Steins Gate Review: Visual Novel of the Year

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#1 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

Steins Gate Review: Visual Novel of the Year

Stein’s Gate Review: Visual Novel of the Year

The scenario writer went on to work on Bravely Default. The title itself was adapted into a two-hour anime and subsequently localized in North America to critical acclaim. The game itself has been released on every single major platform.

Now the original visual novel has been localized in English. Set in a modern-day Tokyo, Stein’s Gate is a suspenseful and thrilling mystery wrapped in a highly-stylized package, and it is not a story to be missed.

Spoiler alert? Hardly; this event occurs within minutes. Prepare your brain for unwanted penetration.

Stein’s Gate was originally released in 2009 on the Xbox 360 as part of a collaboration series of “all-ages” science-adventure novels between 5pb and Nitro+. Don’t let the moniker fool you though, as these tales are anything but for children (Stein’s Gate has received an ‘M’ rating from the ESRB).

Set in the electric city Akihabara, the real-life Mecca of Japanese pop culture, Stein’s Gatefollows the adventures of the Future Gadget Lab, a small group of university students, as they fiddle and tinker with their “experiments.”

Events quickly spiral out of control as the main character, Okabe Rintarou, and his friends accidentally create a functioning time machine capable of sending text messages back to the past. Embroiled in conspiracy, the Gadget Lab soon finds its members in very real peril.

The early cast members: Shiina Mayuri, Hashida Daru, Makise Kurisu, and Okabe Rintarou.

The plots and machinations of Stein’s Gate draw heavily on real-world entities and pseudoscience pretty close to the proven physics. Names like the Large Hadron Collider and Kerr black holes run amok and the game’s theory on time travel, the core device of the narrative, is handled extremely well.

As with most visual novels the game is played by reading text superimposed over images, occasionally making choices. Where Stein’s Gate diverges is the use of Okabe’s cell phone. Players can receive and to messages sent by other characters, directly affecting the events of the story as they unfold. The unfolding, however, does go on for as long as any game. Most gamers might be unaccustomed to reading for 40 hours, but the story is gripping and will keep ‘em coming back for more.

An example of the text message system “in action.’

Even the artwork itself separates this one from the pack as a cut above the rest. Designed entirely by Huke (known for his work on the Metal Gear series), the images are crisp and give off a futuristic feel while simultaneously being somewhat creepy. Characters are drawn uniquely, and a heavy reliance on odd perspectives and warped anatomies draw the reader into the atmosphere seamlessly.

As with many visual novels, the characters are the focus. Stein’s Gate does feature multiple routes with one “true” ending, each one focusing on a different heroine. Here it excels again, masterfully mixing a character-driven story into a complex conspiracy theory. The rabbit hole only goes deeper as each route is explored, culminating in a full circle that leaves the reader satisfied and wowed.

No matter which character is your favorite, you’ll be satisfied with their story.

Music is the icing on the cake for Stein’s Gate. Highly reminiscent of the X-Files, the electro-techno feel of the atmospheric sounds complement the art and story well, exponentially heightening the narrative’s emotional impact.

And what a story it is. Written by Hayashi Naotaka who eventually went on to write the plot and characters for Bravely Default, it’s easy to see the reason behind his eventual success with the 3DS smash hit. Complex without being inaccessible, Hayashi’s story of time travel, conspiracy, betrayal, and romance is well-paced and thrilling, prone to jaw-dropping and possibly a tear or two.

Every character has their own quirks but is still relatable… in a quirky way.

Balanced with humor and wit, Stein’s Gate also features a star cast of voices (in their original Japanese) that drive the drama and emotion home. Listening to Okabe Rintarou rant makes the laughs come a little easier; conversely, listening to some of the other moments in the game read aloud can sometimes be bad for the eyes. Each voice over delivers exactly the right amount of emotion for every scene, with no nuance left unnoticed.

Stein’s Gate does everything right. From its unique portrayal of time travel to a dynamic cast of characters, this visual novel is one of the best examples of the medium. If you loved the story of Bravely Default, fancy a good thriller, or are just a fan in general of excellently-written character-driven stories with excellent art, music, and themes (a Joss Whedon fan, perhaps), Stein’s Gate is the read for you.

El Psy Congroo.

Final Breakdown

[+Excellent characters] [+Well-written narrative] [+Good time-travel] [+Perfect voice-acting] [+Unique and beautiful art style] [-Very long]

#2 Posted by Bigboi500 (29291 posts) -

Searched Steam and GOG but couldn't find it.

#3 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

@Bigboi500 said:

Searched Steam and GOG but couldn't find it.

