“Precise happiness not assured.”
After I first noticed the reveal trailer for Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory, I made the idea that it was some kind of administration simulator, just like Jail Architect or a comedic model of Statement. Fortunately, I used to be extremely improper.
Unaware that developer Black Shamrock had secured the rights to the tabletop RPG of the identical identify, I used to be excited to be taught that Paranoia: Happiness is Obligatory 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 Comfortable™. Happiness™, on this state of affairs, means totally medicated and pacified by the varied brokers of the superb and type, and positively not-at-all evil supreme overlord of your little world, Pal Pc.
Pal Pc retains the residents of Alpha Advanced Comfortable™ in quite a lot of methods, past simply their perscribed Comfortable Tablets. Pal pc retains its residents clear. Pal Pc offers its citizen with goal, giving them vital jobs that preserve them Comfortable™, like cleansing the cleansing robots, or researching new flavors of Traditional-flavored Fizzy Beverage. Pal Pc retains its residents Comfortable™ by conserving them secure. Happiness is following the Guidelines™, like “stay inside your color-coded safety clearance space” or “chorus from impartial thought to keep away from being positioned on further watchlists.”
Pal Pc is in all places. Nearly. And that is the place you are available in.
It would not be known as “Paranoia” with out good cause.
You tackle the function of a Troubleshooter: somebody whose job is to cope with any issues in Alpha Advanced which will require a extra private contact than Pal Computer systems many drones and servo-arms are capable of present. In our demo, this meant investigating why one of many upkeep bots in a sub-basement degree was behaving oddly.
It turned out group of Traitors – the designation given to anybody within the Alpha Advanced facility that doesn’t comply with the principles or stay Comfortable™ – had sealed off a couple of 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 would possibly have the ability to use a disinfecting chemical to deal acid injury, or your Happiness Officer (mainly the logical and horrifying extrapolation of Massive Pharma and Social Media) might buff your group with psychotropic medication.
What’s attention-grabbing is that fairly than failing and restarting a mission upon demise with a distinct ability loadout, HiM includes a distinctive tackle permadeath. Pal Pc 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 attention-grabbing is that every time you activate a clone, you are capable of re-spec your expertise and attribute factors, successfully creating a brand new character each time you die. Pal Pc solely offers six clones that may be re-spec’d, although, so you will have to decide on properly when you do not need to get caught with a ability set you do not need. I am instructed, nevertheless, that there could also be a sure geneticist someplace in Alpha Advanced that might assist with that – when you’ve acquired funds and are prepared to threat the demerits…
In fact, it would not be known as “Paranoia” with out good cause. Whereas your group members could also be beneath your management throughout fight and missions, they’re very a lot not your group members. Although your jobs will take you into areas the place Pal Pc’s scanners do not work, that does not imply your group members will not inform Pal Pc of any misdeeds you commit whereas on a mission. For instance, after we discovered ourselves at a locked door, our tech skilled recommended 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 acquired again upstairs, which prompted my Treason Stage (a p.c score system that each citizen has indicating how involved Pal Pc is with their Happiness™) to extend and alter my citizen score 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 incredible job enjoying with this notion of omnipotence and distrust, and the way it’s a must to cope with it. Wherever your character goes, safety cameras observe your each transfer – even the Pal Pc icon on the prime of the display (it lets you recognize whenever 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 selections. Will I splinter off from the opposite residents to hitch a secret society and overthrow FC? Or will I stay a steadfast and Comfortable™ agent of Pal Pc’s ruthlessly clever design? Happiness could also be obligatory, however participation is completely voluntary – and I will gladly be throwing on my purple overalls later this 12 months.
JR is IGN’s Senior Options Editor. You’ll be able to comply with him on Twitter @USofJR