Steins; Gate 0 - Analysis

Author: Albert Manjón
Date: 2020-07-30 22:56:45
Finally the Steins sequel arrives on the Sony desktop and laptop; Gate, the visual novel that landed a season ago on various platforms. In this Steins; Gate 0 the story is taken up again where the first installment left him, that moment in which Okabe Rintarou fails in his mission to save Makise Kurisu. We will not go into spoilers with what is, and claims to be, the only incentive of this game. However, this type of visual novels and more specifically the one that concerns us, are so far from the concept of a video game, that analyzing this installment lacks much of its meaning as it is a sequel with a very specific audience. Therefore, let's approach this entry from the perspective of those of you who do not know the genre or what surrounds this saga, and put all the cards on the table regarding the value proposition of this supposed video game.

But all this begins to stagger strongly when this entire universe jumps the fence and sneaks into the field of the video game. For the umpteenth time we are assaulted by the same questions . What determines that a digital production can be considered as a video game or not? What is a video game? How transparent and moldable is that barrier? Steins; Gate 0 is one of those games cataloged as visual novels but the truth is that there is a universe between this title and others, being the first to come to our memory Hotel Dusk: Room 215 developed by the Japanese Cing a few years ago for Nintendo DS.

While the common denominator of the visual novels is their null or limited gameplay, the rest of the elements are responsible for leading the player's immersion in the game. Without that immersion, without the emotion, without the complicity between the game and the player, the spark does not exist and the pillar collapses. In Steins; Gate 0, again, non-existent gameplay is brought to its peak. The game lacks any playable element, it simply leaves in the hands of the player a limited number of decisions that will determine the future of the story and, therefore, its end . It is possible to spend hours simply pressing the X jumping from text to text and from static image to static image inducing the player to a deep state of torpor. Not even the beautiful illustrations of Ryohei Fuke (Huke) manage to liven up the stupor in which players who are not terribly clear about the value proposition of this game will be plunged.

And it's in his narrative where Steins; Gate 0 puts all the meat on the grill. However, the game once again presents some topical and predictable characters with which it is difficult to empathize, making this installment a very difficult game to digest for anyone who is not tremendously aligned with the saga. To make matters worse, the visual novel arrives in perfect English and in this case it can be said that it is directly shameful to allow the publication of this type of electronic entertainment product with access to the general public without translation into the local language . An English not excessively simple and that makes access to the game even more difficult for a segment of players who might have shown interest in it. Additionally, there are initiatives such as the Gate of Steiner that work on translating the game texts to make their already difficult digestion easier.

That the greatest value proposition of Steins; Gate 0 is its history and, therefore, its texts and that these are not translated, denotes a great lack of respect towards all those non-English speaking players . Can you imagine an FPS without weapons? A soccer simulator without a ball? That's Steins; Gate 0, a Super Mario without Mario, a Sonic without Sonic, a video game without a game. In the world of cinema or literature, the user has the option of choosing whether to enjoy the work in its original language or in the local language translation . We find it difficult to conceive of a Ghibli film reaching the shelves of department stores simply with an English translation . In the event that this happens, the public will be responsible for punishing the product with the same indifference with which the product tries to treat the user. But in the world of video games that does not happen and we continue to witness disastrous actions like the one we bring you today. As long as we continue to accept products in this state, progress towards standardization in terms of translation will not be achieved.

Finally, and once finished, the game invites us to go through a large part of its dialogues again in search of alternative routes to discover new situations. As extras we will have a not inconsiderable amount of notes that we will have the opportunity to read, as well as videos and animations. It highlights the developer's low confidence in their own additional content when they motivate the player with trophies simply by accessing each section of additional content.

That is why Steins; Gate 0 is and will continue to be a niche game, very specifically designed for that player profile that knows in advance the virtues, which are many, of the history of Okabe Rintarou and Makise Kurisu. But for the rest of Steins players, Gate 0 is directly a bad choice at a not inconsiderable price of 44.95EUR on PS4 and 34.95 on PS Vita.