It isn't on either Steam or GOG yet, but the publisher Jast USA said they're working towards a Steam release. For now, the game is only available through their website:

http://www.jastusa.com/shop/nitroplus.html

#4 Edited by bobbetybob (19170 posts) -

"An example of the best that games have to offer." Ummm...

#5 Posted by Desmonic (13382 posts) -

"An example of the best that games have to offer." Ummm...

That sentence would make perfect sense if we were talking about Goat Simulator. Alas, we are not.

#6 Edited by speedfreak48t5p (6898 posts) -

Looks like a game for weeaboos to me.

I'll pass.

#7 Posted by FoxbatAlpha (6133 posts) -

OMG those pics just enraged me to the point that i want to piss in the electrical socket. PASS.

#8 Posted by T3H_1337_N1NJ4 (2079 posts) -

Having played it. Yes it is. If you love a good story, do take a look into it. If you love a good story and time traveling, go buy it now.

#9 Posted by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

"An example of the best that games have to offer." Ummm...

It is when it comes to great storytelling and meaningful choices... but not so much in the gameplay department.

OMG those pics just enraged me to the point that i want to piss in the electrical socket. PASS.

Why the "enraged" part?

#10 Posted by Blabadon (25900 posts) -

Kinda turned off by the idea of playing non KOTARO UCHIKOSHI THE GOAT-novels thanks to Danganronpa tbh.

#11 Posted by FoxbatAlpha (6133 posts) -

@Jag85 said:
@bobbetybob said:

"An example of the best that games have to offer." Ummm...

It is when it comes to great storytelling and meaningful choices... but not so much in the gameplay department.

@FoxbatAlpha said:

OMG those pics just enraged me to the point that i want to piss in the electrical socket. PASS.

Why the "enraged" part?

I should have stated that i wasn't really serious. Well maybe just a little.

#12 Edited by AznbkdX (3120 posts) -

I've only watched the series. Is that fairly close to what this will be like except with way more words?

If so it probably will be some good shit. Steins Gate is pretty cool even if you already know about a few theories of time. I had a kick out of it and even found some of the story to be actually surprising.

#13 Edited by T3H_1337_N1NJ4 (2079 posts) -
@AznbkdX said:

I've only watched the series. Is that fairly close to what this will be like except with way more words?

If so it probably will be some good shit. Steins Gate is pretty cool even if you already know about a few theories of time. I had a kick out of it and even found some of the story to be actually surprising.

It has a few more subplots, the time traveling is explained better and the characters are better developed. I played it after watching the series and I really enjoyed it.

#14 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

@Blabadon said:

Kinda turned off by the idea of playing non KOTARO UCHIKOSHI THE GOAT-novels thanks to Danganronpa tbh.

If you liked the Zero Escape series, then you will love Steins Gate... it's even better.

I should have stated that i wasn't really serious. Well maybe just a little.

Sorry, my sarcasm indicator must have failed me there.

@AznbkdX said:

I've only watched the series. Is that fairly close to what this will be like except with way more words?

If so it probably will be some good shit. Steins Gate is pretty cool even if you already know about a few theories of time. I had a kick out of it and even found some of the story to be actually surprising.

The original game has a lot more story, which the anime adaptation had to cut down to fit into a single season. Like T3H_1337_N1NJ4 said, it has sub-plots that didn't make it into the anime, including a very interesting alternate timeline involving Mr. Braun and his daughter Nae, which was only briefly hinted at in the movie. Even if fans have already seen the anime adaptation, there's still a lot more to the story in the original game.

#15 Posted by Blabadon (25900 posts) -

Danganronpa's praise burned me pretty badly though. Way too cliche and anime for my tastes.

#16 Posted by Senor_Kami (8327 posts) -

I so wish they could have worked with the animation studio that did the anime (or any animation studio) so that this would be like playing an anime ala School Days rather than just talking heads on a static background.

#17 Edited by AznbkdX (3120 posts) -

Oh okay. About what I expected considering how it's like for many anime adaptations.

I've honestly been more of an anime guy all in all, and Steins;Gate I thought was a pretty good anime. Well... at least compared to other visual novels to anime renditions like Danganronpa, which in the few episodes I watched wasn't on par.

I probably won't play this since I get bored of games like this, but the series is still pretty awesome.

#18 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

@Blabadon said:

Danganronpa's praise burned me pretty badly though. Way too cliche and anime for my tastes.

I haven't yet played the Danganronpa game myself. I've only seen the anime adaptation and wasn't too impressed by it ("Way too cliche and anime for my tastes" is exactly how I would describe it), but fans of the game have said it's a lot better than the anime. Would you agree with them?

