Earlier this week I took a look at Robotics;Notes – the third game in the Science Adventure series and one we finally got in English after eight years. Well, we didn’t just get Robotics;Notes, we also got its sequel: Robotics;Notes DaSH at the same time. How does it compare? Well, that’s a difficult question.
So let’s start with some quick details. This is a sequel to Robotics;Notes that was released roughly seven years after the original in Japan. It is the sixth and latest entry in the Science Adventure series. Unlike its predecessor though, this is not really a game you can play without having touched others in the series. That is because this game plays through the eyes of Itaru Hashida (better known as Daru), a major character from Steins;Gate. While the story expands on events from the first Robotics;Notes, there are a ton of references to Steins;Gate this time around, so you’ll want to have played or watched that one first along with the original Robotics;Notes.
Continuing. The game runs about half the length of the first one (20ish hours) and follows Daru’s misadventures on the island of Tanegashima while meeting the cast of the first game. The story is structured in a very different way compared to the original. Instead of being one giant linear path with multiple chapters, DaSH has a proper route system with unique endings and then a true ending.
It removes the annoying “Twitter” decision system from the first game in favor of a map-based one. Now the route you end up on is based on where you travel on the map during three points in the story. This is a much better approach as now you’re not constantly checking on the in-game Twitter app and guessing what tweets and replies to go with. Instead, you just go to the location with the character whose route you want on and then continue from there, a guide is not mandatory this time.
The actual content of the story is definitely going to be divisive. On one hand, it is somehow even less serious than the first game (which was already pretty laidback), but on the other, it greatly expands on characterization and also wraps up some of the more minor plot threads left unresolved by the first. The routes can be hit-or-miss in that some do a great job furthering the character’s stories and whatnot, but others can come off as filler material – like some sort of comedic spinoff rather than a proper sequel.
I’d say it’s about 50/50 with which routes are actually good or not. For example, Airi – the AI character- has a garbage route that adds little to her character or the overall story while Subaru has an excellently-written route that both greatly expands on his character and resolves a problem I had with the first game’s ending. It’s routes like Subaru’s that really bring up the overall experience and make the sequel worth the play.
The true route is where the game gets more serious, akin to how the first one ended. It shares the same strengths but maintains the same problems. On one hand, the pacing in this route is solid and kept me reading through it all in one sitting, but on the other, it does become a bit overambitious and fizzles out too quickly to wrap up everything it started. Perhaps the writers just didn’t learn or maybe they’re leaving room for another potential sequel. Whatever the case, its still an entertaining read, but not quite as good as others in the same series (mainly Steins;Gate).
On the technical side of things, DaSH shares some of the same problems as the first. For one, it still lacks mouse support – a feature I would consider essential for any VN. I once again opted to use a controller as playing with the keyboard just didn’t feel right. It also has a broken skip mode, but in a different way from the first game. This time around, instead of skipping random lines that you’ve already read and not skipping others, it will full-on skip entire scenes that you have yet to read – so again, this is a feature I would recommend not using unless if we see some sort of patch.
What’s different though is the fullscreen implementation. The first game, despite not having native 1440p support, still scaled well to that resolution when ran in full screen. DaSH does neither of these. The “fullscreen” option does not actually take up the fullscreen on a 1440p monitor, instead being limited to a borderless 1080p window in the corner. An external tool is needed to maximize the game window, but this comes with the unfortunate side effect of everything being slightly blurry due to being stretched out. I don’t know what the first game did right, but they definitely need to patch DaSH to act like it.
Overall though, I would say that DaSH is worth a play if you liked the original. It expands on that already great cast of characters while also wrapping up some of the plot threads left unresolved by the original. The routes can be a bit hit-or-miss with regards to their writing quality, but the good ones more than make up for it and the true route is some good stuff on top of that. Again, it’s not quite as a good as others in the series (and I still like the original game more), but it’s a worthwhile play if you want to see that story continued – just be sure to have completed both Robotics;Notes AND Steins;Gate beforehand.
Quote: Robotics;Notes DaSH expands on the already great cast of characters from the first game while also wrapping up some of its unresolved plot threads. Worth a look for those that enjoyed the first!
You can buy Robotics;Notes DaSH on Steam here. The game is also available on Switch and PS4.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.