In the visual novel genre, Steins;Gate is easily one of the more well-known and regarded entries. So when it was announced that a follow-up entitled Steins;Gate 0 would be hitting western shores on the PS4 & PlayStation Vita in late 2016, the fan expectations for the title were high to say the least. Now that PC owners will get the chance to play this entry on their platform, how does the port fair?
(Please note that the remainder of this review will have open spoilers for Steins;Gate.)
In the original Steins;Gate the protagonist, Okabe Rintaro, keeps going back in time to prevent the one he loves, Makise Kurisu, from dying and in turn preventing World War III from occurring. His many initial attempts end in failure and it isn’t until he sees a video of himself from the future that tells him to “trick” the world into order to save Kurisu. It is by doing this during the game’s finale that he closes the time loop and is still able to save the one he loves.
Steins;Gate 0 has the player play as the Okabe who failed to save Kurisu and shows what happened to have this Okabe create the video which eventually led to the original game’s true ending. Thus, the game expects the player to have played the original to its completion and remember the plot points along the way — this Okabe in specific is faced with dealing not only with the loss of the love of his life, but also the numerous deaths Mayuri encountered in Okabe’s seemingly fruitless efforts to save Kurisu. Put all together, it creates a very different mood than the original and makes this entry not feel like a rehash of the original.
For the most part, many of the new characters are integrated well into the game’s narrative. Those such as the new character Maho are given a large amount of screen time, but other characters such as newcomer Kagari feel underutilized unless the story demands it and thus will likely feel confusing to follow for most players until they are near the end of the game and can piece everything together. It’s still a gripping narrative nonetheless, but it’s not as coherent as the original.
As far as the PC port goes, Steins;Gate 0 is a bit of a mixed bag. The Japanese-only assets are translated into English unlike the PS4 & PlayStation Vita versions. But like the PS4 version, the text’s font size isn’t sized for the display and instead is a blown-up version of the Vita’s font. This is more of an issue with the PC release, as you’re much closer to monitor than you would be to a TV display. During my time reviewing the game, I couldn’t find an option to adjust this either.
For those that already played the original PS4 or PlayStation Vita versions, there isn’t really anything here outside of the newly translated assets that will warrant a replay. For everyone else, this technically is the best version content-wise, but the text scaling issue may be a big enough problem to turn some away towards the other versions of the game.Steins;Gate 0 was reviewed using a PC Digital Copy provided by Spike Chunsoft. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|Assets that were untranslated in the prior versions are translated into English in this port.|
|While not up to the heights of the original, it’s still a gripping narrative.|
|Not much to entice a repurchase if you’ve played the prior versions, outside of the newly translated assets.|
|The font scaling issue is magnified in this version due to most players sitting closer to their monitor, which may turn some off from playing the port.|