- Manufacturer: 5pb
- Publisher: 5pb
- Genre: Visual Novel
- Release Date: 16/9/16
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows
- Game Supplied by: NIS America
- Two new detectives have been assigned to the MWPSB Criminal Investigation Department Division 1. You play as one of these two detectives, either the female Nadeshiko Kugatachi, who is an Inspector whose memories have been wiped, or Takuma Tsurugi, an Enforcer who is searching for his missing childhood friend.
Technological developments now allow the mental state and disposition of the populace, to be quantified for public welfare, through the government managed central computer server called the Sibyl System. This system measures your emotions and thoughts and gives you a Psycho Pass reading when scanned via public scanners or the police weapons called “ Dominators “. If a person’s stress level reaches a critical point then they are deemed to be latent criminals and the law is then “enforced” by the police enforcers, with their dominators. The dominators, linked to the central Sibyl System, determine if a person should be killed or simply drugged.
Enforcers used to be latent criminals themselves, whose crime coefficient has already been clouded but the police believe to catch the criminals you have to think like one, hence the select few Enforcers. To control these enforcers are the detectives, in charge of a team of enforcers.
So as this game starts, you are literally dropped right into your first case of a missing school girl, and your journey begins.
The game itself is based on the 2012 Anime series and although it’s helpful to have watched that before playing the game, it’s by no means a must, as the game explains itself very well. Being used to the characters though from the anime, has helped me in certain situations however.
If you are unsure about the genre of VN ( Visual Novels ) just think a book with a small smattering of interactions at crucial decision points. It’s true that these types of games are a complete departure from what most gamers would call gaming, but it’s simply storytelling on a console in a different slightly interactive form. Many hours playing this game will simply be reading text, and pressing the X button to move the text along when read.
The graphics are superb as the characters are represented exactly like you would see them in the anime, but set pieces are nothing more than a still of the area you’re in. The text you read on the Vita screen was very small, and at times too small, even for someone like me who has superb vision. Unfortunately is no english voice overs, it’s just the original japanese with english subtitles.
However to keep things flowing the backing soundtracks were excellent, and even though i couldn’t understand Japanese, I thought the voice acting was of excellent quality too. The actors put a lot of emotions, and effort in their lines, for their characters no matter what language you speak.
So with very limited interaction and gameplay, and superb artwork but very limited graphics, basic audio and not much else, the meat and potatoes of this game boils down, simply, does this game have a good story?
Indeed it does. Although i am only around 7 hours into the game, I still feel that there is plenty of hours left to go before i come to understand the bigger picture of the crimes being committed and all the nuances of the characters personalities to come through. For example, detective Kugatachi, keeps complaining of tightening chest pains and headaches when she recognizes someone as though she has met them before. This is obviously a story thread that will reveal itself later.
Also to describe the plot would also basically spoil the game for anyone interested as it is a book of sorts. All i can say is that in the first two cases i’ve gone through in about 6 hours of gameplay a common theme is appearing of some of the worst social disorders being committed, while a mysterious other “agent” is somehow trying to make these on the edge people “happy”. However in the process of trying to make these people happy, they are actually committing quite heinous crimes!
It’s a complex but utterly captivating story that is compelling me to keep playing/reading night after night, which therefore, to me at least, is the sign of an extremely well written, well paced ( if a bit slow ) story. That is the essence of what this game wanted to achieve, to hook the gamer into a good story to keep playing, and by thunder it’s doing that. So much so even when i’m not playing the game i’m still thinking about what is happening, or going to happen whilst away from my Vita.
In my first playthrough, so far, I’m unsure if the decisions I made would have changed the outcome of the first two cases, but the choices I did have to make for some very awkward situations were pretty heart wrenching ones at that, and the stress and tension I felt from playing a game was most certainly real.
This sort of game is not about graphics or gameplay it’s all about presentation and story, for which Psycho-pass excels at. Is it a stunning game? Only completing the very long story and the own readers perception will answer that, but for me yes it is.
I played the VN game Steins; Gate and would crown that game and story as one of video’s games most stunning achievement to storytelling ever. I’m not convinced Psycho Pass will be as good as that, but then it took me 15 hours to really get into Steins gate before it took off, and I’m still only around 6 to 7 hours into this one. However, Psycho Pass is slowly building momentum and if it’s anything like the incredible story telling of the anime series Psycho Pass, then yes this is one story you will have to experience for yourself.
Lastly, as well as having already watched the first series of Psycho Pass, with the second series recently aired, this game, and later this year, the release of the first Psycho Pass film, now is a great time to get on the Psycho Pass train and discover one of the best recent Anime series.