Steins;Gate Elite (Switch) Review
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PS4
Developer/Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
Release: 19th February 2019
So, story-wise, it´s still Steins;Gate and pretty much the whole original visual novel without any changes. We follow Okabe, a mad scientist, and his group of equally strange friends, like the Tuturu-ing Mayushii. Since the story is the same, it´s still one of the best experiences you can get in this genre, that successfully tells an intriguing time travel story with surprisingly many sides and twists.
In contrast to the popular anime, which does a pretty great job at capturing this story, Steins;Gate Elite and the original game feature your typical routes for each of the main heroines, altering the story and especially last third accordingly. The series only chose one with a few changes, as well as letting out the necessary scenes to properly adapt it in another medium. Now, Elite practically adapts the adaptation … weird, kinda. In order to do so, this edition uses all anime scenes that cover scenes from the visual novel and edits them accordingly, so the player can have an experience similar to the original but with the bonus of having animated images. On the other hand, routes feature completely new animations, they´re one of the biggest differences after all.
The result is often … surprisingly good. While I was a huge fan of the original artstyle, the anime isn´t bad by any means, especially due to the directing that still shines due to the animation. Given, pausing animations every few seconds for every new line can be quite abrupt and stiff but with the appropriate auto-read settings, it works quite well. Even the additional scenes don´t differ much from the original anime quality.
Honestly, on a merely technical level, Steins;Gate Elite is very competent at what it does, I can´t deny that. It provides animated versions for all original scenes and is able to copy the pacing of the anime, while integrating it into another medium. Yet, what I don´t understand is why it exists. I hoped by playing it, I would find something unique, cool or outstanding that would justify its existence other than “it was possible”. Unfortunately, I couldn´t. All in all, it doesn´t look better or “worse”, it simply exists and after all these years even asks full price, a move I simply can´t understand an I´m sitting here, trying to figure out anything I truly loved at this edition … I simply couldn´t.
Steins;Gate fans will probably be reminded by now, that Elite comes with special bonus “games” though, the 30 hour side story visual novel Linear Bounded Phenogram for PS4 and PC and 8-bit Steins;Gate for Switch. Why not both for every
I just can´t find a fitting justification, even after completing Elite in its entirety. It´s an experience not worth 60 bucks, especially not for big fans, the animation just isn´t unique enough since it replaces a beautiful artstyle. So, for who is this? For people who saw the anime? They probably won´t drop the full price, same with fans. Still, it´s good at what it does, no one asked for it though.
[A Review Code was provided by Spike Chunsoft]