Robotics;Notes Elite (PC) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 06.10.2020

Review for Robotics;Notes Elite on PC

5pb's Science Adventure series is a renowned set of visual novels that cover a variety of sci-fi storylines. Steins;Gate might be the best known entry, gaining a huge following. The original Robotics;Notes released in 2012 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 but it never came westward. Now in 2020 the much-loved game has made it to the west for PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 as the new Robotics;Notes Elite variant with new HD models and more video scenes. This is done under Spike Chunsoft's guidance.

The colourful summer palette used to accentuate the artwork is superb. It lends the entire game this feeling of lighthearted summer-ness and a nostalgic school age quirk. The story begins in summertime and focuses on Kai, the main male lead. He is a bit lazy and loves playing robot fighting games on his phone. The narrative follows him and the Robotics Club as they learn about each other and ultimately work on building a robot. Robotics;Notes Elite has many branching storylines and several endings, each of which is full of intrigue. Some of the twists in the story are great but it does not quite reach Steins;Gate's levels of complexity and pseudonymity. While it is almost entirely presented from Kai's perspective, there are several scenes that play out from other characters' viewpoints, offering plenty of outside perspective of Kai's antics and actions.

Screenshot for Robotics;Notes Elite on PC

Gameplay is, for the most part, the normal visual novel affair; click to see more text. Reading is the key gameplay here so its mileage will vary per player, however there are some tasty unique features on show. At many points during the story the characters partake in the robot fighting game app. During these scenes flashy FMV sequences play out and during them players are treated to QTEs (Quick Time Events). If the player fails to match the sequence, they lose the battle which sometimes leads to unique dialogue, especially given that Kai is meant to be unbeatable in the matches. He is so good in fact that the creator of the app fights him to see if he is cheating. Outside of these dynamic moments are scenes where the background is scrollable with multiple interactive points which felt bizarrely out of place in such a static genre. It is really cool in the opening which allows for free camera movement highlighting the awesome layering in the game backgrounds, as well as showing just how detailed the art is this time round.

Screenshot for Robotics;Notes Elite on PC

Speaking of visuals, the game rather uniquely uses 3D models for the characters, allowing them to have a full and interesting range of animations. It allows for some interesting pose variety and for characters to pace around scenes. This is really a highlight of many of the scenes, even if something that appears in a CG scene, like dirty clothing, is missing from the 3D model in the next scene. This is coupled with a superbly themed interface where characters can open up their phones (à la Steins;Gate), allowing players to use the social media app to communicate with in-game emails or use other phone functions. There are also a lot of scientific terms and cultural speech patterns that are explained in a glossary. This encyclopaedia has concise explanations of anything someone might not understand and is invaluable to understanding some of the world's makeup. In other words, exposition is sometimes left to background systems rather than forced down the player's throat.

Screenshot for Robotics;Notes Elite on PC

Amazingly, the game supports controllers as well as HD resolutions. Controller navigation is handled really gracefully. In fact, it may even be the preferred control method over mouse and keyboard. Something about sitting back, chilling and getting sucked into the atmosphere was just perfect. It was nice to learn that for this 'elite' version the developers did not just incorporate scenes from the anime in place of the original artwork as was done with Steins;Gate: Elite.

Screenshot for Robotics;Notes Elite on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Robotics;Notes Elite is a great story and visual novel. It wraps everything in a very neat and slick package with little systems to keep the players brain from wandering, like the phones and encyclopaedia. This title moves visual novels as a medium forward with its CG and interactive scenes. If visual novels are of interest it would be a disservice to miss this Sci-Fi themed gem.

Developer

5pb

Publisher

Spike Chunsoft

Genre

Visual Novel

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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