“Precise happiness not assured.”
Once I first noticed the reveal trailer for Paranoia: Happiness is Necessary, I made the idea that it was some form of administration simulator, much like Jail Architect or a comedic model of Commentary. Fortunately, I used to be extremely unsuitable.
Unaware that developer Black Shamrock had secured the rights to the tabletop RPG of the identical title, I used to be ecstatic to search out study that Paranoia: Happiness is Necessary is a compelling mixture of basic isometric RPGs and tactical fight sims set in a hilariously absurd Orwellian nightmare.
The world of Paranoia is a far-future automated habitat referred to as Alpha Advanced, the place everybody is Blissful™. Happiness™, on this state of affairs, means completely medicated and pacified by the varied brokers of the excellent and sort, and undoubtedly not-at-all evil supreme overlord of your little world, Buddy Laptop.
Buddy Laptop retains the residents of Alpha Advanced Blissful™ in quite a lot of methods, past simply their perscribed Blissful Drugs. Buddy laptop retains its residents clear. Buddy Laptop gives its citizen with function, giving them necessary jobs that hold them Blissful™, like cleansing the cleansing robots, or researching new flavors of Traditional-flavored Fizzy Beverage. Buddy Laptop retains its residents Blissful™ by holding them protected. Happiness is following the Guidelines™, like “stay inside your color-coded safety clearance space” or “chorus from unbiased thought to keep away from being positioned on extra watchlists.”
Buddy Laptop is in all places. Nearly. And that is the place you are available.
It would not be referred to as “Paranoia” with out good motive.
You tackle the position of a Troubleshooter: somebody whose job is to cope with any issues in Alpha Advanced which will require a extra private contact than Buddy Computer systems many drones and servo-arms are in a position to present. In our demo, this meant investigating why one of many upkeep bots in a sub-basement stage was behaving oddly.
It turned out that a group of Traitors – the designation given to anybody within the Alpha Advanced facility that doesn’t observe the foundations or stay Blissful™ – had sealed off just a few rooms within the sub-basement to make use of as their private LARP-ing grounds (they’d even reprogrammed safety bots to shout “Lightning Bolt!” as they fireplace their lasers), and it was as much as us and our three crew members to clear them out.
Fight in Paranoia is real-time, however you possibly can pause the motion everytime you like for so long as you need to give your squad of 4 instructions, sending them to cowl, attacking particular enemies or making use of their distinctive specializations. For instance, whereas your Cleanliness Officer may have the ability to deal acid injury, or your Happiness Officer (mainly the logical and horrifying extrapolation of Large Pharma and Social Media) may buff your workforce with psychotropic medication.
What’s fascinating is that fairly than failing and restarting a mission upon dying with a special talent loadout, HiM includes a distinctive tackle permadeath. Buddy Laptop understands that accidents occur, and as such has issued Troubleshooters with a financial institution of clones which can be activated upon a unit’s unintended termination (or an intentional one, relying in your actions). What’s fascinating is that every time you activate a clone, you are in a position to re-spec your abilities and attribute factors, successfully creating a brand new character each time you die. Buddy Laptop solely gives six clones that may be re-spec’d, although, so you will have to decide on properly if you happen to do not need to get caught with a talent set you do not need. I am advised, nonetheless, that there could also be a sure geneticist someplace in Alpha Advanced that might assist with that – if you happen to’ve received funds and are prepared to danger the demerits…
After all, it would not be referred to as “Paranoia” with out good motive. Whereas your workforce members could also be underneath your management throughout fight and missions, they’re very a lot not your workforce members. Though your jobs will take you into areas the place Buddy Laptop’s scanners do not work, that does not imply your workforce members will not inform Buddy Laptop of any misdeeds you commit whereas on a mission. For instance, once we discovered ourselves at a locked door, our tech skilled steered that I hack a close-by merchandising machine to achieve entry to the native community and unlock the door. It was a good suggestion, so I did – and the little weasel ratted me out as quickly as we received again upstairs, which triggered my Treason Stage (a p.c ranking system that each citizen has indicating how involved Buddy Laptop is with their Happiness™) to extend and alter my citizen ranking from Questionable to Suspicious.
We did not see a lot of Alpha Advanced past the couple of flooring we visited, however the little little bit of the world it confirmed us did an awesome job taking part in with this notion of omnipotence and distrust, and the way you need to cope with it. Wherever your character goes, safety cameras monitor your each transfer – even the Buddy Laptop icon on the high of the display (it lets you understand if you’re in view of its cameras) follows the movement of your mouse cursor with eerie, silent malice.
Although I solely skilled a small portion Paranoia’s world, I used to be instantly hooked by its witty tackle the “robots gone awry” style, and may’t wait to see how my exploits play out relying on my decisions. Will I splinter off from the opposite residents to hitch a secret society and overthrow FC? Or will I stay a steadfast and Blissful™ agent of Buddy Laptop’s ruthlessly clever design? Happiness could also be necessary, however participation is fully voluntary – and I will gladly be throwing on my learn overalls later this 12 months.
JR is IGN’s Senior Options Editor. You may observe him on Twitter @USofJR