Either way, don't let that deter you. In my opinion, Steins Gate has some of the best-written storytelling I've ever seen in video games, along with Clannad. But if my opinion isn't enough to convince you to try it out, then you can check out the Visual Novel Database rankings and see for yourself how highly regarded it is among visual novel fans.

#19 Edited by AznbkdX (3120 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@Blabadon said:

Danganronpa's praise burned me pretty badly though. Way too cliche and anime for my tastes.

I haven't yet played the Danganronpa game myself. I've only seen the anime adaptation and wasn't too impressed by it ("Way too cliche and anime for my tastes" is exactly how I would describe it), but fans of the game have said it's a lot better than the anime. Would you agree with them?

Either way, don't let that deter you. In my opinion, Steins Gate has some of the best-written storytelling I've ever seen in video games, along with Clannad. But if my opinion isn't enough to convince you to try it out, then you can check out the Visual Novel Database rankings and see for yourself how highly regarded it is among visual novel fans.

You guys thought that was cliche? Yeah... maybe the characters kind of were, but that anime was by and far way different than anything I've watched. The trial thing, the weird blood, the idea of it, Monobear (well kind of different compared to most furry guys in anime)... that's cliche to you?

#20 Posted by Blabadon (25900 posts) -

@Jag85: Only played the game, never seen anything about it. If the game was any indication, mediocre and boring as it was, I'd rather not check the anime.

I won't lie, I've been interested in Steins Gate for a while though. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

#21 Edited by Blabadon (25900 posts) -

@AznbkdX: The characters were all boring cliches with very few gaining any sort of personalities. At the end of the game, when some characters are still annoying archetypes, it's annoying as fuck.

#22 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -
@AznbkdX said:

You guys thought that was cliche? Yeah... maybe the characters kind of were, but that anime was by and far way different than anything I've watched. The trial thing, the weird blood, the idea of it, Monobear... that's cliche to you?

Yes, that's what I mean, the characters. Danganronpa had an original plot, but most of the characters just seemed like your usual anime archetypes, and the way they were presented seemed too over-the-top. I get the feeling I might have liked the anime more if the characters had more backstory and the over-the-top shenanigans were toned down a little. Maybe my opinion of Danganronpa might change if I play the original game... or at least I hope so.

#23 Posted by AznbkdX (3120 posts) -

@Jag85: Yeah I can agree with that.

Steins gate has characterization down a whole lot better. Many of those people are pretty original and definitely change over time.

#24 Posted by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

@AznbkdX said:

@Jag85: Yeah I can agree with that.

Steins gate has characterization down a whole lot better. Many of those people are pretty original and definitely change over time.

Exactly. A great story alone is not enough, but you need well-written characterization to go along with it.

#25 Posted by hoplayletsplay (978 posts) -

Couldn't finish Fate/Stay Night, forced myself to finish one play through of Katawa Shoujo. I am not sure I'll like Stein Gate better than any other visual novel, even though I liked what the anime has to offer.

#26 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

@hoplayletsplay:

Fate/Stay Night can be pretty hard to finish, considering how much dialogue it has (last I checked, the word count is over a million words). Steins;Gate's script length is around half that size, but has better-written storytelling. Still, while not as long as F/SN, S;G is still a pretty long game.

As for Katawa Shoujo, I've never played it, but heard a lot about it. Would you recommend it?

#27 Posted by finalfantasy94 (26315 posts) -

Maybe if someday its get dubed after all it seems to be gaining more poplarity ill give it a shot. I recently tried to go through a visual novel game cropse party and I really got sick of the jpn audio.Has anyone seen the anime here?

#28 Edited by hoplayletsplay (978 posts) -
@Jag85 said:

@hoplayletsplay:

Fate/Stay Night can be pretty hard to finish, considering how much dialogue it has (last I checked, the word count is over a million words). Steins;Gate's script length is around half that size, but has better-written storytelling. Still, while not as long as F/SN, S;G is still a pretty long game.

As for Katawa Shoujo, I've never played it, but heard a lot about it. Would you recommend it?

"Katawa Shoujo is a bishoujo-style visual novel set in the fictional Yamaku High School for disabled children, located somewhere in modern Japan. Hisao Nakai, a normal boy living a normal life, has his life turned upside down when a congenital heart defect forces him to move to a new school after a long hospitalization. Despite his difficulties, Hisao is able to find friends—and perhaps love, if he plays his cards right. There are five main paths corresponding to the 5 main female characters, each path following the storyline pertaining to that character.

