Eric Kelly On April 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Stein Gates 08Steins;Gate was released back in 2009 to the PC, and over the years it’s seen many ports to other platforms and even got a manga and anime series, most of which have never made it over to the West. The game even got a retooled versions and a sequel of sorts. However, the only format that made it overseas was the anime about a few years ago. That is until now. 5 Years after its release, the original PC version makes its way to the West. It’s interesting as the publisher JASTUSA typically specializes in hentai games. Although they have been dipping into non-eroge territory lately. And I’m grateful, as Steins;Gate is one of the better Visual Novels that I’ve experienced.

Experience is the keyword, as those who know anything about Visual Novels know that there no gameplay save for clicking and reading text and listening to dialog accompanied by visuals. Visual Novels live and die and their ability to draw on the attentions of its audience, and I’m happy to say that the story is very well done considering the content of its subject matter. The game’s plot is about a young University student named Okabe Rintaro, who after attending a conference at Radio Kaikan, finds a dead body on another floor. After calling for an ambulance and texting his friend about it, he unknowingly sets off a chain of events that will have him doing time travel to fix the timeline that he unwittingly had warped. Okabe himself is somewhat of a delusional 19 year old who fancies himself as some kind of mad scientist bent on bringing the world to chaos, imagining that there is a large conspiracy from an Organization that secretly controls the world. Of which he claims to be on the run from. So there’s also paranoia going for him. The funny thing is, he’s not too far off the mark. To his ends though, he and friends have a club of sorts called Future Gadgets Laboratory where they develop technology in hopes of combating this threat.

That’s the basic plot without spoiling too much. But the game despite its age, has a well done story, with an interesting take on time travel. The game will often throw out terminology which might be unfamiliar to players. Thankfully there is an in-game lexicon to explain all of them. It’s pretty interesting learning about all kinds of Japanese internet otaku culture, as well as all of the science terminology and theories out there. But the game being made in 2009 is a bit dated, still holds up a bit, even if some aspects are now incorrect. Like some theories might have been altered, or the fact that Radio Kaikan was demolished in 2011, and only now is it near being completely rebuilt. This was done because the building wasn’t up to code on the new earthquake resistant standards. And technically the game takes place in 2010, so it might be easier to see this as an alternate timeline, or worldline, as the game also has a take on the many-worlds theory. The game does take about a good 3 hours before it really gets going, but once it does it doesn’t let up. Stick with it. It’s also fairly long for a Visual Novel coming in at about 30-50 hours depending on whether you go for its multiple endings.

The interface for the game is interesting for a Visual Novel. Most VN’s have you make all path altering decisions by a simple choice made in the dialog box. This game incorporates the use of Okabe’s cell-phone to do that: Either by sending or receiving calls, or replying to email keywords. You can even change the wallpaper and ringtones for the phone. The game also makes extensive use of hot-keys. But if you forget them, you can just right click with the mouse to bring up a help list. The music is also very well done and set the mood for every part of the game. The voices over are also well known Japanese voice actors, and their talent shows in the game. Shame there wasn’t a budget for a localized audio track option though, as the English dub for the anime was well received. The art style uses an interesting pattern for the character’s eyes, and there hair and clothes use a texturing technique that looks marble-y. It’s kind of a shame that the credits were left untranslated, as I’d like to know the team behind this great experience. I do hope that the game does sell well, as I’d like to see the other versions and Chaos;Head and Robotics:Notes also make the jump. This Visual Novel is definitely worth the $30 digital and $40 physical price tag. The limited edition runs for $50, but the standard edition is due out on April 30th, and the game will take up 2.4 GB of hard drive space. If you want a good story, you can’t go wrong with Steins;Gate.


As a Visual Novel, all that you do is read the story as it unfolds, but it’s a pretty good take on time travel, with lots of scientific theory and otaku culture thrown in.


The character designs are pretty good, with an interest shading technique for their hair and clothing textures. There is text that syncs with the voice acted dialog, to go along with the mouth movements.


The voice acting is great, although it’s in Japanese only, and there’s a great soundtrack to the game.


A Visual Novel with a great story and multiple endings. There’s also a great lexicon to help people understand the terminology if needed.

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