Steins;Gate 0 review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4
Publisher: PQUBE
Developer: MAGES/5pb/Nitroplus
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

The first Steins;Gate game is widely seen as one of the greatest visual novels of all time. Pretty much everyone who played it raved about the characters, the plot, the themes — you name it, someone, somewhere probably thought it was praiseworthy.

I…wasn’t a fan. It wasn’t that I hated the game as a whole so much as I found main character Rintaro Okabe to excruciatingly obnoxious. It had some fine ideas, but I felt they were weighed down by the fact that you had to read about those ideas through the filter of a boorish, misanthropic jerk.

Steins;Gate 0 is, if anything, even more widely praised. And, naturally, I’m even less of a fan of this game than I was of the original.

My problem, not too surprisingly, is pretty much the same as it was the first time around: Rintaro Okabe is still unbearable. In fact, if anything he’s even more unpleasant now, since the tragedy that befell him in one of the first game’s endings has given his personality an annoying emo tinge on top of the misanthropy. Much like last time, the net effect when he’s narrating is that you’re hearing a fantastic story through the most grating filter imaginable.

Luckily, somewhere along the line someone realized that they didn’t need to follow the first game’s formula all that strictly, and that they had more characters through which they could tell their story that Okabe. Consequently, this means you get a look at the story from a few different perspectives, all of which are far less obnoxious than what you experience through Okabe, and all of which make the game’s exploration of time travel and A.I. much more compelling.

Or, at least, it’ll be compelling to people who loved the world of the original Steins;Gate and are desperate for more. If you don’t have that background, then Steins;Gate 0 will seem mostly incomprehensible to you. It makes the occasional half-hearted stab at explaining what you’re reading, but for the most part, this story is all about moving things forward. Not only that, it does so through the kind of massive info dumps that tend to typify some visual novels — and your mileage will undoubtedly vary in terms of how much you like that sort of thing.

As you probably guessed, I’m not a huge fan. But then again, I wasn’t a huge fan of the original, which should tell you how much you should care about my opinion if you were a fan of the first Steins;Gate. And if you were, I feel quite confident in saying that you need to pick up Steins;Gate 0 ASAP.

Grade: B-