Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is another game brought from the Anime world, an Anime that has again recently caught my attention. Previously the same happened when Attack on Titan came to the gaming world so it would have been rude of me not to indulge on this title and give you my thoughts. Psycho-Pass is set in Japan in the year 2112 where citizens are monitored for their mental state, personality and likeliness of committing crimes in their life (Very Minority Report feel, just better). The series follows the inspectors of the CID (Criminal Investigation Division) and their enforcers who are latent criminals used to get the job done. People are kept under surveillance through a cymatic scan (Psycho-Pass) this displays a Crime Coefficient or Hue, details of how the individual’s Psycho-Pass changed over time and when a person is found to be a risk the inspectors and their enforcers are sent to the scene to apprehend the target for treatment before they become unstable and need to be put down permanently. This is a really interesting series and will have you thinking a lot about humanity and choices that are made “to protect people”. I would strongly advise watching the Anime before venturing into this title to get a better grasp of the world, story and characters as the game follows the timeline of the first series and there will be spoilers and cameos galore.
Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is not your normal game but an interactive visual novel which focuses a lot more on reading and making choices than actual gameplay. This was my first time stepping into a game like this but it has been put together very well by 5PB who also brought you Steins Gate. It felt like I was right back in the Anime, the same amount of reading but with that extra level of interaction. You are given the choice at the start of the game between one of two characters. Inspector Nadeshiko Kugatachi, a mysterious almost robot like women who has lost most of her memories or Enforcer Takuma Tsurugi, who is trying to find his lost love. Both characters are new recruits at Unit One of Public Safety Bureau but on opposite ends of the scale. The main story is unique to the game and runs along side the first eight episodes of the series one of the Anime which as you would expect means fans will recognise many characters already (Another reason to watch it first!).
Your main mission in the game is to track down a rogue medical cyborg known as Alpha who has been programmed to bring happiness to people, this sounds like something that surely could have no bad results? Well, you would be wrong. Imagine if someone’s happiness was brought through theft, violence or even murder. This is what has really interested me in this series, the fact that the game will test you just like the anime and have you second guessing what is actually right and wrong at times. Are your actions pushing someone to become more unstable, could a decision cause say a witness to start to lose control and then become another target for the Inspectors? Everything about Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is down to the choices you make and where they will lead. You are also not immune to the world around you and the choices that you make through the game can affect your HUE and have the enforcers coming after you instead. this can be combated through therapy or by taking a supplement to ease your mental state.
This game truly compliments the series in every way. The artwork is amazing and will have you feeling like you are just watching more of the Anime with the addition of voice acting (f like me the English Dubbing will be what you are used to). You will find yourself deeply involved with the plot and be considering how each choice will affect the progression of the story and your HUE while trying to think like an officer of the law but also keeping your humanity about you. Nothing brings life to a game like the narrative and this has been perfectly done. I for one will be looking into a few more interactive gaming novels from playing this. This is not a long game with chapters that can be completed within a couple of hours which still feels like enough. So get ready to indulge in a world where everything you are and know is monitored, will you come out the other side or find yourself a target of you team mates? Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and coming to Steam in 2017.