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We Happy Few (Hands On @ PAX)

I posted the teaser earlier this month about Compulsion Games newest project, We Happy Few. There was a trailer and not a whole lot was known about the game aside from aesthetics and a heavy handed trailer with a very ominous tone. Well, I was able to get some hands on time with We Happy Few at PAX East this past weekend and it was pretty awesome. Here is how Compulsion Games describes it straight from their own website:

“We Happy Few is the tale of a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial. Set in a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England, you’ll have to blend in with its other inhabitants, who don’t take kindly to people who don’t abide by their not-so-normal rules.”

So going off of visuals first, the game looks great. It’s got a hip 60’s feel and the environment feels very British, especially given the look of the character models and obviously the voicing. The world I experienced in the game felt pretty expansive, though I wasn’t able to locate a map or indicator of how large the world was exactly. You start off in a fallout shelter style living space, and you’re warned to take supplies with you before you head out into the world. Immediately upon getting to the topside you’re charged by a person and they’re quickly flatlined by a policeman. The policeman and the (now) unconscious man both have the same white facepaint on from the trailer, as does everyone else I encountered in the game. Very much gives you the sense that you’re not exactly sure who you can trust, and the answer almost instantly feels like “nobody.”

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As far as health systems go, you’ve got a health bar, food and hydration bar. So we’re not even into the story yet and theres already a good system in place in which you’ll need to remain hydrated and full, as it will affect your health if you ignore it. Finding food and supplies isn’t impossible, but you’ve got to keep your wits about you. You’re either the only one, or one of very few people who don’t seem to fall in line with everyone else in town, and it’s very apparent once you start attempting to engage with the townspeople. It’s really kind of unnerving, but so good at the same time.

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To make a long story short, I started wandering into peoples houses and that doesn’t go over well. They’ll attack you. The combat system seems pretty solid, given that I was able to experience a few different weapons, and you can only swing so much before your stamina runs out. The inventory system is also pretty intuitive as well, as you can combine items or equip items to use them if need be (food and water was what I used mostly). It really is a trippy game and I’m excited to check out the alpha. If you completed the demo at PAX you were automatically entered, but there was also an email list to possibly get an alpha code to check it out.

I’m actually really excited for this game. It’s got a nice balance of retro envrionments and a quirky story with a serious survival system in place, which should make for a great experience. I only played maybe 10 minutes worth at PAX East, but I can’t wait to see what else is in the works for this game. Given that Contrast came to PS4, I have similar expectations that this project will also come to console as well, just no timetable currently.

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-Written by Andrew (Follow him on twitter @SoAfterISaid!)