It’s beginning to look a lot like “1984” in 1964 in Compulsion Games and Gearbox Publishing’s long-awaited stealth RPG, “We Happy Few”.
The story follows three characters whose tails are interconnected as they all wish to leave England that’s become a dystopian nation after the Second World War. In this alternative universe, Germany invaded England but it’s hinted that they were eventually forced out. Since then citizens have forgotten the past by taking pills known simply as Joy.
While on Joy characters will see the world as a colorful and pleasant place where your past is not even a memory at all, except when you become a Downer, a person who has not taken their Joy pills in some time allowing the effects to wear off. Once the effects wear off you see the world as it really is; falling apart, no food, disease, and strangely…childless. There are no children, which is the main point in the plot of the story. Something happened to the children that the people are trying to forget.
The game relies on stealth and blending into your surroundings. In some areas, you cannot be dressed a certain way as your outfit could affect the mood of the locals turning them hostile. There’s a crafting element where you must collect items to make what’s needed. The items you carry with you have weight which you don’t want to go over since you also have limited carrying space.
You are able to eat in the game but be warned, rotten food will make you sick and if you don’t craft medicine ASAP, you’ll start vomiting every few minutes till you die. Some food items will affect your stamina and overall health, drinking clean water helps to restore your energy which is important in the game since you can climb, run, and jump which uses it up. Combat will drain your stamina fast as you can block strikes, shove, and hit opponents with either lethal or nonlethal weapons.
There is a skill tree that you can use to upgrade your characters abilities once you earn points for completing both main or side missions given to you by citizens. You can buy from vending machines with the money that you will find laying around or that you stole from prying open phone booths.
Though the mechanics of crafting, shorting your inventory, and controls seem a bit difficult to master at first, the game overall is really interesting. The story is original (that can be looked at as social commentary), the art is beautiful as it screams 60’s mod culture, the voice acting is top notch, and the open world environment is fun to explore. Out of five stars, it’s a groovy five, take your Joy and check out “We Happy Few”