Marvelous storytelling with unique art
Steins Gate is a game developed by 5pb and Nitroplus – Japanese development companies. Here is a game which should be essentially classified as a “pure visual novel” – as in there is practically no gameplay involved compared to other standard adventure games. Time travel is the heart of the story line in Steins Gate with a lot of real-life scientific theory involved in the plot. Story and characterization is the primary focus in this visual novel and what it does for the visual novel medium, it does quite well.
The main basis of the story revolves around Rintaro, a self-proclaimed, “Mad Scientist”. He is out to make a name for himself along with his initial lab members Daru and Maiyuri. Along the way they encounter Kurisu – a neuroscientist. Early on she give quite a lengthy lecture on science and the possibilities such as time travel. She later on becomes quite an integral part of the story.
Rintaro and his lab members eventually discover they have crafted a time machine which is the central focus of Steins Gate. Expect to be taking advantage of this new technology quite a bit as it will shift the outcome of characters you meet along the way. Each character you meet have quite unique personalities and backstories which will keep you entertained along the way.
There are plenty of chapters in Steins Gate with the option of ending much earlier. While the early ending can be enjoyable in its own right, I must insist on ensuring you find a path toward the real ending, even if it means looking up a guide online. There is simply too much to the world of Steins Gate that should not be missed by a fan.
Gameplay consists of the standard press “X” to further the text you read and there is quite a bit of text in this game. Occasionally, you will be required to answer your cell phone to read and respond to people. Also, there is quite a bit of foreign and scientific terminology in this game which you can learn via the built-in dictionary for words marked in “red” as you play through dialogue sequences.
Once again, expect time traveling to be the central focus as learn the ability to manipulate the fabric of time and space. Of course, these can only be done during certain points of the story and the cell phone will at certain points allot you to make integral plot directions. The ability to save is at your disposal at any time during this adventure.
The art is another real standout factor for this game. Most Japanese animation tends to look quite the same, there are still tropes in the art such as giant eyes and point chins, but that extra level of detail that was put into the overall aesthetic of the art really helps the art standout. Each scene seems to have a sparkle effect to the art that is quite a unique approach for an anime style. The only downside is the limited backdrops in Steins Gate as you will be visiting most of the same areas over and over.
Immersive is the best terminology to describe the sounds and music in Steins Gate. You will become enveloped in the music and atmosphere as soon as you begin your adventure with Rintaro. For a game as lengthy as Steins Gate it is quite pleasing to know the music isn’t obnoxious in any way and only helps to present the story line to players.
Expect to clock well over 30 hours if you are on the path to the true ending and less if you receive another ending and decide to quit from there. The game has quite a cumbersome way of redoing the game if you wish to rectify mistakes on your first play through. You can skip through a lot of dialogue, but the time consuming aspect of going through all this may be a bit much for some (An online guide is most welcome in this situation).
Steins Gate is a true testament of what the gaming medium can present to people with having such a well developed cast of characters and intricate story line. Here is hoping Steins Gate 0 receives an english localization.
Platforms: PS Vita, Xbox 360