PS4, PS Vita
September 23, 2016
Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is the graphic novel adaptation of the highly successful Psycho-Pass anime. A dystopia disguised in a euphoric veil, the world of Tokyo in 2022 is controlled by the Sibyl System, an intelligent AI that determines almost every element to your life; where you will go to school, what sort of job you will have, how you will raise your children and even how to live your life in order to achieve happiness. In Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness you will learn the sinister truth behind the Sibyl system, and just how flawed it really is when it comes to passing judgement on its citizens.
The Sibyl System keeps a watchful eye over your psychological state in the form of a coloured hue (the darker/ cloudier it gets, the more likely it is you require some form of treatment) and most importantly to this title, your crime co-efficient, which determines how likely you are to commit crime based upon your psychological state. These two factors are displayed in what is known as your Psycho-Pass. What this system takes away from society is their free will, the ability to self-govern critical elements of their lives that would otherwise result in individual variation. The only people that have a sliver of self-control are the Investigators and Enforcers (latent criminals who have been judged by Sibyl) that maintain the system, though this is fleeting at best.
“The first benchmark of any graphic novel game is the quality of the writing, and I am happy to report that Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness doesn’t disappoint.”
The first benchmark of any graphic novel game is the quality of the writing, and I am happy to report that Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness doesn’t disappoint. The game brings a new depth to the futuristic world the protagonists live in throughout both storyline arcs which is a difficult thing to pull off at the best of times. There is an incredibly comprehensive glossary of terms available to you in the ‘Tips’ section of the main menu, which updates automatically as you unlock new information. I liked the detective term for this feature, it helped to maintain immersion.
The second benchmark for this title, for me at least, are the decisions you are presented with. Whether you play as Nadeshiko or Takuma, you are faced with recurring choices such as:
- Whether to take supplements and clear your hue, or reject them and deal with your psychological state yourself
- What evidence to focus on during the course of your investigations, leading to a variety of outcomes as you progress
- How to work (or not) with your colleagues at the CID (Criminal Investigation Division). Who to trust. Who to undermine. Who to manipulate to achieve your desired outcomes.
- How to process the ideals of the world you are responsible for administering, where true happiness is mandatory, but seemingly unachievable.
I loved how the new characters are seamlessly integrated into the characters established in the first season of the anime. Old school favourites have also been faithfully reproduced which lends credibility to the game.
Possibly the best part about playing Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is just how different the experience is. You can kick back, relax on the couch and treat it almost like a movie with the auto play function built into the game. You can adjust the speed of the text to allow you to take it in on your own terms and interact when decisions are required (you don’t have to constantly be holding the controller). There are no flashy combat scenes, meaning that this game is purely a mental exercise that will test your values and judgement, which really appeals to me as a gamer.
- Well written script
- Knowledge of the anime not required to do well
- Text heavy with little reprieve
- Fairly predictable cause and effect
Given the amount of information that this game gives you, you really don’t have to watch the anime to get into it, even though I would highly suggest that you do to see just why the anime is considered visionary (Both the original and extended cut are currently on AnimeLab).
If there is a drawback to the game it’s that the dynamic side of the anime isn’t there. I personally would have liked to see some cutscenes in amongst the large amount of text you are required to read, however, this isn’t something this genre typically lends itself to so I can be a little forgiving.
Given the rather small amount of gameplay (especially if you are a single play through kind of person) I also don’t know if I agree with the price. Having said that, I did binge play this game and it kept me hooked, so I would recommend checking it out.