In this post I’m going to be reviewing Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness for the PS4.
I watched Psycho-Pass earlier this year and I was gripped. I was super interested in the world they were creating and how it would all end up. The end of the first series was okay but I didn’t feel the urge to watch the second series. When I saw the trailer for Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness the game, I was more worried than excited. The trailer showed only clips from the show and what seemed to be still images, menus and dialogue sections of the game. After doing some more research though, I realised this game was a visual novel. I have never played a visual novel before, but it seemed like it would be kinda like a digital choose-your0own adventure book with cut scenes.
… but let’s actually get into the gameplay
So the gameplay here is pretty much non-existent. You read and listen and once in a while you get to make a choice. You can look up any words you don’t understand in a glossary that basically explains things in this universe as someone tells you about them. The game is mostly watching static images, listening to them speak, or skipping through the story as you read the text. You read descriptive text about your character’s thoughts and feelings, you read descriptive text regarding any actions you take and you even read descriptive text when theres a fight occurring. I mean, there’s not one cut scene throughout this whole game – it’s just a bunch of static images. Now and again, the characters’ mouths move and their eyes blink but theres nothing captivating here at all, it’s more entertaining to read a comic or manga, as you actually see action occurring. At one point in the game, you get into a fight and the screen just goes blank while text describes everything. After every strike you see a flash in the darkness and then you’re given more text to describe what just happened.
Seeing as this is a visual novel, the story is the main course here. Let’s talk about that…
When I began the story I was excited. You have the choice between a female inspector with amnesia and a male enforcer looking for his childhood friend that went missing. I chose the female inspector as she was described as cold and logical. I also chose her because she was an inspector and I thought that would give me more opportunities to make choices than being an enforcer. Whether that was right or wrong I’ll never know because I won’t ever be playing through this game again. I don’t wanna spoil the story for you as this game is pretty much only that. It took me more than an hour before I was given the opportunity to make a choice, that’s just ridiculous. My excitement for the story quickly wore off as I became bored of reading and reading and reading this mediocre story. The main antagonist was wack, the cases I investigated were mediocre and I just became bored. There’s a twist that came later in the story that I saw coming from a mile away. It was just shoved down my throat with no subtlety whatsoever, it’s like you’d have to be brain dead to not figure it out. However, I finished with a bad ending, so I didn’t even get to see the whole twist come into fruition so hey, I might be wrong. That’s another thing, there are multiple endings and paths you can go down through your choices. However, the game became so boring that I don’t want to play through again and try to see other endings at all.
There are also some unnatural translations and typos, which is annoying in a game that consists of pretty much only reading but it only happened a couple of times and didn’t really hurt the game. They do however have the voice actors from the anime in this, but I wouldn’t know because I watched the dubbed version.
There was one extra mode included, which basically allows you to earn points by playing a mediocre mini game in order to buy concept art and voice lines. This is more of a game than the main game but there was no point to it, I didn’t care about concept art or voice lines, this added almost nothing to the experience.
Is it worth the price?
This game is a fully priced game, at £49.99 on Amazon. Did i have fun playing this game? No. Would I suggest it to any of my friends? No.
In terms of hours of play, I think I got about 6 – 8 hours of this game. 2 of those hours were full of wishful thinking and through the rest of those hours I just wanted the story to hurry up and finish so I could review it.
So I’ve got to say, this game is not worth the price. If it was £20 and you were into visual novels or you loved the Psycho-Pass series, then I’d say okay get it. But at 49.99, you’re better off just watching the anime or reading the manga. The anime is leaps and bounds better than this game to be honest.
How To Make It Better
After some thinking, I decided to add a new section to my review. Usually I’d end it after telling you if the game is worth the price or not, but I want to share my thoughts on how these games that aren’t worth the price could be better.
So Psycho-Pass got boring because it was a whole lot of reading and looking at static images. If it was full of cutscenes instead this game would have been miles better. I would have much more enjoyed to sit back and watch a super long cutscene and then make a few choices that would change the course of the story.
Talking about choices, that’s something this game severely lacks. I was interested to see how things would play out in the beginning of the story but the pacing for the choices are so bad and the number of them is so minuscule that I quickly became tired of waiting through hours of reading to make a choice. If there were way more choices in this game, it would have been much more interesting. You should be making a choice within the first 15 minutes in my opinion, a choice every 10 minutes would’ve made this game much better.