The story is told through the perspective of the main character, using a first person narrative. The game uses a traditional text and sprite-based visual novel model with an ADV text box.

Katawa Shoujo contains adult material, and was created using the Ren'Py scripting system. It is the product of an international team of amateur developers, and is available free of charge under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License."

Taken straight from the website. Game is pretty unique and the setting is pretty refreshing so definitely give it a try and did I say it's free?

#29 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

Maybe if someday its get dubed after all it seems to be gaining more poplarity ill give it a shot. I recently tried to go through a visual novel game cropse party and I really got sick of the jpn audio.Has anyone seen the anime here?

Steins Gate has a lot of dialogues (around half a million words, last I checked), so it would be expensive to dub it all . Nevertheless, the game has the option to turn off the voices, or even just choose which characters' voices to turn off. So if there's any character's voice you find annoying, you can just turn it off and read instead. Either way, the voice acting for most of the characters is really good, and a lot better than Corpse Party.

Anyway, not sure if the game will ever be dubbed (maybe they might consider it for the Steam release they're planning for the future, if that ever happens). If not, then you can try out the dubbed version of the anime, which is a great adaptation, although the original visual novel is better, because it has a lot more story content and choices & consequences.

"Katawa Shoujo is a bishoujo-style visual novel set in the fictional Yamaku High School for disabled children, located somewhere in modern Japan. Hisao Nakai, a normal boy living a normal life, has his life turned upside down when a congenital heart defect forces him to move to a new school after a long hospitalization. Despite his difficulties, Hisao is able to find friends—and perhaps love, if he plays his cards right. There are five main paths corresponding to the 5 main female characters, each path following the storyline pertaining to that character.

The story is told through the perspective of the main character, using a first person narrative. The game uses a traditional text and sprite-based visual novel model with an ADV text box.

Katawa Shoujo contains adult material, and was created using the Ren'Py scripting system. It is the product of an international team of amateur developers, and is available free of charge under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License."

Taken straight from the website. Game is pretty unique and the setting is pretty refreshing so definitely give it a try and did I say it's free?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that it's free... I guess there's no harm in giving it a try some time.

#30 Posted by finalfantasy94 (26315 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@finalfantasy94 said:

Maybe if someday its get dubed after all it seems to be gaining more poplarity ill give it a shot. I recently tried to go through a visual novel game cropse party and I really got sick of the jpn audio.Has anyone seen the anime here?

Steins Gate has a lot of dialogues (around half a million words, last I checked), so it would be expensive to dub it all . Nevertheless, the game has the option to turn off the voices, or even just choose which characters' voices to turn off. So if there's any character's voice you find annoying, you can just turn it off and read instead. Either way, the voice acting for most of the characters is really good, and a lot better than Corpse Party.

Anyway, not sure if the game will ever be dubbed (maybe they might consider it for the Steam release they're planning for the future, if that ever happens). If not, then you can try out the dubbed version of the anime, which is a great adaptation, although the original visual novel is better, because it has a lot more story content and choices & consequences.

@hoplayletsplay said:

"Katawa Shoujo is a bishoujo-style visual novel set in the fictional Yamaku High School for disabled children, located somewhere in modern Japan. Hisao Nakai, a normal boy living a normal life, has his life turned upside down when a congenital heart defect forces him to move to a new school after a long hospitalization. Despite his difficulties, Hisao is able to find friends—and perhaps love, if he plays his cards right. There are five main paths corresponding to the 5 main female characters, each path following the storyline pertaining to that character.

The story is told through the perspective of the main character, using a first person narrative. The game uses a traditional text and sprite-based visual novel model with an ADV text box.

Katawa Shoujo contains adult material, and was created using the Ren'Py scripting system. It is the product of an international team of amateur developers, and is available free of charge under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License."

Taken straight from the website. Game is pretty unique and the setting is pretty refreshing so definitely give it a try and did I say it's free?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that it's free... I guess there's no harm in giving it a try some time.

Well the turning voice is a nice option and I personally dont like anything in jpn voices. I just mention corpse party since thats the most recent novel like game I played.I always go for dub.Jpn only voice usally kills all interest in a game for me and its rare I play a fully sub game.

#31 Posted by JangoWuzHere (16089 posts) -

Muv Luv: Alternative is still the best Visual Novel of any year.

#32 Posted by Some-Mist (5630 posts) -

I wonder if 5pb is going to blow up this gen - with Steins;gate and the announcement of their subsidiary MAGES and the department Div8 led by Makoto Asada....their new potential XB1 exclusive title is probably another visual novel if not a shoot 'em up. Could be the title that Phil Spencer has been hyping as a japanese exclusive.

http://5pb.jp/games/div8/

#33 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

@JangoWuzHere said:

Muv Luv: Alternative is still the best Visual Novel of any year.

