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Review: Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness is a visual novel for PS4

30 Sep 16

Usually visual novels are small video games you play on your computer. Well Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness is a full game available on PS4 and PS Vita. 

The game came out last year in Japan for Xbox One, PS4 and PS Vita, and has now been localised for West this year. Only the PS4 and PS Vita versions have been localised for Western customers. 

Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness is not a fully localised video game as it still has the Japanese audio intact with no English voice-overs. This means the game is like the Yakuza series so you will have to read a lot of subtitles in order to understand the game's somewhat complex story. 

In terms of the story, the game is about solving crimes as the main characters are part of an organisation called the "Public Safety Bureau". It's set in Tokyo in the year 2112 and they have a system in place called the "Sibyl". The Sibyl reads people's mental states which is similar to the movie Minority Report. In other words, it uses a probability of how much a person might commit a crime. 

This is pretty much the basis of the story without spoiling it for you. As the player, you may have to investigate many crimes such as a kidnapped young girl and more. There is more to the story, although it's best you experience this for yourself as talking too much about the narrative will ruin it. 

It's not just a linear experience, because there are choices that you have to make during the game. The choices are not as drastic as in games such as Heavy Rain, but they do add a bit of variety to the narrative as a whole. Some of the choices can include walking into a different room, or asking questions.

The "choices" are the only type of real gameplay as all you are really doing is reading the story play out on the screen. The main button you have to press is X in order to read the next bit of dialogue. There's not much else to say about the graphics either as all you see are anime illustrations on the screen and that's about it. 

Visual novels is a weird genre and only a small number of people will enjoy this game. The story is engaging enough to play through, although many people might be put-off that you don't really get to control much. All you are really doing in Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness is just staring at a screen. 

Verdict: 7.0/10

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