Altair and Vega.
It was a little over a year ago that I reviewed the original Steins;Gate.
I called it a master class in storytelling, and proclaimed it to be one of my favorite stories of all time, not just in gaming, but in all of fiction.
So when they announced a sequel, I was ecstatic and filled with anticipation on where the story could go from there.
However, at the same time, I felt uneasy, as the original was so good, I didn’t know if the follow-up could possibly live up to it.
Luckily, after fully unraveling the tale presented in Steins;Gate 0, I can say with confidence that my fears were unfounded, as the developers at 5pb and Nitroplus have put forth an interquel that not only does the original justice, it somehow manages to enhance it.
Voice Acting: Japanese Only.
Length: 26~ hours
Contrary to what the zero in the title would suggest, this is not a prequel, as it is in fact an interquel, meaning that it details events that took place during the course of the original game that were hidden away.
Given the nature of Steins;Gate and its use of time travel and alternative world lines, it’s a perfect fit for the narrative and manages to fill in some of the gaps that were left open-ended in the original.
However, because of this fact, Steins;Gate 0 should not be viewed as a standalone experience, and a playthrough or understanding of the original should be considered mandatory before tackling it.
Since the entirety of the enjoyment of zero depends on its story, I won’t spoil a single thing except for the fact that a new concept is introduced into the mix that turns the whole thing upside down in the form of AI (artificial intelligence).
As was the case for the concept of time travel, the theory behind a true AI is once more masterfully built on a foundation of reality to make its interpretation of it seem plausible.
It analyzes the various conflicts within the theory of AIs and presents elegant solutions, and by correlating them to the various studies done in the real world along with the popular preconceptions we hold, it changes what is otherwise “impossible” to “improbable” and within that difference between 0% to 0.000000000001% is the entirely of the world itself.
The other significant change in story telling is the frequent shifts in perspective, as the original mostly took place through the eyes of the main character.
The constant shift from one character to another felt a bit chaotic at first, but in the end it helped in making suspenseful scenes feel even more tense, and the emotional ones all the more easier to relate to, knowing exactly what was going through their heads.
Thanks to the great writing and well developed characters, I was thoroughly invested in all the events that transpired in zero. In one moment, I found my eyes welling up with tears, and in another I was grinning from ear to ear as I clenched my fists in excitement.
It’s a veritable roller coaster ride of emotions, and the writers behind this series deserve more praise than my meager vocabulary can muster.
If I had one notable complaint to make, it would be that the translation effort seemed a bit lackluster, as I noticed more than a handful of spelling and grammatical errors throughout my playtime. In fact, I even noticed an instance where some of the text wasn’t even translated, which came to me as a surprise.
Regardless of the mistakes in the translation, Steins;Gate 0 is a worthy follow up to one of my favorite stories in all of fiction, and enhances the original by further expanding its narrative scope and filling in the gaps that were left open-ended. Those who have played Steins;Gate or watched the anime should already know well enough to pick up zero, so I’ll take this opportunity to firmly recommend the original again and again and again and again and again.
As many times as it takes.
Fun Tidbit – I’ve contacted publisher, PQUBE about the translation errors including the untranslated scene and they’ve informed me that they’re currently working on it.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.