REVIEW: ‘Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness’ (PS4)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness

In the world of Psycho-Pass, the answer to happiness is the Sibyl System, a system of personnel and artificial intelligence that has been written into the fabric of Tokyo, creating lives that persons can feel happy with. The Sibyl System has been a success, giving men, women, and children lives that aren’t perfect, but best position them for success. For those unfamiliar with the world of Psycho-Pass,  the show takes place in a futuristic dystopia, heavily inspired by movies such as Minority Report and Blade Runner.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is a visual novel, a story-focused genre of game, in which players will read the various text across several chapters, but make a critical choice that will affect the ending to the story, from Mages, 5pb, and NiS America. Based on the popular show from Naoyoshi Shiotani and Katsuyuki Motohiro, Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness and taking place within the corners of season one of the anime. The game is a thrilling and intellectually engaging visual novel that combines great writing and smart perspectives.

To bring happiness, the Sibyl System determines their psychological profile through their psycho-pass profile. The profile determines their likelihood for criminality by their hue. The clearer the hue, the more stress-free a person is. The more colored the hue, the more likely a citizen is to act irrationally and potentially commit a crime. When a certain threshold is reached on a hue, the various scanners and drones will send a notice to the Ministry of Public Welfare, where the MWPSB operate.

The Inspectors and Enforcers are armed with a special weapon system, The Dominator, that is tied to The Sibyl System ensuring that no unregistered user can use one. The Dominator can determine the seriousness of a potential crime through a crime coefficient. In the world of Psycho-Pass, Inspectors are superior to Enforcers. Enforcers are oftentimes latent criminals that have been recruited into the MWPSB, and are designed to provide more direct, aggressive support. Inspectors have more privilege and oversee Enforcers, but are capable of using resources to investigate and research cases.

From there, the type of enforcement depends on the number of the coefficient. A moderately high number may yield the Dominator to stun the target. A suspect could be having a manic episode or an anxiety attack, and therefore, that enforcement action is appropriate. The suspect is then subdued and sent in for professional care. If a suspect has a high crime coefficient, the dominator will determine lethal enforcement, configure itself for elimination,  and completely terminate the target.

In Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness,  on a man-made island nation, a mysterious theft triggers a chain of seemingly unrelated events that could have mammoth implications for the island country.  Players can choose between two new characters for the game: Inspector Nadeshiko and Enforcer Takuma. Each character has an entirely different sequence of events and choices to experience. Each of these characters has their own personal goals and convictions that lead you down different paths.

In the game, you work to crack a big case. You run investigations, using various intelligence-gathering resources, and engage in direct conflict with characters and situations. In several instances, you have a choice to use tactics to subdue or eliminate a suspect.  The choices you make, both during the investigation, and in moments of imminent danger, will determine the outcome.

It is possible to make a sound choice and die in the game as well.  The game features the original Japanese voice cast and English subtitles with localization conducted by NiS America, who did an incredible job with the localization process. They brought forth a nearly flawless translation of the game to the United States. I barely noticed any typos or abrupt changes in dialogue.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is accessible for newcomers, as they don’t necessarily need to see the anime to understand the world of Psycho-Pass and what is happening. Though, of course, it does help in further understanding the main cast and their goals. However, there are two obstacles to the game.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness

The first is that there is no auto-saving. It is recommended that players save often. As mentioned before, you can die in the game, and if a save isn’t conducted, you have to start from the last save. Additionally, the opening prologue chapter is slow and slightly uninteresting. However, after that first chapter, when players pursue their first case, the game will begin ramping up in intensity and plot.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness does a fantastic job in immersing players into the world of Psycho-Pass, as well as feel as if they are participating in it. You interact with the familiar cast of characters from the anime, who have incredibly interesting personalities, as well as their own conviction in solving cases. The newer characters introduced to the game, Takuma and Nadeshiko, are interesting additions to the world of Psycho-Pass as well. Their goals for being for the MWSB are eventually revealed but their growth and connection is a fascinating observation.

What follows is a tale ripe with interesting ideas and perspectives. The game tackles topics like happiness, artificial intelligence, and humans struggles. The action sequences feel like of the anime as well. While these scenes are not animated, the text wisely describes the charged sensations of movement and quick-decision making. Additionally, playing as either Takuma or Nadeshiko reveals its own unique story and events, making multiple play-throughs interesting and a must.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness features multiple endings and plenty of unlockables for those willing to see the complete story. Overall, the game is an engaging crime drama, bolstered by a solid presentation and great voice acting from the Japanese cast.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is fantastic for fans of the anime, and also a solid entry point for those unfamiliar with the series. It’s an engaging story, told very differently from the perspective of each character, provide a unique dynamic in storytelling. The moments of suspense and action and the intriguing questions it asks are interesting as well.

While I would have wanted a bit more control in the story, or more active mini-games to interact with, Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness is a tremendous crime drama worth investigating.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL; DR

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is fantastic for fans of the anime, and also a solid entry point for those unfamiliar with the series. It’s an engaging story, told very differently from the perspective of each character, provide a unique dynamic in storytelling. The moments of suspense and action and the intriguing questions it asks are interesting as well.