We Happy Few. Thematically this one is an odd bird to me. It has me thinking of A Cask of Amontillado and A Scanner Darkly. Hmm... now I really want to read a story called A Scanner of Amontillado. Anyhoo, I say that because both center around the unreliability of the narrator. In Amontillado you have Montressor regaling an unknown person about a murder he committed 50 years prior. He never gives a realistic motive and you never know if you can trust his story.
In A Scanner Darkly you also have a very unreliable POV character. Can we trust ANYTHING we see of Bob “Fred” Arctor? He’s losing his mind to Substance D so everything is in doubt.
And that brings us to We Happy Few. We are Arthur Hastings, Employee of the Month, working as a Redactor, someone who scrubs news and deems what is acceptable for the populace to digest, which.. kinda feels like what Winston Smith did at the Ministry of Truth in 1984. Damn it, another literary reference. And like “Fred” in A Scanner Darkly, Arthur’s perception of reality is manipulated by the drug known as Joy.
Joy keeps everyone is a state of blissful disassociation. Apparently whether they want to be or not. Arthur stops taking it and ends up being cast out into the slums with the rest of the Downers. From there you start up the survival crafting gamey parts of trying to keep Arthur alive.
It plays like a Survival Crafting version of Bioshock which is pretty damn interesting. You explore the environment and scavenge what you can, hoping to find some valuable resources and unlocking new recipes for craftable items.
You have meters that are ticking down and bringing about your natural death via hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc. The thirst in particular feels a bit unforgiving and reminds me of Don’t Starve in that it kinda feels like an immediate race to beat the timer of death. I’m also a bit frustrated with not having a minimap (which usually I hate in games) but this one I think could really benefit from it since there aren’t many landmarks and you end up running in circles a lot. Or at least put a tracked objective on the compass bar.
You wander around the map and find peculiar missions to partake in. Each mission has a sort of macabre if not demented humor to it. Then, after a long day of finding weird ass missions you’ll need to sleep. Also, be careful of stealing. If someone sees you things get violent REAL quick.
And speaking of the violence, killing somehow feels WORSE because everyone has a name, but I’ll still loot them for all they’re worth.
It can be a bit tedious to constantly struggle those ticking meters. It’s Early Access so some of it’s a bit rough and so far we only have that tease of a story in the prologue but this is definitely one to watch.
Well, when this grimy world gets too overwhelming? Just pop a Joy and skip your troubles away. *whistle*