Still haven't played that game. One thing that's prevented me from playing it is that I'd need to play the first Muv-Luv, which seems to have mediocre ratings on VNDB, yet the sequel Muv-Luv Alternative is the highest-rated game on the site. Why such a huge difference in ratings? And how necessary is it to play the first Muv-Luv to enjoy the superior sequel?

@Some-Mist said:

I wonder if 5pb is going to blow up this gen - with Steins;gate and the announcement of their subsidiary MAGES and the department Div8 led by Makoto Asada....their new potential XB1 exclusive title is probably another visual novel if not a shoot 'em up. Could be the title that Phil Spencer has been hyping as a japanese exclusive.

http://5pb.jp/games/div8/

Visual novels and shmups are pretty niche genres, so it would be pretty weird for Phil Spencer to hype up something like that as X1 exclusive. Although, considering the success of 5pb's Steins Gate, it might be a pretty big deal in Japan. Also, 5pb is one of the few Japanese developers to support the Xbox, since Steins Gate itself started out as a 360 exclusive, before being ported to PC and other consoles.

#34 Posted by Some-Mist (5630 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

Visual novels and shmups are pretty niche genres, so it would be pretty weird for Phil Spencer to hype up something like that as X1 exclusive. Although, considering the success of 5pb's Steins Gate, it might be a pretty big deal in Japan. Also, 5pb is one of the few Japanese developers to support the Xbox, since Steins Gate itself started out as a 360 exclusive, before being ported to PC and other consoles.

they actually started the huge shift of multiple Japanese developers to the xbox 360 starting with their port of dodonpachi daioujou blex. shortly after... cave, treasure, g.rev, qute, moss, and triangle service all followed to develop (almost solely) for the 360.

If it is an XB1 exclusive, that could be the next shift for those same niche developers. Pretty huge news regardless... and the timing of steins;gate is perfect to start the japan hype for a new IP.

#35 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

Here is Kotaku's review of the game:

Rockmandash Reviews - Steins;Gate [Visual Novel]

Rockmandash Reviews - Steins;Gate [Visual Novel]

Rockmandash12

Yesterday 10:45pm

Welcome to Rockmandash Reviews! This is my review Steins; Gate, the Visual Novel. Steins;Gate is a visual novel made which was a cooperative project by 5pb and Nitroplus. This is the second game in the "science adventure game" series, (The stuff with the semi-colon in the middle, the first game is Chaos;Head and the 3rd is Robotics;Notes) This is one of my favorites, so let's see how this shapes up in this review.

To put it simply, the writing of Steins;Gate is phenomenal. Steins;gate is a very genre savvy Visual Novel about time travel. The key word here is about, as a lot of series use time travel, but they almost never go over how it works. How time travel works is the main premise of Steins;Gate, and it even has references to real theories, real groups, and real people. The rules of time travel might be pseudoscience, but Steins;Gate sticks with these rules and makes it feel like a real thing. The plot was structured very well, almost like it was meticulously hand-crafted like a luxurious item. One thing that might bother some people is the pacing, which starts out slow. I don't believe the slow pace at the beginning holds back the writing at all, as that time is used well to develop the characters and make this game very enjoyable when they eventually punch your gut in chapter 5. Even if you didn't think the beginning was slow, definitely picks up. Once it picks up, you need to be prepared for one of the best experiences you will have ever experienced, with outstanding character development, unique scenarios because of this time travel plot, and an atmosphere that will blow your mind. It's an intellectual roller coaster, and it's a fun one.

Steins;Gate follows the Future Gadget Lab and their adventures with time travel. By complete accident, the lab manages to send a email back in time, and the future gadget lab learns to use time travel… with massive consequences (IE Butterfly Effect). One thing that Steins;Gate nailed with the writing, is the balance between humor and seriousness, which is one thing a lot of shows don't really get. Out of all the amazing characters in this game, the protagonist Okabe Rintarou aka Hououin Kyouma steals the show. Okabe's chuunibyou habit is grating at the beginning, but he slowly grows to you, and he as some of the best character development I've seen in anything, ever. Next up is Makise Kurisu, a Tsundere Genre Savvy Teen Genius, but done in a unique way which makes here really enjoyable. She's a great female lead, and is personally one of my favorite out there.and Shiina Mayuri, our airhead cosplayer, is a relief character, but has a surprising amount of depth. I could go on and on about the characters, as they are all great. The same thing could be said about the writing in general about this game: it's great and I could go on and on about it. That's just how good it is.

