February 3, 2012

Game review: Steins;Gate

Made by: Nitroplus, 5pb
Genre: Mystery, Scifi, Drama
Summary: A mad scientist, one conspiracy theory,  and a murder. This is where it starts.
El Psy Congroo.

Okabe Rintaro
(also known as Okarin and "true name" Hououin Kyouma) is a self proclaimed mad scientist. His delusional mind is full of conspiracy theories about a certain Secret Organization, which is the source of evil in this world. The story starts off with Okarin going to a conference about time traveling with his friend Mayuri.
After several shocking events, the scientist ends up finding the famous "genius girl" Makise Kurisu, dead. Running outside, his vision gets blurry, sweat starts running down his face and suddenly the whole world stops for a brief second. When Mayuri calls his name again, everything speeds up to normal. But it's not normal. In fact, nothing is normal again.

When Okarin turns around a huge satellite is smashed right into the building of they just left. Mayuri says the presentation never happened at all because of the accident and he later meets Kurisu on the way home, safe and sound and far from dead.

Makise Kurisu
The beautiful genius girl who joins Okabe's team. She is calm, composed later in the game gets the tsundere-tag. Okabe likes to annoy her by calling her pervert and other nicknames which she dislikes. Kurisu is the true ending of Steins:Gate and overall I really enjoyed her character. She is the most realistic out of the bunch, even if she can come off as being a Mary Sue at times.

Mayuri Shiina
"Tutturu~♪" Mayuri is a very innocent and sweet girl whom known Okarin since they were young. She is very childish and an airhead which is a very cute combination compared to Okabe's seriousness (or should I say, delusional seriousness.) She got a signature pose where she holds her hands towards the sky, something she does to keep the hope going and literally "reaching for the stars". During the game many unfair things will happen to Mayuri, making me wonder if the writers maybe had a grudge against her? Either way, she is a very sweet girl and her happy ending was one of the better. 
Suzuha AmaneA young lady with braided hair. She is searching for her father while working for the landlord at Okarin's flat. She soon turns out to be hiding more secrets than you first would think.

Rumiho Akiha (Faris Nyannyan)
A sweet and charming girl who works at the maid café together with Mayuri.
She is very teasing and playful, and likes to play along with Okarins delusions. Faris route felt pretty short compared to the others, but taking the fact that she feels like one of the more "regular" background characters, I'm not surprised.

Ruka Urushibara
At first look seems like a beautiful shrine maiden, but when finding out the she is actually a he, many people are shocked. Ruka is very quiet and polite and have had a secret crush on Okabe since a while back. His route is about choosing your own happiness over others and that it is alright to be selfish at times.

Moeka Kiryū
A quiet girl with a cellphone. She is looking for a computer. ????


Steins;Gate uses a phone to trigger the events and to make choices instead of the usual boxes that appear. You can take out your phone at any time and read email etc, but when there are choices to make you can call anyone, send an email or selecting a keyword from your notes/emails to trigger certain routes. It's easy to predicts what to do in the beginning of the game, but later on it gets harder so I recommend using a guide if you want to achieve your prefer route. The game also got achievements and tips, something I haven't seen in a visual novel before.

Final Score:
Story 8/10

A game that starts out very slow and gentle, up until chapter 5. You can actually almost say the whole story up until that part have been a prologue. The way the story moves from light to very very dark is so well done that you can't help but get caught up in it. Story itself can at first look seem confusing, with alternative timelines, characters from the future and secret organizations, but it's not hard to find well explained summaries online if you feel dizzy after finishing all the routes. It's kind of hard to tell anything else without spoiling the entire story, so I'll just leave it as this.

Music 6/10
To be honest, I didn't think the soundtrack was anything special. The usual selection of bgm with a few impressive tracks.
Art 10/10
I'm just in love with the Huke in general, so playing this game was a real treat for me. His trademark shining eyes together with the dark coloring and grungy texture on top looked lovely through the whole game.

Voices 8/10 Mamoru does a really great job as a delusional mad scientist (even though I couldn't help but think of some other of his characters while listening). Kana Hanazawa is a personal favorite of mine and her role as Mayuri was really cute.

Total: 8/10
A very well written and well made game from 5bp/Nitro+. The story might come off as confusing but don't let it scare you away. The plot, artwork, characters and mad scientist together are all worth your time. Tutturu!


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