Platform Reviewed: PS4 Platforms Available: PS4, PS Vita, PS3, Windows PC Publisher: 5pb., PQube Developers: 5pb., Nitroplus Release Dates: NA – November 29, 2016 ; JP – December 10, 2015 MSRP: USD 59.99; PHP 2295.00(PS4), USD 39.99; PHP1895.00(PSVita)
Steins;Gate 0 is a game about time-travelling, alternate world lines, and artificial intelligence. I did not know what I was getting into when I was playing this game for the first time. I haven’t even played the first game before this so there were times I did not understand what the references were for or what I was going to expect from the game. For someone new to the series though, I thoroughlyenjoyed the game by the time I was finished with it. Don’t get me wrong though, I have played other visual novel games but this is probably one of the mainstream visual novel types because the ones I have played were nothing like this.
The game starts off at a point where I am assuming was something that happened in the first game. The story revolves around Okabe Rintaro as he struggles withthe actions that he did in the last game that resulted in the death of Kurisu Makise. Okabe Rintaro possesses this ability called Reading Steiner. Reading Steiner is an ability that allows him to change the happenings in the past, present, or future. He is also able to time-leap which allows him to switch world lines while retaining the memories of the world line he came from. This is not the main focus of the game though but instead it focuses on how the time machine became the spark of the World War Three.
The game takes you through three PoVs (point-of-view) as it unravels the events that occurred before, after, or currently of how the discovery of the time machine began. The three PoVs are that of Rintaro, Maho (the genius scientist who is a colleague and friend of Kurisu), and Suzuha (the daughter of the inventor of the time machine) who travels back through time to try and prevent the start of World War Three.
The game also features a Tips page that logs all the interesting words that gets mentioned throughout the game. These words are highlighted in blue and you get an explanation of its meaning or reference. I actually learned a thing or two out of the 100+ word references that were provided. It also serves as a companion guide so you can learn more about the story and history of the game world.
As any other visual novels, the game offers a selection of endings that are unlockable depending on your interactions with other characters using the in-game smart phone. This is also how Rintaro uses his Reading Steiner ability by sending messages to his past or future self. I was hoping though that there were other actions that your main character can do to influence the game.
What frustrated me a lot in this game though is that there seems to be a bug when you save your games. Either I forgot to save them or my save points were not correct. I was pretty sure I saved my game and yet when I open it up it takes me to a point in the past. Maybe this is part of the whole time-travelling mechanic? I don’t know. If it’s a bug though, hopefully they would fix this in a future update.
The artwork in this game is very good. It really feels a lot like watching an anime but you get to partake in some of the decision-making in the game. They all are of high quality and it really looks good on the PS4. One thing I noticed, the images used in sequences were repeated on some instances in the game, though they are understandable as they point to flashbacks. It’s really obvious with the same character models used in the sequences though; and if there was only the presence of versatility with its character models, it could have made it far more appealing than having the same kind of images all over again.
What I like most about the game is the soundtrack. It really helps with the tone and the mood of every scene that gets played. The adrenaline-pumping upbeat music through each of the action sequences and thrilling moments, the quirky, cute and silly music during those cute and funny moments, and the general music all throughout the game when you are just trying to progress the story. I couldn’t help but hum along or get through a scene in a fast paced manner as I complement the pace of the music that plays.
The game actually starts really slow but the more you play it, the more you get involved with the lives of the characters. Once you are done with your first playthrough, it keeps you wanting more to stop you from wondering what really happened or what did you do wrong. It is an enjoyable game from start to finish and you’d want to unlock all the possible endings just so you can get the whole story.
This review is based on a review copy provided by the developers/publisher.