Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness Review

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Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is a visual novel based on the critically acclaimed cyberpunk anime. The story occurs sometime during the events of season one, which is just as well because most viewers consider series two to be a tad disappointing. I attribute the downturn in quality to a change of writer. For those of you who are unaware, a scribe who is known for gritty science fiction penned Psycho-Pass’ second instalment. The original Psycho-Pass was however written by a lighthearted chap named Gen Urobuchi, whose past works include a puppet show and cute magical girl cartoons. If you are in need of jolly entertainment I recommend checking out Madoka Magica. From the two episodes I have seen it appears to be just like Sailor Moon, but cuter.

OVERVIEW

If you dislike reading Mandatory Happiness is not the game for you. Makes sense given that visual novels are pretty much “choose your own adventure” books that have been enhanced with graphics and audio. I figure it is worth stating the obvious though, because a few months back I saw a website bash Steins;Gate 0 for having too much text. Insert face palm here. Anyways, upon commencing the game players are given the option of experiencing the story from the perspective of two rookie Public Safety Bureau agents. Inspector Nadeshiko (nicknamed Ms. Droid) is an emotionless amnesiac who tackles cases with logic. Enforcer Tsurugi, who is seeking his missing childhood friend, on the other hand uses his heart to decide what is right.

Mandatory Happiness’ plot spans across a total of four chapters. With the assistance of the Psycho-Pass team players will be expected to rescue kidnap victims, locate a rogue AI and tangle with youths who have barricaded themselves inside a school. How each investigation pans out depends on the choices you make. Decisions also affect your character’s mental hue, which is important because the Sybil System monitors the mood of Japan’s populace. Anyone who becomes emotionally unstable, which can occur when dealing with the stresses of law enforcement, runs the risk of being branded a latent criminal and having their freedoms revoked. Thankfully in game you can combat anxiety by taking supplements. In real life I prefer to unwind with booze or a Snickers.

VERDICT

As a fan of the anime I enjoyed my time with Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness. Interacting with the season one cast and solving mysteries was cool. When compared to other visual novels however I have to say that there are better titles out there for the PS4 and Vita. With that in mind I am awarding the game three stars. My first few playthroughs were enjoyable, but unlocking all fourteen endings was a bit of a chore. Unlike other VNs, which have branching storylines, Psycho-Pass’ narrative is more linear than a Final Fantasy XIII level. The choices you make influence what ending you get, a few key scenes and not a lot else. Replaying the game therefore became a ponderous exercise of skipping previously read dialogue until some new content popped up.

One neat thing about Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is that you are in effect getting two games for the price of one. Hidden in the extras menu is a mini-game that awards points, which can be exchanged for bonus artwork. Said puzzler is pretty much Threes/2048, with the only difference being that the numbered tiles display chibi faces of the Psycho-Pass characters. As someone who missed out on the Threes craze it was nice to finally see why so many people find this tile merging brainteaser to be addictive. I doubt that the development team at Sirvo approves of their game being plagiarised in this manner, but its unlikely to harm their finances as the Apps store is already brimming with unsanctioned clones that you can download for Three… um I mean free.

16 thoughts on “Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness Review

    • Well to be fair it is impossible to please the internet critics. If the FF13 dungeons were made up of complex labyrinths some people would demand more straightforward levels because they get lost too easily.

      • FFXIII is too linear, they cried. FFXV is too open world, they continued to whine. You’re so right! No one is ever happy, haha. I just go with what I like and respect everyone else’s preferences.

  1. I like both VNs and Gen Urobuchi, so I should like this. But I’m afraid Persona 5 and Nier: Automata will take up all my remaining free time. Not to mention all the Vocaloid songs I’m blasting on Future Tone and pissing my neighbors off with.

    But I agree – if you want lighthearted, go with Gen Urobuchi. Saya no Uta is a great start!

  2. Sounds great. I wish I had the system to play it.
    Do any of the endings have the alcoholic older dude end up romantically conquering that pretty/leggy young detective chick?
    That would be my alternative ending.

    • The game is coming out on PC in April so you may be able to play it then. Without giving too much away… the game has a bit of romance, but there aren’t any drunkards as Sybil does not approve of alcohol.

  3. A lighthearted chap, huh? His works are definitely full of rainbows and sparkles and puppies.

    I’ve heard of this game, mostly positive things. Will never play it but this was a fun review.

    • I suspect that dog lovers would not approve of Gen writing a series that features puppies. Thanks for commenting. If gaming isn’t your thing you can probably check out Mandatory Happiness’ story via a Youtube Let’s Play.

  4. I mean, it really is cuter than Sailor Moon. I love Psycho-Pass, but I’m not sure if a game format is for me. Glad to see that you didn’t find it bad by any means, though.
    That aside, how dare that scrub bash Steins;Gate 0 for having “too much text.” Isn’t text what makes up these visual novel games?

    • The Steins;Gate 0 review I mentioned got a lot of heat in the comments section and rightly so. Bashing a visual novel for having too much text is like complaining that comedies have too many jokes.

    • Don’t feel too bad. I bought the game on day one too and only recently finished it. Having a gaming backlog isn’t too bad as you have good stuff to play in reserve during quieter periods. Summer for example tends to be a dead zone for new releases.

  5. Lol at your facepalm joke up there :).

    I love reading, but I’m really picky about visual novel games these days. I’m not against a good adventure point and click though. Is this game on PC?

    • The game is currently available to buy on PS4 and Vita. I believe a PC port is due out late in April so maybe it’s worth picking up during a Steam sale. On the Point n Click front I am looking forward to playing the remastered Full Throttle because I had a grand time with Day of the Tentacle.

  6. You know, anyone who dislikes reading probably isn’t going to be pulling up written reviews in the first place. So, how does the game stand up to the series? Does it properly carry along the atmosphere?

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