Steins;Gate 0 - PlayStation Vita Review

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  • System: Playstation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows
  • Publisher: 5pb. | PQube
  • Developer: 5pb. | Nitroplus
  • Release Date: December 10, 2015 [JP/PS3/PS4/Vita] | November 29, 2016 [NA] | November 25, 2016 [EU] | August 26, 2016 [PC]
  • Pricing:$39.99 [Vita] | $59.99 [PS4] $65.99 [PC]
  • Rating: M
  • Genre: Visual Novel [Science Adventure]
  • Official Website: http://steinsgate0.jp/

Who it Caters to

Steins;Gate 0 will definitely catch the attention of those familiar with the series, and perhaps can provide some insight into the story for those just jumping in for the first time. Steins;Gate 0 is the follow up to the original Steins;Gate that released back in 2009. Steins:Gate 0 retains much of its visual novel appeal but features fresh scenarios that will most certainly keep you fully engaged in the story.

Expect excellent dialogue as is expected from the franchise, along with fantastic voice acting that’s all in Japanese to ensure the cultural appeal of the game stays in tact. If you’re entirely new to the visual novel universe then the Steins;Gate franchise is honestly the best one to start with because you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth in the end.

What to Expect

Fans should expect nothing short of fantastic from Nitroplus’ and 5pb.’s already hit franchise, with a gripping story to keep you glued to the screen for hours as you take notes at every possible opportunity to place all the clues together. Brilliantly polished and taking some inspiration from its light novel sister, along with very fitting music which was composed by Takeshi Abo who worked on other classics such as Chaos;Head and the classic Infinity series. New cool features such as interacting with other characters in real time using the RINE trigger is something to look forward to, and various other little details that we hope you enjoy as you play through.

Launch Trailer

Story

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Much of the story revolves around Rintaro Okabe, who desperately returns to the 2010 Beta worldline where Kurisu is expected die in accordance with fate. However, his desperate attempts backfired because instead of rescuing Kurisu from danger he accidentally kills her in the process leaving him permanently traumatized throughout the entire game.

Rintaro attends a science event in Akihabara focusing on Brain Science, and there he meets neuroscientist Maho who’s working tirelessly to create a program called Amadeus, which allows for digital recreation of the brain of the deceased, turning it into fully functioning Artificial Intelligence. Now Rintaro must find out more about this Amadeus, and cope with the fact that his test subject for the program is an AI copy of Kurisu. The Future Gadget Lab members have a lot in store for them.

Gameplay

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RINE Trigger Feature | Customizing Your Smartphone

One of the major changes made to Steins;Gate 0 over the original is that the well-known phone trigger has now been upgraded to a smartphone, which has the RINE app on it. This RINE app, known as the RINE Trigger, is used throughout the game to communicate with other characters. There will be times when you’ll be reading through dialogue because you’re so caught up in it when your phone suddenly goes off and you’ll need to check your messages. Responding happens in real time and allows you to use stamps in the app to respond back, which actually has an overall effect on the story as you progress. You do have the option of not responding but we most certainly encourage you to try it out, since it will surely make a difference in the long run. It’s these blind choices that really sell the story.

We admittedly at times forgot to respond back to a message we received which honestly made our hearts pace a little faster because it was actually an important one, and the character eventually got upset and sent us an angry stamp. You’ll know you’ve received something when the game alerts you with a ringing sound, similar to that of the quick save feature that happens predominantly throughout the game.

That was one thing we also loved was the fact that you never have to worry about saving at crucial moments, because the game quick saves at the right time allowing you to perhaps get up and take a break for while. To access your smartphone while reading, simply tap the triangle button which will bring it up on the right side of the screen and will allow you to browse through various settings such as customizing your ringtone, so that when someone calls you it’s immediately known to you what’s taking place.

Amadeus APP

The Amadeus app plays a crucial role in the overall plot since that’s where Okabe speaks to Kurisu throughout much of the game. The game encourages you to call her and speak with her but that’s mostly done through the in-game story, so you don’t need to worry too much about always doing that. This app helps you to understand more about what Amadeus can do, its purpose, and learning more about its backstory. We don’t want to throw out any spoilers so we’ll leave the rest to you to discover once you progress ahead. Let's just say that you’ll be in for plenty of surprises that will have you scratching your head in amazement.

