Let’s not beat around the bush, Steins;Gate is a very well acclaimed visual novel, and this follow-up, Steins;Gate 0 is a worthy entry into the main series. Adopting the same format, world and style as the original Steins;Gate, those looking for a lengthy time-twisting visual novel will not be disappointed. The story takes place during the events of the ending of the original game, and runs away with a cast of interesting characters and signature non-linear storytelling that is done incredibly well, thanks to Steins;Gate 0’s dynamic visual novel format.
While a simple concept on paper, the story quickly takes a dark turn where you’re able to tackle the aftermath of the original game, and it will be nigh-on impossible to understand without prior knowledge. For those looking for an entry point into the series, the original Steins;Gate is definitely the best option here. The plot weaves and bobs, and quickly turns into a meditation on death and trauma, with different strands of a time-travel plot that will leave you quickly hooked. It’s difficult to elaborate further without completely and utterly spoiling every plot detail.
Your influence and interactivity within the story leaves a little to be desired; while Steins;Gate 0 has a fantastic plot, there is very little interaction by way of picking one plot thread to follow or another, which is where you split the “timeline” - this ensures that if you want to understand the full picture, then you’re going to have to make multiple save files. Thankfully, they’re all worth going through thanks to the strength of character writing and overall narrative.
The soundtrack often compliments the eerie and unsettling nature of the game, and gives fantastic flourishes. In addition to an incredibly strong localisation, as well as gorgeous art, it’s easy to lose hours to Steins;Gate 0 without even blinking. With good performance while docked and undocked, it makes it easy to tear through the game, so long as you’re paying attention.
While the game is incredibly gripping, be prepared to read through thousands of words to get to the heart of it. While some visual novels often deliver other elements like fanservice or a quasi-dating simulator baked within the game, Steins;Gate 0 is focused and delivers an immensely fun and gripping visual novel experience that’s not marred by any trashy dating-sim elements that so many in the genre are littered with.