[Review] Steins;Gate 0 (PS Vita)

STEINS;GATE 0 | Nintendo Switch download software | Games | Nintendo

Platform: Playstation Vita
Developer: 5pb
Release: Dec 10, 2015 (for Vita)
Price: $40 USD

Steins;Gate 0 is the sequel to the acclaimed Steins;Gate made by 5pb, it’s a sci-fi visual novel that involves time travel, conspiracy theories and mind control. 0 adds another technology that is significant to the story – Artificial Intelligence. It is out on numerous platforms but I am reviewing the Vita version I originally played.

Plot: The story continues from just before the ending of Steins;Gate and takes place in the alpha attractor field timeline, as opposed to the beta attractor field timeline the previous game took place in. In this timeline, SERN is not as much of a threat and Mayuri survives.. but now Kurisu dies instead. This timeline instead converges to WWIII. The protagonist Okabe’s mind is pushed to the brink between the deaths of two of the people he cared about the most. Two main subplots in this timeline involve Suzuha searching for a child who she had lost when time traveling, Kagari, and Rintaro testing out the Artificial Intelligence system Amadeus, which contains a copy of Kurisu’s memories. 

Sending text messages (D-Line) is key part of the gameplay just like in the previous game’s D-mail system

Gameplay:The main gameplay element, besides reading text, is checking your phone at the right times and responding (or not responding) to the correct messages, which alter the timeline of events. It’s a simple but effective means of branching the storyline. 

Characters: 

Maho and Leskinen are two major additions to the cast
Steins;Gate 0 contains most of the previous game’s cast along with a few new additions:

-Okabe Rintaro: the protagonist of Steins;Gate who is a self described mad genius, who comes across as both eccentric and self-loathing at times. In 0, he also suffers from PTSD due to witnessing Mayuri and Kurisu’s traumatic deaths numerous times. He is also considerably more serious in this game, no longer using his mad scientist facade anymore.

-Daru: Okabe’s closest male friend, a pervert and a prodigal programmer and hacker who can bypass almost any security system. 

-Kurisu Makise: the heroine of the series, a tsundere, a scientific teenage genius who Okabe has a love-hate relationship with. In 0, she exists mostly as an artificial intelligence system nicknamed Amadeus, as an machine copy of the original Kurisu (who is dead in this timeline).  

-Mayuri Shiina: Okabe’s closest female friend, cute, innocent, a bit ditzy but always there in need for her friends. As a result of the attractor field shifting, Mayuri is alive and well in this timeline.

-Suzuha Amane: A time traveler from the future who works as a part time worker for Mr Braun (Okabe’s landlord). In this timeline, she is less joyful and even more serious due to the worldline converging to an even more destructive future with WWIII. 

-Faris NyanNyan: A cosplaying catgirl who comes from a well to do background and owner of a popular maid cafe. 

-Luka Urushiba: Biologically a male, but always appears and acts very feminine, leading many to mistake his gender. He’s one of Mayuri’s close friends.

-Moeka Kiryu: Nicknamed ‘Shining Finger’ for her preference for and speed at texting, a very introverted girl with sneaky intentions. In this timeline, she is not a ‘Rounder’ and is not a threat to Okabe anymore.

-Maho Hiyajo: Kurisu’s friend and research partner at the same university; she helped out with Kurisu’s research and introduced Amadeus to Okabe. She is also plagued by feelings of jealousy and insecurity due to feeling that she will never match up to Kurisu’s genius.

-Alexis Leskinen: Professor and chief researcher of the Brain Institute at Kurisu and Maho’s university and serves as their mentor. He is one of the main minds behind Amadeus and seems to harbor darker desires for the project.

-Judy Reyes: A colleague of Leskinen and fellow research professor at the university.

-Yuki Amane: Suzuha’s mother and Daru’s wife. Most of her involvement is limited to Suzhuha making sure that Daru’s doesn’t mess things up and that he ends up together with Yuki.  

-Fubuki Nakase and Kaede Kurushima: Along with Yuki they are Mayuri’s cosplayer friends.

-Kagari Shiina: A war orphan and the adopted daughter of future Mayuri. She escapes with Suzuha in the time machine and got lost somewhere in time. A big suplot of the game is locating Kagari and helping her regain her lost memories.

Steins Gate has a distinctive visual style that uses pastel style anime art

Graphics: Steins;Gate 0 uses the same pastel style graphics as the previous game and it’s a very visually distinctive style that people either love or hate. I find it very unique and while it won’t fit every game, it seems to work well with this series.

Music:I’ve always loved Steins;Gate’s music, and here is much the same; the composer definitely did a good job matching the background track with the mood of the scene and the environment.

Conclusion: 9/10. Steins;Gate 0 is a noticeably darker game and takes place in a timeline with even higher stakes. While Steins;Gate started off on a lighthearted note and only started getting darker towards the midpoint of the game, 0 starts off right off the bat with dark sombre tones and doesn’t really let up the whole game. There are light hearted moments, but Okabe for the most part remains much more serious in this game compared to the previous one. He no longer uses his ‘Kyouma’ mad scientist shenanigans anymore, and is more focused on his main goal of saving Kurisu, saving Mayuri and reaching the fabled Steins Gate timeline. Overall it’s a great sequel for Steins;Gate fans and a fitting conclusion for the series, and those who are into time travel, sci-fi, psychology etc will definitely be interested in this game, the only reason I gave this game a slightly lower score is because there are moments where some scenes seemed unnecessary to me in order to prolong the game’s length. This game is quite lengthy to get to the true ending, and there isn’t as many open ended routes in this game as the first one. The different endings in this game are often required in order to achieve the true ending, compared to the multiple possible endings of the first game. 
That said, it’s still a highly recommended game for me – just be sure to play the first game before you play this one as this game is a true sequel and builds off of the first game!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B3fjNx1x64


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