We Happy Few: We All Fall Down Review — Bringing the Story to an Explosive End
Through massive changes in the early access period to the official launch version last year and now onto the final piece of season pass DLC, the evolving We Happy Few saga is finally reaching its end on a very unexpected note.
It's worth knowing going into this review that while many players were upset with various aspects of the game, from the Gearbox publishing shift to bugs in the second and third act, I thoroughly loved We Happy Few, flaws and all.
The game's season pass so far has consisted of short side vignettes fleshing out the world but it hasn't until now, had a whole lot to do with the main story.
What you need to know going into Well All Fall Down is that the title is literal and figurative. Much of the gameplay physically takes place at elevated heights, and Wellington Wells is finally seeing the collapse it has been staving off for so long.
We Happy Few: We All Fall Down Review — A New Beginning For The End
If you were expecting more of the same type of gameplay from the three main campaign acts, you will be sorely disappointed. We All Fall Down scraps the crafting, open world, and survival aspects found in We Happy Few.
With more traditional level design and a focused A to B story, you'll get about 3 hours of play with this final expansion. It's possible to spend a bit longer in the game if you try to be stealthy and search the little side nook and crannies to pick up all the upgrade contraptions.
For that amount of time, We All Fall Down isn't ludicrously overpriced like a lot of DLC these days. $7.99 (or less if you got the season pass) is perfectly acceptable for a 3-4 hour curated experience showing off another slice of the game world you haven't seen before.
With the base gameplay loop heavily modified, all of the crafted weapons and clothes you relied on previously are gone. This time, you get a whip and stun gun to utilize. The latter brings some interesting capabilities, since it can shock bobbies or even be used to temporarily disable various electrical equipment like security devices.
During the final chapter to the We Happy Few story, you get to choose how to upgrade along three different skill trees — whip, stun gun, and stealth — although with the short length and more focused gameplay this time around, some skills are obviously more helpful than others.
Unless you are playing on the highest difficulty or just flat out can't get the whip mechanics down, there's really no reason to take the skill for reduced falling damage for instance. Once you've upgraded your whip, you can have it always knock down enemies and force their weapons to drop. Don't expect to ever use any other attack type.
You Are Off Your Joy!
If you felt like the lady with the whip in the teaser video looked familiar, that's because the game has now come full circle. The first person you meet in We Happy Few — someone who was essentially a main villain from the base game — is now the protagonist in the end of the Wellington Wells story.
Miss Byng's story strongly mirrors Arthur's decision to stop taking Joy before realizing things are even worse off than anyone imagined. Only this time, you're seeing things from the top rather than the bottom.
Considering the lengths Miss Byng went to stay on Joy at the end of the base game, I'm not sure I really buy her sudden decision to go off the drug as the DLC starts, but obviously, the story needs her to be rid of the influence of Joy or it can't go anywhere.
Of course, the big draw of this DLC is for long-time fans to get a glimpse into how and why Wellington Wells reached its current sad state. Along the way, you get a tantalizing look at what sort of people would propagate this sick society, and the rationalizations people make both in defending the status quo and in trying to tear it down.
That's all sort of window dressing, though, because most of We All Fall Down consists of Indiana Jones-ing your way across chasms and rooftops with the whip.
The rooftop exploration elements are actually pretty decent, and if the developers ever do another content update for the base game, I'd love to see some of this added as another means of exploring the open world segments.
That being said, We All Fall Down is significantly more linear and combat-focused than you'd expect based off the promo materials. I ended up basically playing it like Mirror's Edge, rushing across rooftops at high speed and ignoring stealth altogether.
Becoming a high-speed bobby-killing machine — the exact opposite of the stealth focus the trailer indicated — is all but guaranteed due to an unfortunate side effect of how the whip works.
While it seems like it should be a melee weapon, the whip is actually more of a ranged weapon, and crucially, it has no ammo. Miss Byng's stamina does need to be managed, but that doesn't really matter since (almost) every single combat section has an area where you can get the high ground over your enemies.
That means you can destroy them with the whip at your leisure from a safe vantage point where you can't be attacked — in almost every single fight. Even if you are vastly outnumbered because you got the attention of everyone in the area, it's still wildly easy to scum the system and defeat all enemies in no time flat.
The only exceptions take place in two "boss" type fights where waves of more powerful enemies come at you in a limited space, which seems out of character for the game and breaks the main mechanics in a different way.
If you're looking for a challenge, it only really shows up at the very end when dealing with multiple shocking security lasers while surrounded by angry bobbies and doctors.
Following that puzzle of a fight, the final segment of the DLC feels like a chase sequence lifted straight out of a Call Of Duty single-player campaign (or a Michael Bay flim!), which is not by itself a bad thing. It just feels a little out of place for We Happy Few.
We Happy Few: We All Fall Down Review — The Bottom Line
- Priced right
- Brings a very definitive ending to the main story
- Rooftop segments change up the stealth mechanics
- Fairly short
- Gameplay doesn't really feel like We Happy Few anymore
- Much more linear than you'd expect
We All Fall Down absolutely deserves praise for not being wildly overpriced and for bringing the game a very final, very clear conclusion.
The formerly diabolical Miss Byng serves as a sort of Dark Knight of Wellington Wells, not becoming the hero the people deserve but instead the hero they need. While the short length means some of the character arc wrap-ups are a bit abrupt, this segment of the We Happy Few universe will still hit you in the feels.
Unfortunately, with the developers choosing to so radically depart from the game's primary open-world survival mechanics for the DLC, the end result is quite uneven, and the gameplay itself just isn't that compelling.
[Note: A copy of We Happy Few's We All Fall Down DLC was provided by Compulsion Games for the purpose of this review.]