Wednesday, August 24, 2016

We Happy Few (Xbox One) Game Preview

We Happy Few had a very attention-grabbing trailer at E3 that appropriately sets the stage for this first-person procedurally generated game.  The game starts off the same as that trailer, where the player character decides not to take his Joy, a happy-making medicine.  After that he escapes the authorities, and wakes up in an underground safehouse.

That's it for the story, so far, as the game is still in alpha.  A screen of text at the start of the game warns about this, so it wasn't a surprise.  It also notes a few other things, like that certain things might not work, or that the game might crash.  Fun!

I have had some of the stuff not work.  I didn't have a main quest the first time I played, which made the opening minutes much more aimless.  I just pretty much walked around and grabbed items.  I wasn't sure what else to do.

Luckily, I came upon some sidequests after about 20 minutes.  These, too are randomly placed in the world.  One tasked me with repairing the valve on a water pump.  Once I did it, the nearby people attacked me.  I'm really not sure why.

This was my introduction into the game's combat.  You attack with the Right Trigger, and each attack takes stamina.  The Left Trigger allows you to block, and you can even parry with correct timing.  Thankfully the enemies attacked one at a time so I could figure out what I was doing, and it is strangely satisfying to stab them with a long stick.  I was victorious, but not unscathed.

A few times I had to eat some food because my hunger was low, and at one point I had to sleep.  Finding a bed was a lot harder than I would have thought.  I couldn't get back into my safehouse (another bug), so I looked around until I found another bed.  The person who owned it wasn't too happy with me, and this started another fight.  Being critically wounded from some trapped treasure chests, I was quickly put down.

That was the end of my first foray into the game.  Since I had accidentally left the "permadeath" box checked when starting up (I didn't see it was an option until I had already hit "ok"), I had to start again.  This time, I had a main quest, and was allowed back into the safehouse.  I also turned off permadeath.

Items you find around the world can be weapons, food, or ingredients for crafting.  The menus aren't the most intuitive, but I was able to craft a few things and figure out where various things were, like my inventory and the quest log.  Your inventory is made of connected boxes, like the first Diablo game.  It is expandable, but I'm not sure yet how.  You can also somehow gain another weapon slot.

What there is of We Happy Few is promising.  The unique and stylized world stands out from the crowd, and the random nature of the world and quests should give a lot of replay value.  My only real complaint is how little they tell you at the start, and how aimless the game can be.  Other than that, I am looking forward to trying out the game when it is finished.

The Good:
Lots of replayability in a unique world.

The Bad:
The game is very much still in alpha.

The SaHD:
You can sneak around, but it seemed like everybody could easily see me.

(Early access code for We Happy Few was provided by the publisher)

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