Steins;Gate 0 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed visual novel, Steins;Gate, that was released in 2009. Developed by 5pb and Nitroplus, and published by 5pb and PQube, this sub-sequel game puts players back in the heart of a science-fiction story of world line traveling and rescuing of a loved one (more or less). The story picks up at the end of the first one, and follows Rintaro Okabe as he now progresses through the Beta World Line to change what he feels is forever unchangeable; the death of his true love Makise Kurisu. If you haven't played the first one, be aware that playing this one will spoil it for you (and so might this review).
The opening scene depicts Okabe returning from his past attempts, strung out mentally, and borderline psychotic from the tolls it took on him. Claiming he couldn't save his Kurisu, nonetheless try again and witness another failed attempt, he feels as though he must finally give up. Being told by the others that the calculations for the traveling was slightly off, and that he actually has enough power to travel again, it sparks controversy and debate if he should even be enduring so much pain and suffering. As to avoid giving too much away; Players will see that Okabe meets a new character, Maho Hiyajo, an extremely young looking scientist who will eventually introduce him to the Amadeus project (a form of artificial intelligence that captures the memories of Kurisu, and presents an interacting form that both looks and sounds like her).
As a visual novel, you should already have a good idea how the gameplay works, or lack thereof (not in a bad way). You'll be doing a lot of reading, and a lot of piecing together your own story through the choices you make. There's multiple endings for you to find, meaning you'll find a lot of value in regards to both your purchase and your experience. Each one takes a major turn or carries with it a major plot twist just as they did in the original, so it's worth exploring each one in time. Where it takes the major branches is when you deal with your phone and the A.I. program Amadeus. Similar to the phone trigger in the original one, this title's unique gameplay with the phone is known as the RINE trigger. Players will communicate with the in-game characters in real time, being able to respond or ignore as desired. You won't have to stress about missing a potentially important notification as the game does a great job letting you know when you recieve something significant.
Presentation and Performance
The graphics in the game are really pleasing to look at but a little different from some other visual novels. It takes more of mature and neutral style to it, rather than the sharp, crisp, and brightly colored ones of some other titles like Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness or Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters. It comes down to personal preference regarding the visuals but in my opinion, everything looked amazing and extremely detailed. The characters are unique in each of their appearances; Maho Hiyajo looks like the controversially young girl that everyone judges her to be upon first meeting, Itaru Hashida is present again with his oversized stature, and Kurisu Makise carries a smart yet zombie-like personality.
At times in the game you'll get to see things unfold from the other character's perspectives, creating diversity outside of Rintaro's. Each scene and environment was depicted with a lot of elegance and attention to detail, and the music chosen to set the backdrop tone of it all was as nice of a match as you could hope for. Even in discussions that felt really dragged out, you could count on it to stay nice to observe and listen. And noteworthy in itself, I experienced no technical issues during my play through of the title.
I loved my adventure through Steins;Gate 0, and highly recommend others to look more into the opportunity to explore its deep and meaningful story. The action found within is somewhat limited, especially in the beginning, but eventually picks up. If you're looking for something fast paced and a little chaotic in regards to a visual novel, this may not scratch any itches for you, but as a mature and highly character involved plot, this is second to none. You'll feel empathy for Rintaro, you'll love many of the side characters, and those characters that you may dislike, you'll have fun disliking them. The voice acting, while not dubbed in english, is filled with all of the appropriate emotions that you would expect from the characters based on their translated dialog. Like many visual novels, one of the funnest parts is diving into the branching story lines, and Steins;Gate 0 delivers on them all.
|+ Incredibly well written story with multiple endings||– Gameplay mechanics are a little lacking in diversity|
|+ Deep and interesting character's||– A few slow story moments|
|+ Clean and attractive graphics|