Back in August 2018, we took a trip to Wellington Wells, a dystopian town which was divided into two classes, those who take their ‘Joy’ and live a drug-addicted life, and those who went cold turkey and became ‘Downers’. We Happy Few was a mixed bag for many reviewers upon launch, due to its buggy and inconsistent mechanics and controls. However, I reviewed the game HERE and I had a lot of fun with it, it combines stealth with action-exploration whilst being pushed by a narrative experience for three rather unique characters. Eight months later and we’ve finally received our first piece of DLC, Roger & James in They Came From Below.
I feel this DLC may also divide the reviewers as it’s quite different to the main game, the focus is shifted and certain mechanics we had to use within the base game no longer come into play within this new experience. However, if you look at the new content as its own thing, there’s plenty here to like and enjoy – even if it’s a bit short.
There have also been a few updates to the base game with the addition of free content for everyone, so I’ll cover that within this review as well. So, let’s see what the residents of Wellington Wells have been up to this time!
As you play through the base game of We Happy Few, there are numerous characters who stick with you and who make a lasting impression. This is because the writing, voice acting, story arcs, and character models, are all very memorable and interesting. Two such zany characters are James and Rodger with their secret (yet obvious) love for one another, their pure British humour, blunt vocabulary, and over the top personalities. The duo are working as assistants to Dr. Faraday in her home laboratory as she attempts to create a portal to another dimension and explore the unknown.
Taking control of Roger, after completing a few mundane tasks for the Doctor within Wellington Wells, you return to find that the impossible has been achieved, Dr. Faraday has not only opened a portal, but she has entered it and vanished from the world! With the help of your protective partner, James, you find the Doctor’s hidden lair deep below the surface of the town – a vast mechanical factory which is seemingly occupied by non-friendly robots.
Before long you’ll find the ray gun and a few other sci-fi gadgets which you’ll use to keep the robots at bay whilst you blast the life out of them! With James on Comms, can you venture through the three main segments of the underground factory and find the Doctor then get out alive? The only way you’ll find out is if you play Roger & James in They Came From Below today!
More joy without ‘Joy’?
Okay, one of the major differences between the base game and ‘Roger & James in They Came From Below‘ is that the DLC scraps pretty much all survival elements from the beginning. Sure, you’ll still need health balm to heal your wounds (an item which is very, very low in stock in the factory), but you won’t need to take joy, act happy, or worry too much about stealth within this DLC. You won’t even have to worry about changing your clothes in order to fit in or avoid suspicion, although I would have loved it if there was a robot disguise you could have put on.
Roger & James in They Came From Below is more akin to a narrative mini-episode than a full-on DLC pack. It has a story, with three chapters, and you’re pretty much guided through it without any wiggle room to go off the path or explore places you shouldn’t be in. Don’t take that the wrong way though, I really enjoyed playing the DLC as I prefer linear story-driven games over open-world ones at the moment (due to the over-saturation of open-world games on the market), but it’s a big difference to the base game, which was primarily a massive open world for you to explore. The DLC also contains a decent number of environmental puzzles to overcome such as using a powered up shot to turn on switches or lifting objects to create a gap in the laser beam defences.
As a comparison, let’s take combat, for example. In the base game, you would be finding new weapons all over the place, combining items to create usable things, and adapting to the situation with various clothes, weapons, and throwables. Roger & James in They Came From Below makes this whole process very easy and simplified as your main weapon is the ray gun, you have an item which slows down time, all health items are picked up and not crafted, and you’ll find a few shock grenades. Again, this isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a lot more restrictive and pre-determined than the base game was.
The whole DLC, from beginning to end, took me around two hours to complete and it even had an option at the end which will generate an alternative ending (however, there is no trophy for picking both). It’s short but very well done, the environment looks great with its futuristic sci-fi feel to it, the robots all look like 1950’s B-Movie robots, the voice acting is great, with the original voice actors, and the dialogue is absolutely brilliant! Seriously, I was laughing every time James and Roger talked to each other.
If you’ve not played the base game, or you didn’t really interact with these two that much when you played it, these two are the most down-to-Earth couple within the whole game. The banter which goes on between these two is great – they really are like a bickering old married couple, with a lot of swearing… That’s right, if you’re not a fan of swearing, maybe this DLC isn’t for you as James will try and fit in at least one swear word with every sentence.
Overall then, I was impressed with the polish and care which has gone into creating this DLC, even if it’s more of a vertical slice/small snippet of the main game, rather than adding content to the base game (I don’t think you can carry over any of the new weaponry into the base game once completed). I’m looking forward to the next two DLC packs and will certainly play them upon release and let you know what I thought of them.
