The visual novels Robotics;Notes Elite & DaSH Double Pack are coming to the West for the first time in one convenient package. It’s bursting with story content, twists and turns, and surprises that will keep you guessing. Are you ready to take another journey in the Science Adventure Series?
As I mentioned, it’s a double pack including the original Robotics;Notes Elite and the sequel Robotics;Notes DaSH. These are games in the Science Adventure Series that combine Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head into one universe. Elite was released in Japan in 2012. We didn’t have to wait as long for DaSH, since it was released in 2019.
These games utilize the same navigation and menus, but they are separate experiences. Elite follows the adventures of a struggling high school robotics club on the rural island of Tanegashima, a place I now want to visit. Our two main characters at the start are the robotics obsessed and unflappable club president Akiho, who is chasing her dream of finishing a robot build before she graduates, and Kaito, her video game obsessed friend who isn’t interested in the club’s activities at all.
Over time, you’ll be joined by a shy karate girl who lacks confidence, a straightlaced and stiff guy who keeps his love of robots a secret, and a genius shut-in with a pervy streak. She is my favorite character (go figure), and her dialogue is wonderfully written. There are other minor characters you encounter, and most of them will become endearing in some way.
Without any spoilers, Elite’s plot almost feels like two stories at first. The beginning is very slow and seems like a slice of life story about friendship, families, and growing up sprinkled with a lot of robot flavor. After that setup, you learn it was just the calm before the storm. There are conspiracies within conspiracies, secret organizations, and high-intensity danger wrapped into a plot that balances out nicely with the emotional, character-driven stories.
The writing is generally great. Characters are given a chance to breathe and develop over time, allowing you to care about them. I loved that the game gives you a chance to view the world through each of their eyes in different sections as opposed to only seeing one character’s point of view for the whole game. Some scenes could be paired down a bit or drag on a little too long for me, but I was hooked for most of the game.
DaSH picks up a few months after Elite ends, and it’s the sequel that I didn’t know I needed. The main star here is Steins;Gate’s Itaru Hashida or Daru the Super Hacker. He comes to Tanegashima island for mysterious reasons of his own. To keep his secret, he allows himself to be pulled into helping the rest of the characters work at a local festival.
You will face off against the threat from the first game again, but it’s less interesting than the rest of the content. Each character has a chance to shine with a side story. They include the pain of growing up (or not growing up), following your dreams, dealing with family drama, and the challenges of a neglected romance.
These include a lot of quieter moments, but there is still plenty of drama with a huge influx of comedy this time. Hashida is the harmless “gentleman perv” giving Frau a run for her nerdy money. Between jokes, we are often seeing events through his point of view with unspoken commentary clueing in the player to what’s happening beneath the surface. It’s once again balanced out with some tense, life-threatening, and life-altering moments as well.
Both games complement each other well, but there are some differences. With seven years between releases, the presentation is one of them. Elite and DaSH both have moving characters over static backgrounds with some animated sequences. They share music and voices, but DaSH is a big step up in the quality of the visuals. I think both have their allure, and the presentation is good for both.
Elite allows you to use a Twitter-like application on your phone called Twipo to answer your friends. DaSH includes Twipo, and, although he receives “tweeps” from Steins;Gate characters, you can’t pick responses. Both games allow you to find geotagged items in the world and collect them for a trophy.
The sound is great as well with repeating themes during tense, emotional, and goofy moments. The voice acting is entirely in Japanese with subtitles. This doesn’t bother me at all, and, even though I don’t know Japanese, the voice acting adds an emotional punch over just reading the dialog.
There’s a lot to like in these games, but there is one thing I didn’t enjoy. Branching storylines are probably one of the biggest reasons I enjoy visual novels. In both games, you will reach the end multiple times in your playthrough, and you’ll have to use trial and error to unlock a couple of middle sections before the game lets you go on to the end.
In Elite, you are missing some jawdropping, killer story if you can’t make any progress. DaSH won’t let you see other character’s stories or see the end, and you are missing the best parts of both games. I know this is intentional, but I wish it was a little more overt as to what you needed to do to keep the frustration down. General navigation is great in both games, but you’ll need to figure out the trick. Despite that, it’s completely worth the effort to see everything and reach the end of both games.
As the world continues to get smaller, I can only hope we see more games like the Robotics;Notes Elite & DaSH Double Pack come our way. The writing is great with stories that range from the intensely personal to those that impact the entire world. Both games deliver hours and hours of quality content with a sequel that answers so many questions without trampling on the original. It’s an overall sweeter walk in the world of the Science Adventure Series, and it’s a one-two combo that I gladly recommend to anyone who has ever fought for your dreams.
Robotics;Notes Elite & DaSH Double Pack PS4 Review
Overall - Fantasic - 8/10
Robotics;Notes Elite & DaSH is another trip into the Science Adventure Series universe of visual novels, and it’s an adventure worth taking. Despite being a little slow at the beginning, the characters, story, and writing are fantastic, and both games deliver stories that will hit you with an emotional punch. If you like visual novels, this is the overwhelming value buy of the year, even though you’ll have to work to unlock all of it.
- Great story, characters, and writing
- So much content!
- Nice art, music, and voice acting (even if you don’t understand Japanese)
- Elite is a little slow at the start
- Some scenes drag on a little
- Unlocking new content sections can be a pain
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.