First things first, this discussion is going to need a disclaimer of sorts, in that Compulsion Games’ We Happy Few is by no means finished as of this time, so there is still plenty of time for further improvement. Acknowledging that, the developers implemented the Clockwork Update recently, bringing a whole host of improvements to the game.
A bit of background first however before we take a look at the effects of the Clockwork update. When We Happy Few first unveiled itself to the world, anticipation was pretty high. From the little footage we saw at E3, it looked like a first-person action/horror kind of hybrid with a disturbing English twist, with some even dubbing the game the British Bioshock.
Alas, this wasn’t to be when We Happy Few hit the Preview Program and Early Access in 2016. After playing through the previously seen prologue, We Happy Few turned out to be a completely different beast; a procedurally generated survival game with an absolute catalog of issues. Given that it was and still is in early access, any problems should be forgiven, since its in such an early stage of development.
Even so, this thing was pretty darn broken when it first hit the Preview Program. Map markers for quests were inaccurate, talking to NPCs was often an awkward situation when they’re randomly barking at a brick wall. There was even a game-breaking issue that I experienced first hand, in which an NPC I needed to talk to in order to complete the main quest of the preview was killed by chasing enemies mid-conversation. Very frustrating indeed.
Still, the Clockwork update has brought plentiful improvements to fix some of the key issues that We Happy Few was suffering from. This includes solving the issue I suffered from with the NPC by introducing a conversation mode interaction, where in a nutshell NPCs can no longer be affected by outside interference. A brand new intro shelter has also been put in, expanding the tutorial area to ease you into the game a lot more than before. The Clockwork update also offers up a far more streamlined quest system, improving upon previous scripts and encounters whilst giving themselves the ablity to fix anything should something go wrong.
When We Happy Few first became available under the Preview Program and Early Access, it came under criticism for reasons that can’t really be fixed. This is because of expectations from the very little footage being displayed to the release of the preview, only discovering what the game was really all about when it hit early access. Sure, the majority of bugs that hindered We Happy Few were fixed by the recent Clockwork update, but is it really enough to make players want to return to the game?
We Happy Few was criticised for its unsatisfying combat and overall predictability, not to mention the constant need to eat, drink and sleep during your short time with the game. A lot of people felt that the trailer showcased at E3 and what the actual game turned out to be were just too far apart, and for that reason it may be difficult to persuade that particular group to come back even with this improved update.
From my point of view, the improvements fix the main issues of the game. My advice would be to wait for the full release of the game to prevent any further disappointment, since its previous gameplay bugs were a prime example of kicking a man whilst he’s already down. The update doesn’t nor did it ever intend to change the core survival, procedurally generated elements of We Happy Few, and despite the smoother gameplay being implemented, the feeling still lingers of what might’ve been when imaginations were running wild after the initial reveal. If the overall gameplay issues were your biggest gripe, then it is worth making a return to the Garden District to see what’s what. But it doesn’t change itself to meet the first impressions and expectations of some.
Are you enjoying We Happy Few so far? Let us know in the comments section below!