Why should I re-install We Happy Few?
As I suggested before, the game wasn’t received with the best reviews upon launch as there was a number of issues people were having once the game went live. I don’t want to get off topic too much, but this is the biggest disappointment with games this generation – even more than Microtransactions. Developers are rushed to release their games before adequate testing on multiple platforms has taken place, this results in broken games, lots of bugs/glitches, game-stopping occurrences, and non-working mechanics, being live on day-one. This results in games being reviewed before launch and being reviewed as broken messes (and a lot of publications won’t change or update their reviews), giving off a terrible first impression, and forever being deemed as an ‘average’ game when in reality they could be much better now they’ve received a few patches and updates.
Now, I’m not saying We Happy Few has become a whole new game with the updates it received over the last few months, but it’s certainly much better than the version in the reviews you’ll read which describe what it was like pre-launch. So, if you have it but you haven’t played it for a while, or if you have Xbox GamePass, then give it another try – GamePass owners can download it free on the Windows 10 store or the Xbox One. However, there are three major additions to the game, aside from the patches, which are:
Survival Mode: This is basically the Early Access game – the one a lot of people thought they were getting until the game went off sale for a few months and returned as the final product. In this mode, all story elements are gone as you have one objective, survive. Its a case of trying to stay alive as you aim to escape Wellington Wells before you’re eliminated as the Downer you are! The interesting thing is, this mode not only recreates the main game but with the story gone, but it also has a few new areas which weren’t in there and a new scoring system.
Night’s Watch Mode: This is probably the most interesting mode in my opinion. You get to play as one of the Wellies (the police) as you walk the streets of Wellington Wells at night in search of Downers. So, you must patrol the streets, maintain the peace, take care of uncooperative Downers, and even face against a new enemy as you play as Constable Constable.
Sandbox Mode: Have you ever put on We Happy Few and wished you could become invincible, have all skill points, change the procedural generation algorithm, or just mess about in the crazy dystopian world? Well, now you can! There are plenty of options to create any number of crazy worlds for you to mess around in with the most interesting option being the one which can ’cause unpredictable results’. That’s right, the developers have allowed you to pick how ‘level’ you want the town – flat and standard is fine, but if you crank it to the extreme then you’ll get a friendly warning that things may not appear as expected – as I found out.
My Wellington Wells was full of hills in the middle of the road, post boxes were floating on the sidewalk, people were pinging all over the place, I had a road melt into a field then back into a road again, and many other strange occurrences. This is a mode where you can just run around and do whatever you want with all story elements turned off so you can beat people up, cause havoc, explore, and generally have fun.
The above three modes are free to all owners of the base game, not just owners of the Roger & James in They Came From Below DLC – that’s along with over 1000 bug fixes and improvements which have been done since launch. The question is, why weren’t these all found and fixed pre-launch? It would be nice if we could go back to the days before digital distribution and had games officially 100% complete and perfect upon launch, but I can’t see that happening any time soon. If you own We Happy Few on a physical disc, you may think you’ve got the game forever yet all you have is the bare bones of what the game is actually like today.
Roger & James in They Came From Below is a great narrative-driven linear DLC episode for We Happy Few. Sure, it lacks the exploration and big open spaces we saw in the base game, but by compressing the play area and focusing on the combat and puzzles over survival, the developers have delivered a really fun and interesting experience. The stars of the show are clearly Roger and James themselves, their personalities, narrative, interactions, and banter bring this episode to life as it adds comedic elements into the dark and serious undertone of an alien/robotic invasion.
If you own We Happy Few but haven’t played it for a while, I’d advise you to jump back in and try it out once again now that all the patches and updates have been applied – not to mention the three free game modes. If you’ve completed the game and you’re looking for more but prefer narrative focused mini-adventures with a linear storyline and less stealth and survival, check out Roger & James in They Came From Below today either as a sole purchase or part of the season pass.
Roger & James in They Came From Below£7.39
- - Great banter between the protagonists and overall narative
- - Short but sweet linear episode which focuses on combat and puzzles over survival
- - Visually, the game looks great, even better than I remembered
- - Replayability with missable trophies and alternative endings
- - Can't carry over the weapons into the main game, not even sandbox (I think)
- - Those who like We Happy Few for it's survival and open-world will feel let down as this is more action-focused and linear (which I enjoyed)
- - A bit short at around two hours of gameplay