PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness is based on the popular anime series of the same name, but this engrossing visual novel isn’t afraid to carve out its own path. It features a very memorable setting, interesting characters and plenty of content to explore. The story is a little darker than most visual novels on Steam, which is a good thing and familiarity with the anime series isn’t required to enjoy this title. Any fans of the genre looking for something that will keep them busy for a while should definitely add PSYCHO-PASS to their collection.

Gameplay: Features an engrossing storyline, two protagonists, a branching storyline and plenty of different endings.

Graphics: Great character designs and backgrounds, but not much in the way of animations.

Sound: Full voice acting for all the characters and some nice background music too

Summary 9.0 Outstanding
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness

Developer: MAGES. Inc. , 5pb. | Publisher: NIS America, Inc. | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Adventure / Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

For a game with the subtitle “Mandatory Happiness” it should probably not come as a surprise that it isn’t set in a very happy world. However, happiness is central to the gameworld and indeed the plot as everyone is constantly monitored and dire consequences await those who find their moods getting too dark. The Sibyl System pretty much runs the show and uses the Psycho-Pass technology to read the “hues” of everyone. Those with unfavorable hues can find themselves marked as latent criminals and things only get worse from there. Of course, somebody has to do the dirty job of enforcing the punishments meted out by this system and this is where the Public Safety Bureau comes into play. Consisting of Enforcers and Inspectors, it is their responsibility to track down people who are veering too close to unacceptable crime coefficients and take care of them. All of this will probably sound very familiar to those who watched the 2012 anime series of the same name on which this visual novel is based.

Mandatory Happiness was originally released as an Xbox One title in Japan before receiving PS4 and Vita versions. It took a little while, but now PC owners can also experience this great title. The game presents players with two different characters to choose from, Inspector Nadeshiko Kagatachi and Enforcer Takuma Tsurugi. Neither of them appeared in the anime, but they are both memorable characters with their own inner demons to battle. Nedeshiko is a capable, but troubled woman who cannot remember her past, and her personality causes some of her co-workers to liken her more to a droid than a human. Takumma on the other hand became a latent criminal when the love of his life disappeared. His future seemed bleak until he was enlisted by the Public Safety Bureau who make use of people with high crime coefficients as they are better able to understand criminals. The duo quickly finds themselves up against a mysterious opponent, called Alpha, who appears to be hell-bent on spreading happiness amongst the population by any means necessary. As Alpha’s actions become increasingly deranged, the Bureau has to pull out all stops to uncover what is really going on and put an end to the madness before their own hues are irrevocably tainted. As far as storylines go, this one is pretty gripping and kept us engrossed all the way through.

In addition to being able to see the story unfold from different perspectives, depending on who you choose as the protagonist, the game also presents you with a series of choices throughout the story. These choices can make the story branch and ultimately lead you to one of the many endings in the game.

This adds a lot of replay value to an already lengthy game, so anyone who wants to see everything it has to offer should be prepared to put in some time. Although we weren’t’ familiar with the original anime, we had no trouble following the story in the game. The game does use a lot of unfamiliar terms, but thanks to a handy “tips” section which serves as a dictionary you can refresh your memory or check out their meanings at any time. About the only criticism about the story is that it features some overly obvious foreshadowing, but this doesn’t detract from the experience too much. We really like the fact that your character’s hue plays an important role in the story and neglecting to do something to improve it when offered the opportunity can alter the way things play out.

In terms of visuals PSYCHO-PASS features a resolution of 1920×1080, which is quite welcome compared to what we usually get from visual novels. The game can be played in full screen or windowed mode and has some very nice artwork. The characters all look unique and there are tons of locations, all with detailed backgrounds. Unfortunately, there is little in the way of animations apart from blinking and moving mouths, but some great CGs make up for this. There are times when certain scenes could have benefited from accompanying artwork, but unfortunately the budget for the game clearly didn’t stretch far enough to allow for this. Interestingly enough, the game has some art, voice overs and scenes that can be unlocked from the “Extra” menu on the title, but these have to be bought using currency earned playing a bonus mini-game. The mini-game is quite addictive though, so this never felt like a chore. The interface for the game is straightforward enough, but pay attention to the “Help” screen in the config menu to see the keyboard shortcuts as these are not immediately obvious.

All of the characters in PSYCHO-PASS are voiced in Japanese and the overall quality of the audio is very good. The soundtrack is mostly mellow, but there are also a couple of tracks that are a bit faster for when the action ramps up. Everything from the background music to sound effects and individual voices can be adjusted separately, which is always a welcome feature in a visual novel.

