Do you miss Kougami and the rest of the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division? The movie ain’t enough to satisfy your cravings? Worry not since there will be another installment to the Psycho-Pass series—in the form of a game, that is.Psycho-Pass, the popular and critically-acclaimed cyberpunk anime of 2012, is going to come back for fans and to people new to the series as Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness, a PC game that is going to be released via Steam on April 27th. And if you’re a fan of the anime and you haven’t played the PS4 and Vita versions before, you should definitely check this out!
The series is set in the 22nd century Japan where everything is hi-tech and the country is governed by the Sibyl System, a powerful network of psychometric scanners (if you can treat a group of brains as scanners) that measures and quantifies a person’s mental state and disposition by using a cymatic scan of the brain. A person’s mental state is then categorized into several “hues,” which is recorded into a person’s “Psycho-Pass.”
Enforcers use a dominator, a special weapon that only activates when aimed at people who are considered latent criminals. Since enforcers are also considered as latent criminals, they are usually supervised by inspectors, who act as their superiors and have the right to shoot them with the dominator should an enforcer pose a threat to the public.
Set somewhere in the middle of the events in the first twelve episodes of Season 1, Mandatory Happiness deals with Alpha, the game’s antagonist who is currently sowing chaos in a certain man-made island. Unlike Makishima Shougo or other antagonists that appeared in the anime, Alpha is unbelievably innocent, albeit a bit twisted when it comes to his judgment. His main goal is to bring happiness to people, and being a genius hacker himself, he outsmarts the Sibyl System and tries to help people who are close to becoming latent criminals by letting them achieve their hearts’ desire.
Although Akane Tsunemori and Shinya Kougami are the anime’s protagonists, they will become side characters this time around since the game will focus on you, the player, who controls one of two characters: Inspector Nadeshiko Kugatachi, a somewhat emotionless woman who suffers from amnesia, and Enforcer Takuma Tsurugi, a man who wears his emotions on his sleeve and is searching for his lost lover.
The main theme of the game is the true definition of happiness, and it is indeed apparent throughout the duration of the game. Confused with the results of his actions, Alpha becomes more and more confused about the true meaning of happiness and he tries to find ways in order to bring it to people.
Mandatory Happiness is a visual novel game, so there aren’t any minigames except for that one optional mini puzzle game. Most of the game is spent watching the story unfold through sprites voiced by their original Japanese voice cast. If you’re a fan of Sakurai Takahiro and you miss his rendition of Makishima Shougo’s voice, you’re in for a disappointment because Makishima won’t even show up at all.
Another thing that’s worth noting in is that the writer for this game is no other than Gen Urobuchi of the Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero fame, who also wrote the anime’s first season and its movie. True to Urobuchi’s style, the game tackles several individual cases that eventually end up being interrelated with each other.And of course, true to his moniker, the Urobutcher, people who have already played the game said that there are things that might make you a bit disturbed—but to be honest, as long as it doesn’t come close to the disaster that is Season 2, you’ll end up loving this game.