When I first heard of what could be considered We Happy Few Redux, which was the expanded version of the title, bankrolled by Gearbox, I was incredibly excited as it looked just like the spiritual successor to Bioshock, which I was waiting for, for all those years. However, once this rather mysterious game had finally hit the store shelves, the truth was vastly different to what I, and many others have imagined.

At its core, there was nothing inherently wrong with We Happy Few, it was a perfectly competent first-person adventure game, with some horror and survival elements. However, at launch, We Happy Few, was barely playable and even months later after its initial launch, the title at hand was still an absolute mess, even after dozens of patches. So when I was offered to review We Happy Few’s latest DLC, I was incredibly sceptical. But Lightbearer, as the DLC is titled, is just what We Happy Few needed in order to keep itself relevant.

At just over £7, and just under 500MB in size, Lightbearer may initially not seem as much. As nobody really expects anything meaningful these days from content packs below the standard £15.99, or anything gaming related, below the 20GB. But against all odds, Lightbearer defies all the industry ‘’standards’’ and serves you with what the original We Happy Few should have been. Because Lightbearer is not just a great piece DLC, but it is also vastly superior to anything, and everything this came before it – within the We Happy Few universe.

The cheerful, yet immensely depressing nature of the DLC strikes you right from the very beginning. Because unlike the base game, Lightbearer doesn’t beat around the bush. It is direct, decisive, and most importantly, coherent. The writing is stellar, the characters are great, and all the gameplay alterations are not just enjoyable, but also incredibly fitting, when it comes to the subject matter of the DLC.

Unlike the original release of the game, Lightbearer is much more colourful, and most importantly, much more detailed. And that’s mainly due to the fact that unlike the base story of We Happy Few, Lightbearer is not an open-world experience. It is an A-to-B, linear adventure which prioritises quality, over quantity. The hotel within which the vast majority of the title takes place is aptly decorated, with psychedelic memorabilia, and a vast array of Nick “Lightbearer” art and other gadgets, and all the characters revolve around the main narrative, and all that preceded it. Meaning that you never have to stand and listen to meaningless life stores and other fluff, before you get to the proverbial meat.

What’s truly astounding about Lightbearer, is the fact that within the two hours of its average running time, it is capable of thorough character development, thematic exploration, and it even manages to inject few twists and turns, which ultimately disallows you from ever getting bored. And when playing Lightbearer, time flies so fast, that you might not even find a moment to truly appreciate it, because it is constantly picking up the pace. The second you think that it’s done, it turns things up a notch, and it does that over, and over, and over again, all the way until the final credits roll.

Lightbearer’s artistic and creative direction plays a huge part in its success. However, narrative and environment art, are just two parts of this 60’s thriller, which Compulsion Games has cooked up for us. And the third and final part which truly makes the experience whole, is the complete reinvention of the We Happy Few combat system. Lead pipes and cricket bats of the original, have been replaced with an electric guitar, an amp, and a box of certified gold records.

Within the game, you use the guitar with R2 to ‘face melt’ Nick’s rabid fans, paparazzi, and other hostiles; L2 to deflect projectiles and attacks. You trigger the golden records with L1, and fire them with R2; and while they work similarly to the guitar, they can ultimately hit multiple targets at once, and trigger buttons which are just out of reach. Unlike the golden records, Nick’s guitar gets upgraded as the story trots along. And with new strings you can serenade multiple hostiles, while holding L2, and with a brand-new amp, you can attack and befall multiple enemies at once, once you hold down R2 for a brief moment.

Guitar upgrades go above and beyond the additional skills and abilities, as with each new piece of equipment, Nick’s guitar changes its tune. So, the once tame and timid sounding piece of wood, turns into a loud and charismatic axe, which allows you to take down your foes as you please. This only further reaffirms the fact that Compulsion Games, has truly put a lot of time, love, and effort into this particular DLC. Because all of its parts come uniformly together, to create the best product that the studio has developed to date.

Not to prolong, all that really has to be said about Lightbearer, is that this is the game which We Happy Few should have been. And I can’t shake the feeling that if not for the unnecessarily large open-world, cumbersome survival mechanics, and last but certainly not least technical issues, we could have been talking about We Happy Few, as one of the best games of this generation. But while we cannot do so, we can certainly agree that Lightbearer is one of the single best pieces of DLC to be released on the current generation of consoles (Blood and Wine, and Hearts of Stone are considered to be expansions, and not DLC).  If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to plunge unto the world of We Happy Few, now is the time.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.