Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release: Feb 19, 2019 (for Switch)
Price: $60 USD
Steins;Gate Elite is an enhanced version of the original sci-fi visual novel classic Steins;Gate that was released originally in 2009, but now updated with scenes from the anime show to synchronize with the lines.
Plot: You are Okabe Rintaro, a self described ‘mad scientist’ – or a rather delusional loser who can barely make his rent payments living on top of a shop that sells CRT TVs (owned by a Mr Braun that constantly threatens Okabe with increasing his rent). Okabe recruits his friends to be ‘Lab Members’ in order for him to test out his experiments and inventions. Most of his inventions don’t really do anything useful, except for the ‘Phonewave’ device. Okabe, along with his genius ‘supa’ hacker friend Daru, eventually find out that the Phonewave can alter the timeline by sending himself messages (called ‘D-mail’) to the past, and thus change future events. The plot eventually centers on stopping the evil organization SERN (obv a play off of CERN) from taking over the world.
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.
Steins;Gate has fairly memorable characters
-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.
-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
-Mayuri Shiina: Okabe’s closest female friend, cute, innocent, a bit ditzy but always there in need for her friends.
-Suzuha Amane: A time traveler from the future who works as a part time worker for Mr Braun (Okabe’s landlord)
-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.
Graphics: Steins;Gate has a distinctive graphical style with pastel-looking backgrounds and characters, but in the Elite version you get cutscenes from the anime.
Music: I’ve always loved Steins;Gate’s music, the composer definitely did a good job matching the background track with the mood of the scene and the environment.
Conclusion: 10/10. The original Steins;Gate got the same score from me. This is just an enhanced version using the anime cutscenes instead so my score is not going to change. Steins;Gate is one of the most popular and well known sci-fi visual novels for a reason. It mixes geeky sci-fi/tech talk like Time travel, Kerr Black Holes, Wormholes, IBM 5100s with conspiracy theories like John Titor, with charming graphics and a thrilling storyline involving an eccentric protagonist trying to save the world. It’s a classic and for those of you who haven’t checked it out, the Elite is a good place to start.
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