There are a lot of visual novels currently on Steam that deal with whimsical or lighthearted topics, so it is refreshing to play a title that has more of an edge. From what we can tell PSYCHO-PASS is not quite as dark or disturbing as its anime counterpart, though, which is bound to disappoint some fans of the series. However, it is still a very enjoyable title and made a big enough impression on us that we went on to seek out the anime to watch. As such, we can heartily recommend it to fans of the genre looking for a title that has a bit more substance and content than what can usually be found on Steam.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10
  • Processor: Core i3 (Haswell)
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Graphics: VRAM 2GB (or Intel HD Graphics 4000)
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound
  • Additional Notes: Runs best on Skylake or better processors
  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10
  • Processor: Core i3 (Skylake)
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Graphics: VRAM 2GB (or Intel HD Graphics 4000)
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound

Related posts

eden*

eden*

Although it might be set during the last days of a dying planet, Eden* is more about the personal struggles of its interesting cast. The story is wonderfully engaging though and definitely doesn’t pull any punches. Coupled with the amazing artwork and wonderful soundtrack this is a must for fans of the genre. Minori has a great track record when it comes to visual novels and Eden* is definitely amongst their finest. Gameplay: It is a kinetic novel, so there is no interaction or branching storyline, but the plot is engaging and heartfelt. Graphics: The visuals are outstanding despite the age of the game and features plenty of cinematic style illustrations. Sound: The Japanese voice actors do a great job and the soundtrack is incredible.

The Last Tinker™: City of Colors

The Last Tinker™: City of Colors

If you remember the golden era of 3D adventure titles such as Zelda, Jak and Daxter and Banjo Kazooie then The Last Tinker is a must. It doesn't copy these games directly, as is evident by the lack of a jump button, but it does a great job capturing the feel and atmosphere of the titles that inspired it. The colorful and vibrant gameworld is a joy to explore and the puzzles involving colors as well as strange Mushroom people are loads of fun. Gameplay: Perfectly captures the look and feel of the 3D adventures of the Playstation and PS2 era. Graphics: Colorful visuals with some great character designs. Sound: An exotic soundtrack with plenty of memorable tunes.

Pixel Puzzles: Japan

Pixel Puzzles: Japan

Pixel Puzzles: Japan offers an interesting twist on the traditional Jigsaw puzzle without the hassle of finding out that you are missing pieces. Things start off very calm but as the pieces multiply the challenge increases considerably. The constantly moving puzzle pieces also make it tricky, but there is no time limit to worry about. About the only annoyance is that you cannot save your progress during a puzzle. Gameplay: Calm and relaxing, but can become quite challenging as well. Graphics: Nothing particularly outstanding but decent enough. Sound: Calm music and the soothing sounds of a Shishi-odoshi (which can be disabled.)

Unrest

Unrest

If you value interesting dialogue and moral choices more than loot gathering and monster slaying then you will enjoy Unrest. The game dares to do things a bit differently and for the most it works quite well. The lack of puzzles or any real combat means that the pace of the game is very slow, but just like a good book you will want to know what is going to happen next once you are hooked. Gameplay: The focus is very much on the story, so action junkies might become bored of all the reading. Graphics: The hand-painted visuals give the game an unique look. Sound: Outstanding tunes, but no speech.

Beat Da Beat

Beat Da Beat

Blast away aliens that move and attack to the beat of some great Dubstep tracks in this addictive bullet hell shooter. The game is no walk in the park and with four difficulty settings as well as ten ships to unlock it will keep you busy for a while. Being a fan of EDM obviously helps, but the charming pixel art style visuals and relentless action is what kept us coming back for more. Gameplay: As simple as dodging bullets and grabbing coins. Graphics: Retina searing colors and flashes, but very nice overall. Sound: Your personal music taste will determine whether you like the Dubstep soundtrack or not.

Wooden Sen’SeY

Wooden Sen'SeY

Wooden Sen'SeY is perfect for gamers looking for an old school platform challenge but prefer modern visuals. With nine unique and varied levels as well as an addictive Time Attack mode, there is a lot to like about Wooden Sen'SeY. It can all be over a bit soon if you rush the game, but completionists will be busy for ages. Gameplay: Old school platform action at its best. Graphics: Beautiful and varied. Sound: Very fitting tunes for each level.

Leave a comment

1 × 1 =