The original Steins;Gate is one of my all-time favourite video games and stories, and I wondered how a sequel could live up to but this is the best follow-up that the game could’ve received, and I cherished my time with it as I was enraptured by yet another gripping story that I won’t forget.
Steins;Gate 0 takes place in the timeline where Rintaro Okabe fails to save Makise Kurisu and accidentally kills her, and this drives him to grief where he decides to stop travelling through time – however, Okabe is the only person who could avert World War III (which is breaking out over time machine technology) and so he has to live knowing that he’s letting it happen. The pressure this puts on him is made clear and the loss of his love wears him down, and Okabe is much more solemn, humourless and hopeless – he’s given up on his alter-ego Kyouma Hououin and visiting the lab, leaving his best friend Itaru ‘Daru’ Ishida and his daughter Suzuha, who is from the future to help Okabe change the events of history, to build a time machine without him.
I cherished my time with it as I was enraptured by yet another gripping story that I won’t forget.
Okabe is living his life whilst trying to avoid his responsibility in being the only person who can change the future, and one day he meets Maho Hiyajo, who I absolutely adore, and Dr Leskinen during one of their conferences. They reveal that they’ve been working on Amadeus which allows you to upload your memories to an AI who can then talk to you, and is able to make decisions and behave exactly like a human based on these memories. Before her death, Kurisu had her memories uploaded to Amadeus and Okabe is brought in as a tester as he personally knew her, and it’s easy to imagine how shocking this can be and the wave of emotions that comes with it. Talking to Amadeus Kurisu reminds him of how much he loves and misses her, although he still refuses to time travel again.
What follows is an gripping, thrilling adventure that brought me to tears a couple of times, had me joyfully laughing and I found myself rooting for these beloved characters as I wanted Okabe to return to the eccentric person I know he can be – of course, I also wanted to see him try to save Kurisu again. All of the characters you loved in the first Steins;Gate return and this cast truly is one of my favourites – there’s a lot of depth to each character, and it wouldn’t be Steins;Gate without all of them. A handful of new characters are introduced but it’s Maho, a former colleague of Kurisu’s, who steals the show with her admiration and jealousy of Kurisu, and the vital role she plays in Steins;Gate 0 – honestly, you’ll love her.
It shows how truly clever Steins;Gate’s writing is.
As with Steins;Gate, there are multiple endings which can be achieved based on what calls you choose to answer or ignore, and what RINE (Steins;Gate’s version of messaging app LINE) messages you reply to, or read and ignore. It’s hard to work out what to do without a guide, as it was with the first game, but experiencing all of the endings is a must to get the most out of it and you can skip any previously read text. Many of the endings come together and there are very exciting revelations that are made, and it shows how truly clever Steins;Gate’s writing is and I look forward to one day playing through the series of games again.
The art style has greatly changed and whilst it still has that Steins;Gate feel, it also comes across as more traditionally anime rather than Steins;Gate unique, ‘splotchy’ art style which could only be found in that game. Fortunately, the art is still outstanding although it’s a bit jarring when character models from the first game make an appearance, and it’s one of the prettiest, artistic games around. I cannot fault the character and location designs and some of the more gruesome moments made me wince away, which is also testament to how fantastic the writing is. I don’t want to give too much away but Steins;Gate 0 really drives home the despair and gloom in a future with World War III, whilst showing how beautiful the world can be now.
It’s a worthy sequel to one of the world’s greatest visual novels, and one that’s managed to surpass any and every expectation set for it.
Steins;Gate is a very Japanese game and the Japanese voice-over is, by far, one of the most enjoyable I’ve had the pleasure to listen to. Brimming with emotion and performed in a way that aides the writing in making the characters feel very real, it’s easy to become attached to the characters and feel the emotions that they’re feeling. The soundtrack makes for one of the most memorable of the year too featuring a bunch of new tracks alongside tracks from the original game, and Gate of Steiner still makes for a catchy, haunting tune which is hard to get out of your head!
Steins;Gate 0 is undeniably one of the best, most engaging experiences of 2016, and amongst those that I’ve ever played. If you’re looking for a masterfully-written story with a brilliant cast of characters and high production values all round, then Steins;Gate 0 is the game for you. It’s a worthy sequel to one of the world’s greatest visual novels, and one that’s managed to surpass any and every expectation set for it. Steins;Gate 0 is one of my favourite games of the year and if you’re reading this, chances are it would be one of yours too.
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