that was the only enjoyable part about sneaking into the army camp. Throughout Arthur’s and I adventure, we had to our best Austin Power’s impression to infiltrate the Army Camps, Doctor’s hideouts and the nighttime streets of Wellington Wells. I really can’t say I was well equipped to be sneaking around these places. You think with all the horror games, I have played, I would be a master at peeking around corners, but for some reason, I just can’t do it. If I want to figure out where people are moving to I to have get out of cover and look, which creates more opportunity for another dreaded mob to line up to hit me with torches and pitchforks. Don’t worry though, you can have the whole town chasing you, but as long as you duck into an alley and hide in a trash can, you will never be found. You might have to wait there though, taking more time away from your adventure, which seemed to be running theme here. I guess you can say the people of Wellington have a lot of nice things to say, but aren’t very smart. No that doesn’t make any sense. You could say they are well written but aren’t programmed well. Oh bugger, this analogy is starting to break down. Guess it is time to drop the act.

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I did not vacation in Wellington Wells for it is not a real place; it is a fictional city belonging to the game We Happy Few. A game that I have always been excited about due to my love for fictional history setting that I have to blame Bioshock for instilling in me. While many people loved comparing this game to Bioshock for being set in a dystopian isolated city that has an obsession with the latest drug craze, I got more of a Dishonored feel in We Happy Few. Sure, the world We Happy Few has created appears to be more alive through stronger storytelling, writing and voice acting in comparison to the flat world of Dunwall seen in Dishonored, but I would rather be Dishonored’s protagonist Corvo Attano than Arthur Hastings. Though Arthur has more interesting and unique things to say, his skills in stealth, combat and survival woe in comparison to Corvo. Dishonored is also much more of a polished experienced compared to We Happy Few. This has more bugs than a drug invested den, which is shameful for a game that had some time on early access. For your entertainment, I have screenshots of a bunch of them and present them below:

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Now I will admit, I found the combat one dimensional, stealth a bit broken, survival mechanics pace killing and the swarm of bugs a bit humorous (not in a good way), I was determined to press through for the story. What finally KILLED We Happy Few for me was a quest where I initially had to talk to Sally. She needed me to go to a competing lab and grab some materials. It was on the other side of town, which is annoying since the townsfolk don’t like you running as it is a sign of someone off their Joy. So I slowly walk across town, only for them to turn me away and for Arthur to decide he needs to get a press pass from the local newspaper. A local newspaper that was literally RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO SALLY. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN. It was the last straw. I was done with you wasting my time We Happy Few, and after I spent 60 dollars on this game. No We Happy Few, we’re done. I can’t recommend you when the only interesting parts could be cut out, made into a movie, and be a better experience. I cannot recommend you at 60 dollars. I don’t think I can recommend you for 30 dollars. I, personally, blame Gearbox for publishing for this mess. While the game appeared to be a mess while it was on early access, developers at Compulsion Games, had no plans of releasing it and was only charging 30 dollars for it. That was until Gearbox got its grubby hands all over it, did a 60 dollar price tag and rushed released date appear. A bit ironic when your message is don’t conform to social norms then you get into bed with a publisher who will jack up the price and rush you out to meet the demands of their shareholders.

Frankly, this game needs a massive overhaul before I can even consider recommending it. Some mechanics need to be cut, and what remains needs a massive amount of polish. If you are thinking about spending money on We Happy Few, I would recommend picking up the newly released Dead Cell and Guacamelee 2 instead. I will admit I haven’t played either of those games, but frankly, I’ll recommend anything over We Happy Few, which disappoints me as one who loves games with an imaginative world. All in all, thinking of We Happy Few does nothing but make me think I need another vacation. Maybe this time I will vacation in my favorite and frankly, better dystopian city, Rapture.

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