Writing - 10/10

The gameplay is played pretty straight, but it might throw you off as it does change some things. Like every other visual novel, you make choices and you read a lot, but gone are the flowchart-y gameplay that most visual novels are, this is a very linear visual novel and the choices you make do not change the plot entirely, they change what endings you get. Also, the way you make the decisions is also slightly different in Steins;Gate. In Steins;Gate they have this phone trigger system where whenever you get a message or a call, you have to choose things and depending on your choices within this phone trigger system, things will change. The Phone Trigger system is very subtle, and is a very nice and unique way of interacting with the game. Steins;Gate has many small changes that make it unique, and after playing though so many visual novels that have little to no change in the gameplay department, it's a nice change of pace.

Gameplay - 8.5/10

Horray for 16:9! This is one of the nicest looking Visual Novels I've ever played, and being in 16:9 is something that really makes my day, as when I play in full screen, it actually like like it's supposed to. About the visuals of the game itself, Steins;Gate has this nice water colored, pixelated style to it, and it really makes it quite unique. They way they use it in promo art and even random parts in the game help set it from other visual novels and it keeps your eyes open. It's a very aesthetically pleasing game. Everything is pleasing to the eye, from random items in the game like the Oopa's, to the character designs, and the backgrounds.There aren't a lot of visual novels that can compare to the charm and aesthetics this game has with its unique style.

Visuals - 9.5/10

The Sound in Steins;Gate is pretty good. I thought that they did a great job at picking the cast for the voice-over, as they did an amazing job with the characters and it helps make the experience better. I'll never be able to think of Mayuri without thinking of the excellent Tuturu the voice actor did. On a side note, the voices are the same as the Japanese version of the anime, but they sound different. It's a pretty easy transition for the most part but if you're used to one of them it might be a little jarring. As for the soundtrack, I liked it for the most part, as the music was pretty decent. Most of the music was pretty good, and there are some stellar songs in the game, but I wish that the music was used a bit better. Some of the usage of the soundtrack isn't the greatest, and it could be improved. One little thing I enjoyed about the soundtrack was the ringtones that they have in the game, I have it set as my ringtone on my phone, and it's a pretty decent ringtone. Steins;Gate has some good tracks, but it does have it's forgettable parts too.

Sound - 8.5/10

I love Steins;Gate. If I didn't I wouldn't be making 2 simultaneously released reviews, and I wouldn't buy all this stuff right? I think with the charm of the characters, and the best usage of time travel just steal the show with me. I love how Steins;Gate spends so much of it's time showing all the consequences of time travel, which isn't something you see that often. While the game and anime are remarkably similar, they are a very different experience. They have minor differences, but I feel like the way most of it is executed in the game has more impact, an example would be the final scene with the credits. I feel that the Visual novel is a better experience overall, as it's more immerse, more unique, and has more content overall. If I was going to recommend a version, I'd recommend the Visual Novel. Because I played through the fan translation, some of the official translation choices confused me. The changing of Ruka's name to Luka is stupid (I understand why, Japanese doesn't make a difference between R & L, but all the other versions spell it Ruka :|), this is just nitpicking though and it shouldn't hinder your experience. The strong points of Steins;Gate overall though is that the story is relatable, it has a great concept and it's executed very well. What else is there to ask? This is the formula for a great experience.

Enjoyment - 10/10

Steins;Gate is an experience that nobody should miss. This is an amazing game that covers all the nitty gritty about time travel - something that other shows and games in the past were always too afraid to cover. With a great concept, and great execution, this is a no-brainer. This is one of the BEST experiences I've ever had in any medium ever, and I'm sure it will be just as amazing for you.

I give this a Rockmandash Remarkable, and a 9.75/10 overall.

El. Psy. Congroo.

This game finally got an English release from JAST USA, and you can pick it up at JAST's site or at Rightstuff.

#36 Posted by JangoWuzHere (16089 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@JangoWuzHere said:

Muv Luv: Alternative is still the best Visual Novel of any year.

Still haven't played that game. One thing that's prevented me from playing it is that I'd need to play the first Muv-Luv, which seems to have mediocre ratings on VNDB, yet the sequel Muv-Luv Alternative is the highest-rated game on the site. Why such a huge difference in ratings? And how necessary is it to play the first Muv-Luv to enjoy the superior sequel?

I think it is mandatory that you play Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Unlimited. Alternative references the first two games constaintly and expects you to understand the previous story . To get the full understanding of the story and the full emotional impact of Alternative, you MUST play the first two games. If you don't, a lot of scenes will not make any sense and simply have no weight. Alternative actually imports some choices that you made in the past games, so it is a story trilogy believe it or not.

