It’s been over a week now since I tried out PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness. I kept procrastinating writing about it, though, because I tried to tell myself I was going to go back to it. However, I’ve now accepted that, while it absolutely might be a great addition to someone who loves the anime it’s based on, it’s just not really for me, as someone completely unfamiliar with the constructs of the universe.
While you’re not exactly thrown into the middle of a story, the game doesn’t feel like it makes any attempt to introduce the player to the setting. Maybe that’s intentional – the character I chose to play as has a very specific sort of convenient amnesia. She can still function within the world, knows the rules of this society and her job, she just doesn’t remember anything about herself. It didn’t feel like that was any sort of attempt to allow the player to imprint themselves onto the playable character – I think that the protagonist’s story would have resolved on some level in the course of playing through the story. But it’s an odd set-up – if the character isn’t invested in herself, how is the player supposed to care?
I played through the first full chapter. I liked the procedural-ness of the game – making decisions about how to investigate a case with the risk of a wrong choice getting someone killed. But I couldn’t get past feeling detached from the setting. While it seems obvious that the characters would have a full understanding of the society they lived in, and their roles within in (weird-ass amnesia notwithstanding), I would have liked something like a “previously on” to get me up to speed.
Clearly, I’m just not the target market for this particular anime spin-off. It’s just unfortunate because even in my short play time, I could see how this could have come together to make it more enjoyable for newcomers. I have a soft spot for almost all media that revolves around solving a mystery, but I couldn’t chew my way through so much weirdness to get to the meat of this one.