We Happy Few has come a long way since its inception into the Xbox Game Preview scheme back in 2016. After finally managing a full release in 2018, I have taken in both the main game and the first part of its DLC trilogy earlier this year, with the launch of They Came From Below. It has to be said that I really enjoyed the main game, particularly the world the developers managed to create, what with its great story and some superb writing. The open-world styled nature and the survival elements are however the weakest parts of the main game, and some of the glitches got me really down, man – yep I’m trying to harness the swinging ’60s-styled vibe here. Thankfully though the first content addition took us on a separate story arc with a much more linear path, dumping the survival elements and providing an entertaining B-movie story with lots of great fun to be had. The newest chapter in this addition is that of Lightbearer and it promises another new tale with even more gameplay techniques.
The story in We Happy Few – Lightbearer focuses on a rock musician who we take charge of – Nick Lightbearer. He is a famous musician who has taken on many different influences, but basically looks and sounds a bit like Austin Powers, just with a droopy moustache. We start the game in a hotel room when the hero wakes up with bloody clothes, a missing manager who you think is a rat, and the hotel staff banging on the room door. What’s next?
Well, it is from here that you are taken on a journey that involves discovering what might have happened to you the night before. The adventure entails engaging a bevy of groupies who will kill you with love and affection. Then there are a host of paparazzi photographers who are also as lethal in their pursuits. For the most part you will explore the hotel through a series of stairs and vents, participating in a mixture of exploration and fetch quests. This is much more entertaining then I am making out it out to be, as the writing and characters are – once again – brilliant and engrossing throughout.
Nick has a likening for drugs which he calls his ‘party favours’ and there are a few amazing sequences where he falls into a magical yet horrific world of pain, and a scary boss battle in which he appears as a tiny child. The gameplay this time around features a very different weapon at your disposal… a guitar, and with this you can deliver a face-melting chord that will halt and knock out your enemies or pursuers. You can also serenade groupies with a more gentle rift which puts them into a temporary loved-up state, seeing them then turn on one another. There is one standout feature whereby when you are lost you can strum a chord and some golden statues of Nick Lightbearer come to life to point you in the right direction. But aside from that guitar, you also have an unlimited supply of golden discs. You can throw these at enemies or switches as you partake in some basic puzzle-fueled sections.
Lightbearer on Xbox One is a fairly easy, pretty straightforward journey to take part in and will only really keep you busy for a couple of hours – but that is plenty enough time in my book for an additional DLC jaunt. And whilst the gameplay is on the easy side, there are a number of difficulty levels to choose from, and a couple of boss battles that ramp things up a little, especially the finale. The attention to detail though is amazing with little secrets and details dotted around through fan-mad love letters to Nick and finding out that he has produced several experimental albums that haven’t been that well received.
As you would expect, it all still looks just like what We Happy Few has provided previously with trademark characters and masked individuals high on Joy. The hotel section is well designed and there are some nice touches, like a fetish room with a pole for dancing on (you should do that too as a secret achievement will be yours). It’s a brilliant cartoon world full of over the top characterisations and a psychedelic colour palette. The drug sequences are quite terrifying, but they are hugely inventive and a whole lot of fun. The soundtrack is simply brilliant too, with some original music from Lightbearer’s tracks and other music found in a bar. The voice-overs are again of a very high standard with some brilliantly over-the-top performances that provide a hell a lot of fun and panache.
So, Lightbearer? Any good? Well, I have massively enjoyed this latest DLC for We Happy Few, even more so than the main game in fact. Perhaps it’s to do with my tastes, where I’m looking for a more linear story-led experience, which this episode and the previous one deliver in abundance. And whilst others might find this too hand-led and a bit short, for me it is perfect and I can’t wait to see what the last piece of We Happy Few DLC has to offer next.