We Happy Few
If you made a sauce of two parts Bioshock to one part Alice: Madness Returns, then poured it over a bed of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, you’d have We Happy Few. The game takes place in England in a village called Wellington Wells where everyone takes medication called Joy to be happy all the time. They can instinctively sense people who aren’t on it and are incredibly violent toward them. You play, of course, someone who’s gone off his Joy. The game features an interesting story and points you toward your goals, but everything between point A and point B is procedurally generated. So you may only have to go a mile away, but everything in that mile changes every time you play.
The game features a large degree of freedom, allowing you to explore buildings and sneak about, or be rowdy and really wreck everyone’s day with a pipe wrench. The more happy, outgoing, and well dressed you are, the harder it is to detect you’re off your Joy. But the second you do something to tip them off, god damn you’d better run. They are not screwing around in Wellington Wells.
The game is still a bit rough around the edges, but it’s coming along beautifully. There’s even a basic needs function where you need to drink, eat, and sleep just to keep going, which adds to the strategy of how long to stay out, when, and what to do.
We Happy Few is coming to Xbox One and PC June of this year.
MOBAs have really taken off in the past few years, with the clear victors being DOTA and League of Legends. The concept has been wildly successful, but rarely iterated on effectively. Paragon hopes to do that.
Instead of having a top down view of the map, you play as a third person hero attacking and capturing bases. The mechanics, power ups, and design are no different than most MOBAs — each team has bases that can be captured, minions spawn from the bases, you try to take the last base to win. The over the shoulder perspective is interesting and makes it feel less like a MOBA and more like a team shooter.
That being said, the biggest problem Paragon has is how long it takes to play a game. League’s average game length is just over half an hour. This length is great — just long enough to fit in around 2 matches an hour. If you have an awful team or just can’t get it done, it’s over and you’re in another game relatively quickly. A match in Paragon, on the other hand, took 45-50 minutes in my experience. Not only was this painfully long to wait for at a demo, but if your team is dragging you down, that’s an extra 15-20 minutes of agony when you know you won’t win.
The improved mechanics are interesting and succeed in making it feel less like every other MOBA, but that average match length has to come down if it wants to take on League and DOTA.
Paragon will be out later this year for PC and PS4.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force
Nintendo has a lot of great series, Metroid Prime being one of the most incredible. Those three games are intensely satisfying, intriguing and took the series to a whole new level. When Nintendo announced Metroid Prime: Federation Force, everyone was a little wary. No Samus, on the 3DS, featuring Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass level graphics. But it’s a Prime title, maybe it’ll surprise with quality.
Nope. Sure doesn’t.
You know Warframe? How you and your friends take on baddies, explore spaceships, fight stuff then escape? Okay take out the wall running, downgrade the graphics, make the aiming mechanic halfway broken, and put it on a console without another thumb stick so you really can’t aim the camera properly and that’s Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Playing this game is an exercise in frustration as the game on a whole is slow, it has the “can’t aim up” problems that FPS games on the DS had before and never overcame, and overall feels like a cheap imitation of a Metroid game, let alone a Prime game.
If this game had come out under the name “Space Marines: Explore ‘n Shoot” and was marketed at 8-12 year olds with an accompanying cartoon show, it would make total sense to be mediocre. But it’s a Metroid game and it’s a horrible trick to deny gamers a proper game and rather give them what appears to be a mostly finished game that had some Metroid skins plastered on it.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force is out August 16th of this year for Nintendo 3DS, though after this preview, you probably don’t care.