Game Review: STEINS;GATE 0 (Nintendo Switch)

After being released onto the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita by PQube Games, and then later released onto STEAM via SPIKE CHUNSOFT, STEINS;GATE 0 makes its welcome debut on Nintendo’s hybrid console but how does this Switch version of the game fare from those previously released? Sadly we won’t know the answer; but let’s take a look at what it has to offer anyway.

Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
Developer: 5pb
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Resolution: 1920 X 1080
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (3.9 GB)

Our View:

Developed by 5pb and published by Spike Chunsoft within Europe and North America, STEINS;GATE 0 is the continuation, alternate ending and expansion into the STEINS;GATE universe that explores what would have happened if Rintaro Okabe was unable to save Makise Kurisu during that fateful day at the radio building. It’s a story that follows anxiety and depression through the eyes of Okabe as well as an alternate way for world war three to commence; but more importantly than that it further expands the STEINS;GATE universe into alternate timelines and stories that far exceed what you what come to expect from the franchise.

Naturally the biggest hurdle of STEINS;GATE 0 is not the visual novel presentation, of which remains firmly to the roots of telling a story through voice-over and artwork with little interaction from the player, but it is the required understanding of STEINS;GATE or STEINS;GATE ELITE. Those who have not experienced the original story, whether it be through the game or anime series, will be left confused on what this continuation has to offer. Important plot points from the original story, as well as characters, will be mentioned throughout and while helpful hits and flashbacks will offer some value it pales in comparison to understanding the original concept of the story.

Regardless; if you look past this potential oversight then STEINS;GATE 0 is an absolute thrill ride of excitement and suspense that stands on its own merits from that of the original. STEINS;GATE 0 may initially begin as an alternate possibility of the original story but after the opening dialogue it soon spirals into its own story that shifts focus from the Time Leap, Time Machine and D-Mail to that of a brand new system known as Amadeus.

The Amadeus system is a self-contained artificial intelligence created by Maho Hiyajo and Makise Kurisu that uses human memories to create that AI personality, and during a presentation Okabe manages to experience this system for himself and is soon introduced to an AI variation of Kurisu. The story of STEINS;GATE 0 moves forward to see Okabe interact with this Amadeus vriation of Kurisu as well as become better acquainted with Maho, but in doing so open’s a paradoras box that is the start of World War III with Russian, North American and Rounders appearing at random interveals to steal data that Maho has in her procession.

Unlike the anime series, which spawned as a result of this visual novel, the game offers further insight into the minds of varying different characters as well as further refines different story elements. Additionally we also get a deeper look into the mindset of Suzuha and the difficultities tha she has had to overcome when time travelling to the year 2010. For instance Suzuha had travelled through time with Kagari, an adopted daughter of Mayuri in the future, who went missing during their travels and she makes her appearance within 2010 to stop Suzuha from archiving her goal of stopping World War III from starting while at the same time protecting the present Mayuri from harm. These alternative stories, albeit touched upon in the anime, are further refined and explored in this visual novel experience.

Okabe’s mindset, Suzuha’s mission, Maho’s obsession and the truth behind the time machine and world war III, collide to create an invigorating story that gets darker, twisted and more entertaining the further it goes on; but be advised this isn’t a straight forward and simple story that one may think. Although STEINS;GATE 0 is linear and requires little interaction from the player different endings can be achieved upon completing (or interacting at set points within the game). These will not immiediately be noticeable on a first playthrough; but they will be required to obtain the true ending of the story.

Although STEINS;GATE 0 delivers an exceptional story, one that has kept me engrossed despite watching the anime a few months prior, this Nintendo Switch release of the game does have a fair amount of localisation issues. For starters line breaks appear frequently throughout the game and as such you’ll often see words split across two lines as opposed to being on the same line. It’s not something I have ever encountered in a ‘final product’ but it does raise concerns on the quality assurance process – especially considering how many times it happens throughout the game.

STEINS;GATE 0 on the Nintendo Switch brings the alternate STEINS;GATE story to Nintendo’s Hybrid console and it is well catered to the device due to its ‘switching capabilities’ and makes for the perfect platform choice for this type of game. The story, the artwork and the characters are all fantastic; but it is a disappointment that this quality wasn’t passed on to the games localisation presentation as it does become problematic at times. STEINS;GATE 0 is an invigorating experience and further expands the franchise; but it does require some knowledge of the original story in order to be enjoyed.

Score: review-stars-4

STEINS;GATE 0 is available digitally from the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo Switch.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK, but in the past he has produced content for ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

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