I don't think Muv-Luv is really all that bad. It is a somewhat medicore love comedy, but it's short and has some enjoyable moments. Muv-Luv: Unlimited is actually pretty damn good, it's still a bit too wacky in tone, but the characters are fun and enjoyable and the sci-fi setting is great. Alternative is probably the best Visual Novel of all time, and it's worth it to play through the first two games, even if they aren't super great.

Note: Muv-Luv Unlimited is included with Muv-Luv. You must playthrough the story and experience the endings of both main heroines to unlock Unlimited.

#37 Edited by osirisx3 (1756 posts) -

nah sorry this will be

overflow makes best VN of all time school days/

#38 Posted by glez13 (8664 posts) -

Why hasn't sweenix posted something yet?

#39 Posted by osirisx3 (1756 posts) -

@speedfreak48t5p: If being a weeaboo means you like games with real stories then sign me up for the weeaboo club. Just because it has anime style art does not mean it should be treated like that.

#40 Posted by Slashkice (13046 posts) -

GOTY right here. #realtalk

#41 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

@JangoWuzHere:

Cool. I was thinking about trying out Muv-Luv as my next VN. I hope the first Muv-Luv is at least enjoyable, just so I can see what all the hype is about over Muv-Luv Alternative.

@osirisx3:

How many Days games are there? School Days was good (reminded me of Catherine), but the spin-offs haven't really caught my interest.

@glez13:

Does sweenix even play PC games? The only visual novels I've seen him talk about are PlayStation ones.

@Slashkice:

Not sure about GOTY, since the gameplay is quite limited (although the unique Phone Trigger system does bring something new to the gameplay table). But then again, if games like The Walking Dead and The Last of Us can win GOTY mainly for their stories, then why not Steins Gate? Steins Gate quite easily has the best-written storyline I've seen from any game released last-gen, along with meaningful choices & consequences.

#42 Edited by Gue1 (9492 posts) -

@AznbkdX said:

I've only watched the series. Is that fairly close to what this will be like except with way more words?

If so it probably will be some good shit. Steins Gate is pretty cool even if you already know about a few theories of time. I had a kick out of it and even found some of the story to be actually surprising.

it's nearly the same thing. But nothing about the story was surprising to me. In fact, its main gimmick (and main attraction about the story) was taken from The Butterfly Effect, which Madoka already used too. =/

#43 Posted by osirisx3 (1756 posts) -

@Jag85: Ignoring the remakes there is School days, summer days, crossdays and the upcoming island days.

#44 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -
@Gue1 said:

@AznbkdX said:

I've only watched the series. Is that fairly close to what this will be like except with way more words?

If so it probably will be some good shit. Steins Gate is pretty cool even if you already know about a few theories of time. I had a kick out of it and even found some of the story to be actually surprising.

it's nearly the same thing. But nothing about the story was surprising to me. In fact, its main gimmick (and main attraction about the story) was taken from The Butterfly Effect, which Madoka already used too. =/

Actually, some visual novels have been using a similar time-travel element from before The Butterfly Effect, like with, for example, YU-NO, Ever 17, Higurashi, and Clannad, as well as the adventure game Shadow of Memories. As for Madoka, that released two years after the Steins Gate visual novel (which originally came out in 2009). Either way, what really matters is the execution, characterization, and writing, which is where Steins Gate surpasses nearly all other time-travel stories.

#45 Posted by Jacanuk (4198 posts) -

"An example of the best that games have to offer." Ummm...

Ya its not a game so ya i puzzle over that statement also.

#46 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

Most visual novels are indeed video games, for the reasons I've already explained over at the other thread on the Games board.

#47 Posted by AdrianWerner (27983 posts) -

VN of the year? I'm not so sure. The year is still young. We'll have to see what else will get officialy translated. Cartagra and Kara no Shoujo 2 are coming after all and both might end up being better.

Still, great to see another excellent VN getting release.

#48 Posted by CountBleck12 (22649 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@hoplayletsplay:

Fate/Stay Night can be pretty hard to finish, considering how much dialogue it has (last I checked, the word count is over a million words). Steins;Gate's script length is around half that size, but has better-written storytelling. Still, while not as long as F/SN, S;G is still a pretty long game.

As for Katawa Shoujo, I've never played it, but heard a lot about it. Would you recommend it?

Don't, it has shitty dating sims like most anime dating "games".

