Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness – Review
Follow Genre: Visual Novel
Developer: 5Pb
Publisher: NIS America
Platforms: PS4, PS Vita
Tested on: PS Vita

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness – Review

Site Score
Good: Compelling storyline, different story lines
Bad: Density of the decision's description
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness should sound familiar to most anime fans, since the dark anime the game is based upon, has been praised by many. Of course, we all know anime themed games are mostly a hit or miss. Contradictory, this one is not a brawler, but a visual novel, which is rare, yet seems befitting. Through this review, we’ll find out how this all turned out.

Psycho Pass Mandatory Happiness_logo


The game is set in a futuristic Tokyo, in 2112 where crime is almost non-existant. Mainly, because an online system named Sybil is constantly monitoring the mental state of the population to stop them from committing crimes before they happen. The police works as its weapon to enforce the law, just like the present, yet differently. To assist the police, the government gives clemency to convicts who were stopped before they could commit the crime they were planning. They carry the title of enforcer’s and that’s where our main character comes in. That’s right, we’ll be filling the shoes of a convicted felon who becomes a living and breathing weapon. Of course each enforcer will be watched over by an officer, just to make sure they don’t go back to their old ways, while monitoring the overall mental state so it doesn’t deteriorate.

Before starting the game we get to choose from two characters: An enforcer named Takura Tsurugi who has a criminal past, yet a heart of gold, who’s hoping to find his missing childhood friend, or Nadeshiko Kugatachi, a female inspector who lost her memory.  Which ever one we choose out of both, the other will play a big role next to the protagonist. The antagonist we face in this game, is someone named alpha, who claims he wants to make people happy, while making them perform criminal acts. Our main goal will be to stop him, whatever means necessary. We can’t say more since we prefer to avoid spoilers, but what we can say is that it’s extremely compelling.

Games like this, especially in the visual novel format, are all about story value. Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness proves to be no exception of that rule, and honestly that’s how we like it. While companies such as Koei Tecmo often create amusing/great games that are based on anime series, it’s fun to have something that revolves more around the story, rather than the actual action sequences.

Psycho Pass Mandatory Happiness 1


Even though the visuals on PS4 and PS Vita are equal, the art style looks great because of the drawings and backgrounds, which are hand-drawn. These drawing really bring this visual novel to life, and the small added movements create a certain sense of ‘animation’. Overall the developers made sure to stick rather close to the source material, creating a mix between a manga and anime experience as everything is composed out of stills and text, wich goes for the in- game images and the few cut- scenes. Basically, the only on-screen movement are the text and small shifting facial features.


The music in the game is perfectly synched with the game itself, mostly providing the original soundtrack from the anime, combined with some new tracks. Most of the music is atmospheric and is often found on the background, rather than ‘in your face’, which proves to be rather relaxing and entertaining. The voice actors also manage to take the whole to a higher level, since they’re on point and and some of the original actors from the anime are represented in the game. Overall there’s nothing more to say about this portion of the game, as the developers simply did a superb job.

Psycho Pass Mandatory Happiness 2


As expected for a visual novel title, we’ll mostly be looking at still screens, while reading what the characters are saying. Nonetheless, this type of ‘interactive’ movie/comic book does feel rather pleasant in the sea of action packed titles who tend to become a similar blur after playing titles in said genre over and over. While reading through the somewhat gloomy dialogues, we sometimes get to make choices, which have a certain impacting on the story. Not only do these choices direct the flow of the game, albeit moderatly, these choices also have an effect on our mental state, so we should be careful with our answers, so our mental state doesn’t deteriorate. If your mental state drops too much, the officer who looks after you might just turn on you, as you could turn back to a life of crime, which is a big no-no in this strange future that might be slightly reminiscent of the movie ‘Minority Report’.

As just stated above, the choices we make also influences the direction the storyline goes into. When our character strays off the yellow brick road too much, this can result in two options: An early GAME OVER screen, or a totally different storyline. Nonetheless, experimenting is rather fun, even if it means you’ll have to go through a bit of text again if you do happen to make a choice that ends your gaming session a bit early. The only downside about the choices we get, is the little information we get about the decisions we make. There is also different main story line for each of the characters. Since it has a lot of branching paths, we’ll get a lot of replayability for our money’s worth, allowing the player to slightly alter the story, thus get a new experience when desired.

Psycho Pass Mandatory Happiness 3


Reviewing a visual novel is not the easiest job for a reviewer, since the gameplay is entirely different in comparison to other game genres, yet it did the trick. The impact of the choices we made are all important and can turn the game in a totally different direction. The only issue with those choices is the fact that these are way too briefly informed. The dark storyline is one of the most compelling we got to experience, which gave us a surprisingly good time.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.