Compelling Story

This is truly where the game sells you when you put everything together because there are just so many variables that are thrown into the mix that sometimes it’s so hard to keep up. We found ourselves taking notes as we went through the story just so that we didn’t skip a beat, and made sure to skim through all of the tips to get a better understanding of what was about to happen. Steins;Gate 0 acts like a “midquel” in that, the narrative helps you to really put all of the pieces together when going back to the original Steins;Gate.

Your emotions will soar continuously because every encounter always has something new to learn about, and Okabe just can’t seem to wrap his head around the startling truths he learns. You’ll become acquainted with a lot of new characters to the series, one of which is Maho, who you’ll discover more of as you progress through. There is a total of 8 new characters that all play a major role in the plot so be sure to pay close attention to them when you encounter them.

One of the more compelling characters is Mayuri since you’ll learn a good chunk about her backstory throughout the game, but more importantly you’ll develop stronger relations with her over time. Her dialogue is at times really airheaded, but when you uncover more about her things start to feel a lot more real and you start to forget about her weird moments. It’s hard not to get attached to the characters in the game because so much of what happens is very sudden, which often has you waiting for a while before part of that story is explained in more detail.

It’s gripping, satisfying and totally rewarding in every possible way and we simply can’t express it through words, you’ll have to truly see the ending for yourself to feel it. Suzuha is one character who you’ll encounter a lot and her backstory honestly blew us away because just when you thought everything was straightened out, things get twisted all over again.

One added plus is just how deep the game is and how it truly forces you to consider certain things in actual real life. One example is to never hold onto regret and to continue moving forward, because the longer you do the more struggles you’ll encounter as you build new relationships. Another is how we’re all just creatures in this infinite space, and that no matter how much we try to change a moment that perhaps didn’t make us feel good, we have to deal with it because trying to alter things can lead to even more pain down the road. That’s truly how much Steins;Gate 0 made us think, to the point where philosophical thoughts started to kick in and had us going full on Socrates.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Put simply, Steins;Gate 0 is a game that you don’t want to ignore because it offers players chance to explore the world that can only be found exclusively in the series, and provides a top notch narrative that will most certainly keep your attention at full. While there’s much praise behind the story along with the dialogue, the original still had a little bit more oomph pertaining to the overall plot and direction. That isn’t to say that 0 has anything less of a story by any means, but nothing truly beats the original no matter what game we cover. Overall, Steins;Gate 0 is a near perfect experience for fans of the series with over a whopping 40 hours of gameplay with an ending you’ll love.

Honey's Pros:

  • Incredibly powerful and long story (30-50 hours).
  • Amazing voice acting (Japanese voicing)
  • The soundtrack is spot on.
  • A lot of the Japanese cultural appeal is still left intact.
  • The tips section was very thorough and well written.
  • Great character diversity
  • Nice clean looking interface when pressing start.
  • Quick saves came in handy quite often.
  • Really cool use of the RINE Trigger app, allowing you to respond in real time.
  • Very small detail, but allowing you to change the ringtone and wallpaper on your phone was neat.

Honey's Cons:

  • Not as powerful as the first Steins;Gate but a great follow up nevertheless.
  • Wish we could do more with Amadeus 🙁

Honey's Final Verdict:

We simply can’t seem to stress it enough but we truly want you all to enjoy this very powerful story, paired with exceptional dialogue that will keep you busy for hours. We tried to put the game down at times but then found ourselves walking around with the Vita in hand, wondering what will happen next. As you learn more about the Beta and Alpha worldlines and other very serious episodes that take place, Steins;Gate 0 will take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride filled with uncertain events, shocking truths, and a plethora of interesting information that will keep you hungry to learn more.

Let us know what you thought of the original Steins;Gate and if you’ll be trying this one out in the comments below. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest information for upcoming shows, and more!

As always for all things sweet, with all the buzzing news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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