Forming this connection with the characters and wanting to keep them from any harm, in turn, is vital as the plot steers through some relatively distressing dark twists and turns.
A heavy weight is ever-present on every decision the player makes via the Phone Trigger system, the mechanic that brings interaction to the mundane task of plowing through hearty helpings of dialogue.
This mechanic has been carried over from the original game but with some extra nuances.
Upon receiving a text message the Okabe will automatically access his phone in a separate interface and you’ll be able to reply to select keywords from each message each warranting different responses that’ll chart the course of the story.
As you proceed, once trivial choices you make reveal themselves to have a direct effect on the game’s finale.
Multiple endings both good and bad are up for grabs hindering even seemingly simple decisions with a heavy weight, even more so as you debate the consequences of altering time and the potential butterfly effect it’ll have on the characters you’ve fabricated deep ties with.
In the 2009 visual novel, the player would need to access the phone manually via the triangle button following an on-screen prompt which caused aggravation as you became fixated on not missing a message. It also often jeopardised the sense of immersion as you pulled out your phone in the middle of a heated discussion with your fellow lab mems.
This new approach however does well to not disrupt animated scenes, opening the phone automatically and not in the middle of an animation. This becomes even more idyllic when you tamper with the settings and activate the text ‘auto’ mode, negating the need to incessantly spam the ‘X’ button throughout, turning the game into more of an interactive anime that you can kick back, watch and become completely engrossed in with zero concern for potentially missing something.
The Verdict – 4/5
Steins;Gate Elite provides a much more aesthetic and visually engaging approach to the genre. The daunting task of reading mountains of dialogue is made less overwhelming with visual aid that not only brings the story to life but deepens your emotional ties with the characters within it, maximising the emotional impact as the story unravels. Animated scenes also do well to make an enticing new entry point for players whilst offering a sense of nuance that’s as good of an excuse as any for Steins;Gate fans to revisit this top-notch series.
• Animated scenes are far more alluring and counteract the slog of hefty dialogue segments.
• New Phone Trigger has been reworked in a way that doesn’t break immersion.
• Scenes from the anime do well to make the characters easier to connect with.
• The game could benefit from condensing to establish a more brisk pace in the first few chapters.
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