Not Quite Final Thoughts on “Steins;Gate”

So, at about 13 or so hours into the game, I hit the first opportunity — I think — to end the game in “Steins;Gate”. I had been debating whether I was just going to end the game if I got to an ending or keep going, but what I decided to do here was to save the game first and continue on to the ending, and then come back and continue from the save point. But the ending was surprisingly satisfying.

Roughly, the game sets up a situation where someone goes back in time to get an item that can save Mayuri, but things go wrong and the character fails and things … turn out really badly for them. The main character can undo that and have them go back early when they would have succeeded, but the character would lose a lot of good experiences doing that. But not doing that would end up with Mayuri being killed in the main timeline. So the first choice is to refuse to do that, but to instead have the main character lock themselves into a two day timeloop so that neither of the events will ever happen. This starts to turn the main character in a hollow shell with dark thoughts, and the character notices this because he looks like the people in the dystopian future the character came from. The character then convinces the main character to go back into the past along with them in the hopes that things might be different and that they might actually be able to craft a future where Mayuri doesn’t die, which the main character accepts.

This is the first ending that you can access — as far as I know — and it’s one that it’s pretty obvious what the “right” solution is, so most players will simply skip it. Yet, it’s surprisingly detailed, hinting at one of the downsides of time travel and also implying that maybe in the future these sorts of things would be happening to the people in that dystopian future, which could suggest that control is kept there by looping time and everyone is subconsciously reacting as the main character is. It’s also satisfying because while it’s not the “true ending”, it’s also hopeful because the move might indeed make everything better and avert the bad timeline (the game doesn’t say whether it does or not). It also follows from the tough choice of having to have Mayuri die or have the character lose a lot of experiences and be despondent and friendless, although doing so averts some nasty consequences for the character.

So, since it’s a pretty good ending from my perspective, I’m at least putting a pause on this game and making other games my main focus. So let me talk about this game a bit more now in case I don’t get back to it anytime soon.

I commented on the anime that Mayuri was flaky enough that she would be really annoying if the anime hadn’t spent the time to make her very likeable. The game didn’t do that, at least not early in the game. Early in the game, she was mostly clueless, but not in a nice way, but in a very selfish way, expressing concern only for the things she wants and not really caring about anyone’s feelings in doing so. The anime brought out how much she cared for others and made them feel welcome and comfortable a lot earlier than the game did. By the end, they had started to do that more, but early on she was far more annoying. At least they did manage to get that in before you’d have to decide whether or not to keep her alive.

I also found that Kurise was more sympathetic in the game, as she was far less imperious and far more open here. Also, Okabe and Daru were far more annoying towards her in the game, making her reactions far more reasonable. So while I did like her in the anime, I liked her more here.

I do very much regret watching the anime before playing the game, because the anime spoils most of the interesting plot twists in the game, and the game takes a lot longer to get to and through those plot twists than the anime does, which means there’s a lot of the early game where the game is building towards a revelation that I already know the resolution to. So it gets boring, even if it is done a bit differently. That being said, once the SERN plot ramps up, the differences in presentation do matter and I found myself far more interested in it.

Still, it’s a visual novel with little interaction until you start getting into the big choices that determine the endings. As I’ve noted on a number of occasions, visual novels aren’t really my genre, as I get bored with the lack of interactivity in the game. This game isn’t an exception, and again is only made worse by the fact that I already knew the plot and so couldn’t even really enjoy the story as presented. This made it difficult for me to play. However, I don’t regret playing it. I won’t play it from the start again, but I might go back to my save point and see what happens if I go on, if I get some time.

2 Responses to “Not Quite Final Thoughts on “Steins;Gate””

  1. Return to Steins;Gate | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] the two Saint’s Row games I owned I was tempted to go back and finish more of the endings in “Steins;Gate”. So that’s what I’ve been doing the past […]

  2. What I Finished, What I Played in 2020 | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] on my consoles anymore.  The last game from early in the year that I played and finished was Steins;Gate, finishing off one of the stories and then coming back later to finish all except the true […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: