Paranoia is a Tactical RPG With an AI Big Brother Watching Your Every Move

Published: June 22, 2019 1:00 PM /

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paranoia happiness is mandatory logo

Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory may be perfectly named. The world of Paranoia is one that, well, induces a lot of paranoia. To be unhappy is also treasonous, so it is pretty mandatory. Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory brings the pen and paper RPG first released in 1984 to PC in great CRPG style.

If you are unfamiliar with the world of Paranoia, as I was, it's not exactly the happiest place, even though they really want it to be. Set in a dystopian city run by an AI known as "Friend Computer," every move of all citizens is under constant watch. The world is created for Friend Computer's control, and everyone is made to follow the illogical and often contradictory rules Friend Computer creates.

paranoia happiness is mandatory color
Only those with the Yellow security clearance can be in this area.


Organized by a color coded caste system, those who Friend Computer trusts most have the higher security clearance. That means society isn't structured by merit or by wealth or by anything other than what Friend Computer thinks of you. So, in another sense Happiness is Mandatory may also refer to the player's obligation to keep Friend Computer happy, too.

You'll take on the role of a Troubleshooter, who is tasked with dealing with whatever troubles Friend Computer deems necessary and a threat to its control. Your character and a team of a few others will venture out to deal with those in secret societies, malfunctioning robots, and more.

Trusting your companions is a fool's game, too. Almost everywhere in Paranoia is under Friend Computer's surveillance, but there are some places it cant see. Those are likely places you'll be when doing some Troubleshooting work. As the whole society is a competition for Friend Computer's affection, you'll have to watch what you do around your companions. Just because Friend Computer isn't watching doesn't mean someone else isn't for him.

paranoia happiness is mandatory friend computer
Friend Computer watches your every move and even has a dedicated spot in the top center of the UI to even watch your cursor moving on the screen.

It's not as though one of your companions may be a plant or spy, they are just really likely to throw you under the bus to advance themselves. Paranoia's not really a world for making friends, and your very survival will likely depend on some betrayals along the way.

That doesn't mean you'll always have to do something that Friend Computer wants, but there are risks. You'll have a treason level that will go up or down based on your actions. It's something you'll need to be careful with, however, as at 100% Friend Computer will ask you to terminate yourself.

Death isn't the end, though. If you die, don't worry, there are some clones of you in storage that will be brought up. This will allow you to start fresh with a new character, putting in attributes in skills into something else this time, or tweaking what you had before.

paranoia happiness is mandatory combat

As for combat, Paranoia plays out something like Divinity: Original Sin. It's not grid- or hex-based, and all gunshots are based on real physics. If something is in the way, the shot won't hit. And you're only in cover so much as what is actually covered. If you're head is poking out and a bullet hits it, well, that's bad news. You'll also be able to pause in combat to strategize.

Paranoia's combat seems to play as pretty standard CRPG fare, with the developers stating they have put a little more emphasis on things like consumables they expect players to use a lot. There will be abilities, items to craft, and different guns to mess around with as well. And of course plenty of loot to go through once you've downed your enemies.

Paranoia has some great dark humor and personality to it in an interesting dystopian world. The setting and writing are all there to make for some great fun, and if you're a fan of things like Baldur's Gate or Divinity: Original Sin, this may be worth checking out.

Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory is due out at the end of 2019 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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Andrew Otton
| Editor in Chief

Andrew is the Editor in Chief at TechRaptor. Conned into a love of gaming by Nintendo at a young age, Andrew has been chasing the dragon spawned by Super… More about Andrew