Open world survival games have become a common sight in recent years, but none of them are anywhere near as interesting and unique as We Happy Few. Featuring compelling survival gameplay, an intriguing and dark world, and exemplary presentation, it's only held back from perfection by performance problems.
(Editor's note: This review is based on the author's experience with the game on a PC. Your mileage may vary based on your platform of choice.)
Bottom line: It's a must-play for fans of quality world-building and open-world games, even if has some performance issues.
- Excellent survival gameplay.
- Dark, disturbing world.
- Gorgeous visual presentation.
- Framerate issues are fairly frequent.
Stay alive, discover the past
We Happy Few takes place in a fictional city within the United Kingdom called Wellington Wells. At some point, the citizens of the city had to do something unspeakably terrible, and in order to forget it, they invented a hallucinogenic drug called Joy. Joy quickly became popular with the citizens (dubbed "Wellies") and soon afterward, taking it was made mandatory by law. Those who refuse (Wastrels) are beaten to death by Wellies and the police.
You play as one of three characters who refuse to take their Joy. I played as Arthur Hastings, a man who worked in an office censoring parts of the newspaper for the government prior to not taking his Joy. Once his co-workers realized this, he was labeled a "Downer" and was exiled from society.
After your character is thrown out of their previous life, you are tasked with surviving and learning more about the past that everyone else is desperate to forget. Food, water, and sleep are all things you need to stay on top of, as well as avoiding disease and injury. This is done by searching the world and using resources that you find in it to craft things, like bandages, weapons, clothes, and more.
We Happy Few strikes a perfect balance on difficulty. In order to ensure your survival, you need to be thorough in your searching and mindful of your surroundings, but doing so will always reward you with useful items. This means the game is challenging, but not frustratingly so, and the result is a compelling and addicting gameplay experience.
Gorgeous, but glitchy
Visually, We Happy Few is stunning. Everything from plants to city streets to stacks of paper all look incredible thanks to the title's stylistic art direction. This is further enhanced when paired with the powerful lighting engine. We Happy Few also makes use of a broad range of colors, tones, and saturation; this lets the game successfully create several types of atmospheres during the dark, dreary nights or vibrant, sun-soaked days.
The one area We Happy Few struggles in is with performance. Generally, the game runs well, but the framerate will start to significantly drop whenever you do something that requires more hardware horsepower, such as fighting several NPCs or walking through fields of highly detailed plants. This can have a very harmful effect on the gameplay experience, especially if it starts occurring during melee fights since a stable framerate is crucial when timing attacks and blocks.
I reviewed the game on my high-end PC (i7-8700k processor, GTX 1050Ti graphics card, 16 GB RAM) so it's likely that the Xbox version, and possibly the PlayStation version, will struggle in the same way and that this is an optimization problem.
Should you buy We Happy Few?
Despite the performance issues, We Happy Few is a must-own title for any gamer who loves survival open-world titles and quality world building. Unless your PC doesn't meet the minimum specifications (visible on the Steam page) there's no reason not to pick this fantastic game up as soon as possible.
We Happy Few should be available for PlayStation on August 10 for $49.99.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Android Enterprise Essentials will help small businesses secure their data
Have data security needs but don't have a big IT budget? Android Enterprise Essentials might be just what you're looking for.
The Snapdragon 888 is here to turbocharge 2021 Android flagships
The Snapdragon 888 is now official, and the chipset boasts incredible gains across the board from the last-gen Snapdragon 888. The flagship chipset will make its way to phones from 14 manufacturers next year, but Samsung is a curious omission.
Here's your most detailed look yet at the Samsung Galaxy S21+
More renders of Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Plus have appeared online, giving us a better look at the design of the upcoming flagship phone. Like the Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra, the S21+ will feature an Infinity-O display and a redesigned rear camera array.
Cyberpunk 2077, Immortals Fenyx, and more release for PS4 & PS5 in December
The holiday season is almost here, and with it comes even bigger gaming releases. Here are some great games hitting the PS4 and PS5 this month.