#49 Edited by Jag85 (4365 posts) -

Another review:

Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate takes place during the summer of 2010, and is set in the Tokyo district of Akihabara. The protagonist, and narrator of the story, Okabe Rintaro, is a bit of an oddball that fancies himself to be a mad scientist. Okabe has constructed an elaborate backstory for himself, but for all his delusions of grandeur and penchant for conspiracies he is actually just an 18 year old student at Tokyo Denki University.

Together with his scatterbrained childhood friend, Shiina Mayuri, and fellow university student, Daru, Okabe spends most of his time hanging out at the "Future Gadget Laboratory." The laboratory is actually just the space above a CRT shop that Okabe is renting for cheap, but the trio actually manages to invent a machine that can send messages to the past. This accidental discovery sets in motion a chain of events that is more incredible than any of the convoluted flights of imagination that Okabe is fond of indulging in.

Steins;Gate is a visual novel, so to say any more about the plot would be like spoiling a good book. I was fortunate enough to have never watched or read anything about the game, so I experienced everything it had to offer without any preconceived notions or expectations. The game was originally released in 2009, so it has taken quite a while for the official English translation, but it has been more than worth the wait. I have played some great visual novels in my time, but Steins;Gate is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best.

The game actually starts off a little slow, but the characters are so great that it is impossible not to get caught up in their story. Okabe is quite an eccentric character, but the way that he reverts to his mad scientist persona or bestows people with unwanted nicknames actually makes him quite memorable if not endearing. All of the characters are really fleshed out, and while some conform to the usual stereotypes, they really grow on you as the game unfolds. This is all thanks to the outstanding writing and great translation. The game promises over 30 hours of story and this is certainly no idle boast. To unlock all six different endings, and view all the branches that the story has, actually takes a lot longer. The amount of text that had to be translated is quite amazing, and I was impressed throughout by how well it was done.

Steins;Gate uses a very unique art style, where the hair and clothes of the characters has an almost grungy texture. The character designs are great, and while most of the game is set in and around Akhibara, there are still plenty of locations. Animation is mostly restricted to the facial expressions, but this doesn't detract from the beauty of the artwork. The audio is very good, with quality voice acting that can be appreciated even if you don't understand a word of Japanese. The game also has a nice selection of background music that fit the mood of each scene perfectly.

Unlike most visual novels, where you usually have to make a choice between two options in order to branch the storyline, Steins;Gate employs a different technique. Okabe carries his mobile phone with him at all times and constantly receives phone calls or emails. You can answer or ignore these calls, and reply to certain highlighted parts of the emails, which then influences the ending you get. It is a very unique and unobtrusive method of making choices, and there were times where I almost didn't realize that I could change events by opening up the phone and making a call.

While the game starts off very light-hearted, it soon becomes mysterious before taking a very dark turn towards the end. Steins;Gate certainly knows how to make you care for characters before placing them in peril. I was impressed by the growth that the lead character shows throughout the game, and even some of the "minor" characters are very memorable. The game isn't afraid to inject a lot of slang, otaku terminology, and even scientific principles into conversations, but come with a handy "hints" section that serves as a dictionary. Although there isn't any outright sex or nudity, the game has enough blood, violence and language to ensure that it is suitable for mature audiences only.

Overall, there is very little that I can fault about Steins;Gate. If you are a fan of visual novels, then you really have no excuse to pick this one up. It offers many hours of engrossing and intriguing gameplay that will keep you hooked right to the end. Despite the length of the game, it also offers a lot of replay value with the six different endings to unlock and even a bunch of achievements. If you want a visual novel with a really in-depth storyline and memorable characters we simply cannot recommend Steins;Gate enough. It is quite obvious that a lot of effort went into bringing this title to English speaking audiences, and for that the publishers deserve a lot of respect.

  • Gameplay: Not only is the story excellent, but there is actually a surprising amount of choices for a visual novel.
  • Graphics: The artwork and character designs are beautiful.
  • Sound: The original Japanese voice acting is very good, and the music is equally great.

Steins;Gate started off quite interesting, and had me hooked with its unique story, but by the end I was literally on the edge of my seat. Although it is quite a long game, there is literally never a dull moment. The use of a mobile phone to make choices, and branch the story is a stroke of genius, and with six different endings there is a lot of replay value. If you want to experience a visual novel with plenty of action, drama, suspense and outstanding characters, then don't miss out on Steins;Gate.

#50 Posted by Yoshi9000 (386 posts) -

Man I really want to play this game. I'm so glad it's been released in the west. I debated on whether or not to watch the anime or play the visual novel, but I have to go with the game, I'm sure it's the superior experience because of the choices you can make, and it's the original. Considering I loved 999 and virtues last reward, this should be an awesome game for me.