riostarwind's Steins;Gate (PlayStation 3) review

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While this game has some issues it is still a captivating visual novel that’ll keep you hooked till the end

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It has been two years since I first visited the visual novel sequel to this game. I played it after watching the anime adaption based on this one. On a whim I decided to finally play this after it has been sitting on my PS3 for a few years. So let us begin the journey on the path to Steins Gate!

The art style in this game makes it stand out a lot vs every other visual novel.
The art style in this game makes it stand out a lot vs every other visual novel.

The adventure begins in modern Tokyo. A man called Okabe and his childhood friend Mayuri are on their way to a public science talk about time travel. Yet weird stuff is going on between weird objects showing up on the roof and a dead girl in a side hallway leaves our protagonist at a loss for words. Afterwards he sends a text to a friend yet at the very moment everything changed. As his alter ego Hououin Kyouma (mad scientist extraordinaire) he seeks to use what he eventually learns from this moment to his advantage. A type of time travel is possible yet this knowledge will lead him down a long dark path that seems almost too cruel. Finding a way through this giant mess is what this game is about.

The key to changing the future comes down what the player decides to do via a old cell phone.
The key to changing the future comes down what the player decides to do via a old cell phone.

As for the game itself it is a fairly normal visual novel in most aspects. The main way the crazy scientist interacts with the world is his phone. At key moments in the narrative it becomes real obvious that if the player decides to use it the timeline will change. Even if it isn’t vitally important to the plot the decision of answering or texting someone can lead to a scene playing out a little bit differently than before.

Yet the texting feature which you would likely just pick answers randomly leads to an ending you’ll likely not see without some help. Sure it’s easy enough to go back through the game just skipping all the text but I don’t see why they would need to make one ending so obscure. Plus getting most of the endings is quite vital for feeling the immense pressure the protagonist is undergoing and what his friends are dealing with too.

A lot of this game relies on everyone being well thought out interesting characters. From the start everyone seems like a generic anime trope yet by the end they all have a lot more going on behind the scenes. This is all done well enough other than Luka. He is an effeminate guy that wishes he was a girl. This wish gets granted yet the way they decide to show this off is the worst kind of anime fan service. Plus Okabe never really accepts his feelings of love other than in the girl timeline and that just sucks a lot.

While I may not have liked that part of the game I still think it is worth playing. The overall translation is on point too so it never feels like what you are reading makes no sense. Additionally the way things ramp up is done well and you’ll certainly start reading faster just to see what might happen next. At its core this is a well written thriller novel and if that sounds like something you would like to check out then this is indeed a game worth playing.

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