Zudo shills SciADV
Science Adventure Overview
The Science Adventure series (SciADV) is a multimedia franchise, the main part of which consists of a series of sci-fi visual novels, including the exceedingly popular Steins;Gate. It's hard to explain what makes this series so good, but I'm going to try my best, so I can point my friends here and hopefully get them to experience SciADV for themselves.
TL;DR and some important links
If you take anything away from this overview, let it be this: read in release order, use the patches, and follow the guides!
Want to learn more? Read on.
Right now, there are seven "main" entries in the Science Adventure series, all of which are available in English with excellent localisations. These are, in order:
- Chaos;Head Noah (Steam)
- Steins;Gate (Steam)
- Robotics;Notes Elite (Steam)
- Chaos;Child (Steam)
- Steins;Gate 0 (Steam)
- Robotics;Notes DaSH (Steam)
- Anonymous;Code (Steam)
While each of these entries have their own plot, cast and themes, there is an overarching narrative that connects the entire series. By reading in release order, you will appreciate all the tiny details that have been meticulously crafted to build an absolutely compelling universe with unforgettable characters and an extremely strong narrative.
While Steins;Gate is by far the best known entry in the series, mostly thanks to its popular anime adaptation, in my experience, long-time fans of the series tend towards the Chaos titles as their favourites. You'll have to find out for yourself if you agree with them!
Where to start
Some people will try to persuade you to read in an order that matches the in-universe chronology. This might sound tempting, but will actually worsen your experience. Chaos;Head Noah is a prerequisite to properly understanding the other entries, especially Robotics;Notes and Chaos;Child, so please start there!
The entire series is available for purchase on Steam. Unfortunately, the official releases tend to be buggy or have poor localisation, which detracts from the experience. Luckily, Committee of Zero, a group of SciADV fans with a deep understanding of the series, have released patches for almost all the entries, which fix pretty much every problem the official releases have.
You can also get some entries on console, but you will have a considerably worse experience if you do. Trust me, I played Robotics;Notes Elite and both Steins;Gate entries on Switch, and I regret it!
SciADV titles often go on sale on Steam, and come in bundles so you can save even more.
The visual novel medium is often derided as just clicking through text, or as a type of "low effort" video game. While this may seem true on paper, what people like this tend to forget is that VNs are a form of interactive fiction. The medium's true strength comes from strong audiovisual design in conjunction with a compelling narrative, allowing you to immerse yourself in the story through means other than just the text.
With stunning visuals, wonderful music by the extremely talented Takeshi Abo, top-tier voice acting, and excellent prose, SciADV shines as a perfect example of what the medium can accomplish. Reduce it to clicking through text if you like, but before dismissing it outright, give it a shot! You may be pleasantly surprised.
What about the anime?
You may have already watched the anime version of Steins;Gate, and that's OK! It's a good adaptation in itself, but it does drop a lot of context for the sake of a more cohesive viewing experience. By reading the VN, you'll pick up on details that you will have missed out on.
As for Chaos;Head and Chaos;Child... steer clear of those at all costs! they absolutely butcher the experience, and will irreversibly spoil you on key plot points without the required buildup. Robotics;Notes is a little better in this regard, but you should still at least read the VN before you watch the anime.
What about Steins;Gate Elite?
Steins;Gate Elite is a recreation of the original steins;gate using scenes from the anime. It's an alright experience, but it has been criticised for poor use of certain animations, and for missing some detail. I recommend you enjoy the original Steins;Gate, with its original art style, at what tends to be a lower cost!
Why the semicolon?
Chiyomaru thinks it looks cool or something.