Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram review for PS4, PC

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC
Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
Developer: Mages./5pb
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Much like the previous titles in the Steins;Gate series, Linear Bounded Phenogram has no actual gameplay. This time, we have not one, but eleven different stories to follow in the Steins;Gate universe. Sadly, these stories do not connect with one another to form a much larger connection. In fact there really isn’t a connection to anything. The creator, Chiyomaru Shikura, allowed a group of other writers to bring new ideas to the series after the main story was completed. Writers like Naotaka Hayashi, who had worked on previous Science Adventure titles supervised the story, and Kotaro Uchikoshi, whose writing for was influenced by the anime series Code Geass, all participated in bringing this to life.

While the writing and direction of many of the characters is good, it falls a bit short when compared to the original story. The fact they do not intertwine means that you can begin Linear Bounded from any point you wish. First timers may be a little confused with what they are presented with, and overall I found most of the stories were somewhat stale. I wasn’t as fully immersed as I was with the original, but that’s not to say they are bad. You will still be somewhat entertained, just don’t expect to be completely satisfied.

The game is played exactly the same way as Steins;Gate Elite, you watch a story and occasionally make decisions to send the characters on a different path. Since there are a total of eleven different stories, be prepared to spend upwards up to 37 to 40 hours if you wish to see all of the paths you can take. Again. no matter what your decisions are, the stories and characters will never meet or co-mingle, so you shouldn’t expect a huge pay off at the end.

Voice acting once again is in Japanese with subtitles, and once again everything is beautifully detailed just like before. No problems with the presentation at all. It really feels like a Steins;Gate title with all of the care and devotion you would expect. The presentation is truly how you know you are experiencing stories from the this twisted universe!

While Linear Bounded Phenogram is presented well, it’s simply not as good or satisfying as Steins;Gate Elite. I found myself just skipping through much of the dialog in hopes of getting to a heart pounding scene, but never really got what  was looking for. There are some intense moments here and there, but it takes a long time to get there, and the road to them is long and rather dull at times.  While it is well crafted and different, I can only recommend this to the true Steins;Gate fans who are hungry for more.

Note: Spike Chunsoft provided us with a Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B-