Let’s talk about Steins;Gate shall we. Considered to be one of the most amazing visual novels and anime ever made, it has a quite strong fan base. Now comes Steins;Gate 0 a new adventure that sees familiar characters meet with new ones on a journey that is dark, twisted and stunning. Set in the middle of the original game’s true ending, Steins;Gate 0 continues the Steins;Gate saga and aims to live up to the hype and the name.
Now set before the true ending of Steins;Gate, but also six months after the events of said game, Steins;Gate 0 sees a traumatized Rintaro Okabe hang up his lab coat. He gives up entirely on time travel, and chooses to continue his life as a student who is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Now living in the Beta World Line, the players are introduced to a Rintaro Okabe who is broken and miserable. Though things start as they do within Steins;Gate, in 0 it very clearly escalates into a story full of conspiracies, research, and even artificial intelligenc. Soon, Rintaro Okabe must step back up.
Like most visual novels, Steins;Gate 0 does not have much in the way of traditional gameplay mechanics. That said, the player has access to their smartphone and is able to chat in real time with characters and even send them stickers to help push the narrative forward. Depending on different choices and decions, characters will react differently and the story will move forward in myriad ways. Through each of the game’s chapters the perspective shifts to different characters. This allows players to read the internal monologues of that character and get a different view on the story as it develops.
Steins;Gate 0 has a very strong and unique art direction that stands out throughout the whole game. The artwork is so impressive and gets more and more enjoyable to look at the longer you spend with it. Even into the menus and other elements of Steins;Gate 0 the style stays. This stylistic directon continues into the audio and music which has a level of polish that helps to sell and deliver the universe. The themes and tracks that play to back up the story developments are moving and full of emotion. The sounds fit the art direction and the story in a way that you could lose yourself just listening to it alone. The PlayStation 4 version of Steins;Gate 0 has impressive performance as well with next to no issues. Short loading times see you jumping back into the story with ease, and all the artwork is presented in high quality with no weak elements at any point.
It’s hard to explain or even talk about the story of Steins;Gate 0 without giving away to much, but honestly it is a rollercoaster of a ride. From the moments where you will laugh out loud at characters interacting in brilliant ways, only to then be pulled back to earth with the dark theme running throughout the game. What is worth noting though is that Steins;Gate 0 does require some familiarity with the original Steins;Gate game and/or the series. This might make newcomers to the Steins;Gate universe a bit confused at first, but Steins;Gate 0 does have a section to explain some of the terms and events in more detail which you can access at any point.
“Steins;Gate 0 is a stunning work of art.”
Steins;Gate 0 also sees a number of characters from the original saga return, and some new ones join them as well. You get to see more of of them all as the story progresses, and like never before. With twists and turns throughout and more of the series’ staple style of storytelling that you come to expect, Steins;Gate 0 delivers above and beyond a fantastic story.
That said however, the story within Steins;Gate 0 has a number of different endings and is a visual novel that will honestly keep you wanting more. As you try to unlock and piece together all the story elements to build together the true ending, you will become attached to the characters and care deeply about them. Even as you move on to the third or even fourth playthrough where witnessing events is still tough.
Steins;Gate 0 is a stunning work of art. It keeps up the standard that you would expect within anything Steins;Gate related and delivers more. It isn’t necessarily a better game than the original Steins;Gate but it definitely is not a worse game. Ultimately what matters here is that Steins;Gate 0 is a title that will be great for fans of the series and good for those new to the series as well. There might be depressing moments and dark turns, but with the ups along the way it continues to be engaging and captivating. Just make sure you are ready for that rollercoaster ride.
Steins;Gate 0 is available now for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.
This review is based on a copy of the product provided by the publisher.