With Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness, the popular sci-fi anime series gets the visual novel treatment, bringing the cyberpunk show to the PS4 and PS Vita in an all-new adventure. Featuring the rich cast of characters from the anime, a new threat, and plenty of Dominator action, is this new visual novel from the people behind Steins Gate worth it?
Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness
Developed by Mages. and 5pb. / Published by NIS America
Available on the PS4 and PS Vita.
*Review code provided by NIS America
In Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness, an individual named Alpha comes from nowhere to bring happiness to the world through shady and unconventional methods. When various civilian’s hues start changing and becoming criminal, and others start missing, the team of enforcers and investigators from the Criminal Investigation Department Division 1, including newcomers Nadeshiko Kugatachi and Takuma Tsurugi, must investigate and hopefully catch the elusive perpetrator before it is too late.
Being a visual novel, the game is pretty much a text-based adventure, with a heavy (extremely heavy) emphasis on dialogue. You’ll pretty much spend ninety percent of the game reading through windows of text, following the plot as it develops, and then occasionally select from two or three options on which course of action to take next in order to spin the plot in a different direction.
Thankfully, Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness‘ story is well-written and entertaining. Bringing in two new playable characters that you can select from in the beginning, one of which is an investigator and the other an enforcer, each offers their own angle on the game’s events. The plot is rich and full of twists, turns and surprises, and it takes place parallel to the events of the anime, so fans of the source material will enjoy it as it’s completely original.
Newcomers coming in blind however might have a harder time making sense of things, as the game assumes you somewhat know what’s going on. While it comes with a section that brings all the background info to fill you in, it’ll often leave you in the dark as you learn who’s who and what’s what, and the idea of an A.I. system that tracks people’s psyche and emotions is a bit too complex to explain through a text recap. And of course, if you’re not a fan of the visual novel genre, the game will probably leave you disappointed, as all you’ll be doing here is wading through tons of text, and there’s no real gameplay elements here other than the sporadic choice selection. So if you had hopes of shooting Dominators at criminals and making them go splat, you’d be sorely disappointed. Still, it’s not a bad game – especially if you love the source material, and there’s nothing wrong with it, save for the lack in gameplay variety.
While the game is mostly straightforward, the choices you can select from do add to the game’s replay value, as there are various endings that you can reach depending on what choices you make, and two adventures to play through. Only true fans of the game will make multiple runs through the game however, because it’s a pretty slow and repetitive experience.
When it comes down to it, Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is a solid visual novel from Mages. and 5pb., staying true to the source material while offering a new adventure for players to go through. While it doesn’t particularly offer anything new or exciting to the genre, it’s a good tale that fans of the series and genre will enjoy.
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