Steins;Gate ReviewWritten on September 15th, 2017 by waterflame
Back when I first experienced Steins;Gate I told myself I’d review it at some point for the hope of even allowing one other person to also be able to enjoy such a masterful tale. Though it has been a few years or so I feel it’s finally time for that review… sit back, relax, get your Juicy Chicken number 1 ready, and let’s get on with the review.
So a brief history of Steins;Gate, with it first releasing on the xbox360 in 2009 and then later being ported to the PC(2010), PSP(2011), iOS(horrible port, 2011), PS3(2012), Vita(2013), Android(horrible port, 2013), and PS4(2015) - you could say it’s been around the block being on most major platforms. Of course weirdly enough the English release matches up ony messing the Xbox360, and PS4 version. But I’m sure you didn’t come here for the history of the game… You want to know about the story and the sort right? Well let’s get into that. (As a side note, if it matters, I recently replayed the game on the Vita after originally playing it on PC, thanks again PQube for bring over the Vita port.)
Steins;Gate is a story based around a
college student named Okabe Rintarou mad scientist named Hououin Kyouma, who accidentally invents time travel in his appartment lab. Though this isn’t your normal all around time machine… no this time machine can send text messages to the past!
A common problem some people seem to come across in the first part of the story is the slow build-up to when the domino tower comes crashing down. You see, when this first happens it’s because something odd happens with what they’re trying to do. You see, what they have(as Hououin isn’t alone in his adventures, more on this later) done is set up a microwave that can be controlled via phone call. Though something weird happens when you instead of typing “#120”(two minutes) they by mistake type “120#”… causing the machine to spine in reverse… some how causing it to freeze the food inside. Though that’s not the only problem… when they retry this with some banana’s(originally it happened with
chicken nuggets Juicy Chicken Number 1) something even stranger happens… they don’t freeze… but have turned completely to gel… what causes this strange behavior?
Now through the first part and leading into the later half, this game actually has a lot of depth you might not notice on a first playthrough. Hell, even the first episode of the anime has a lot of things happening to point out and dissect… but this review isn’t about the anime(maybe I’ll do one comparing the two later?). So back on topic, throughout playing through the quite complex story there is also a complex world is built(oh boy do I love me some world building). I feel this is where the game actually shines. You see, a lot of stories these days have featured time travel(or is “transported to another world” the new thing?) but most of them though maybe cool, have fallen apart at this. Most establish something only to later break it for some reason or another forming plot holes. I feel Steins;Gate does well in this department by establishing something and then sticking to it. Though it can get kind of complex at times… I felt(and for the most part I feel the community would agree) that it holds together throughout the game.
So at this point you’re probably asking yourself, “So that’s cool and all, it’s about time travel… but will it really hook me?”, now maybe that’s not what you said(I can’t read minds) but either way let’s get more into the plot of things. On a more basic level, the story is about Hououin who is trying to best fate. He made a mistake altering time as we know it(without even knowing it… heh) and now he’s trying to fight back and restore things to how they were. The problem is… with what he finds out will he be able to return the world to what it was or leave as what it’s become? Life rests in his hands, you see. In this story the theory behind time travel used within the game is from what I can tell a mixture of different theories/ideas, so even though there is technically a tons of univers(world lines) only one is active at any given time(so when something changes the universe changes to reflect the change). These world lines are grouped into multiple fields(alpha, 0.0 to 0.9; beta, 1.0 to 1.9; Gama , 2.0 to 2.9; etc…) as well as being clustered into convergence points where every line in that cluster have some type of key event that will happen, for example, maybe someone dying. Maybe the smallest of events ending the world?
So the choice system in Steins;Gate is a little unique. All interactions with the game are done through Hououin’s phone. Be it calling someone or replying to a text(or not replying) it can add additional scenes or conversations(some of which I wish were not choice locked as they really add something) or even change the ending you’ll get. Which speaking of endings the different endings are certainly not simple tweaked endings. They can be pretty drastic changes. Another thing is they aren’t short… Endings can be an hour or more in length. I really enjoy this system, it also gives me great joy to imagine being in the middle of conversation with someone and just flipping my phone up. Sadly it doesn’t happen but I like to imagine they’re like “Did you just open your phone when we were talking about
So we’ve talked about the story and about mechanics, let’s talk about the characters. At first if you were to see the cast you may see them as just cookie cutter characters… But you’d be wrong, though some seem to be built off archetypes, they are way more, enough so they even over shadow Hououin at times. This alone breaths life into the world as not only do you get to have conversations with them throughout the story but you can even talk to them through text messages and learn more about them. We have Faris the fun loving girl who may even be able to surpass Hououin in how imaginative she can be, she also runs a maid cafe near Hououin’s lab. There is Daru the right hand man of Hououin and world renowned supa hacka (It’s “super hacker” not “supa hacka”…-Daru). Mayuri the ditzy but possibly actually smarter one who her time at the lab making cosplay and working at Faris’ cafe. Kurisu, Hououin’s (self proclaimed) assistant and the fork to Houoin’s spoon(aka the straight man). Suzuha the part-timer who works at the CRT shop below Houoin’s apartment who is searching for her father. Mr Braun’s the CRT shop owner and Houoin’s landlord. Last but not least Luka a male friend of Hououin who works at his father’s shrine and is normally confused for a girl.
Now I know from the one to two sentences brief(if that) descriptions of them they may sound indeed very cookie cutter, but as you go through the story(and possibly extra scenes and dialogue triggered via text) you come to understand there is more than meets the eye(Transformers, more than meets the eye).
So as we’ve come to the conclusion of this review… first I want to thank you for reading this far, it really means something to me(or you’re just a masochist, even then still thanks). Though I might be bad at it, I still enjoyed writing these(maybe I’ll even post my stories if I want already black material to use against me). I’d also like to briefly talk to anyone reading this and having only watched the anime. If you are wondering if you should play the VN… You should. Even though the anime did an awesome job adapting the VN… It still had to cut stuff. So not only are you missing the extra content(endings, scenes, and character dialogue(like through text or calls) but you’re also missing Hououin. Now I know what you might be thinking… yes I’m crazy but in this case I’m kind of right… though the anime surely does include some it is no where close to what the visual novel has with Hououin’s inner thoughts. I feel that even that alone is enough to add a whole new layer to the story and his character.
So you want to play… But how? Well there are quite a few options for you, so I’ll just list some basic ones(since you can buy this pretty much anywhere).
Please note: All versions use or are based off the JAST translation.
- PC(Steam) Currently on sale till the 18th!!
- Steam cards
- Steam Achievements(JAST version does have achievements of it’s own)
- Higher resolution
- To bring it more close to the JAST release I suggest using the fan patch. This fixes things such as you know… adding word warping(kind of important) - http://sonome.dareno.me/projects/sghd.html.
- No DRM
- No need for a patch
- Package version - http://www.jlist.com/p/sg001
- Vita(PQube) / PS3(PQube)