Gacha video games seem to have grown in popularity in recent years, especially on mobile platforms. You may know some of them that are so popular today such as Azur Lane, Fate / Grand Order and Granblue Fantasy for example.
As someone who seems destined to have bad luck, I don't feel that interested in trying these free-to-play mobile games. There are factors such as microtransaction to pay-to-win elements that make me hesitate to explore this segmentation further.
The only gacha game that managed to make me feel at home quite a few years ago was Valiant Force, mostly because the gameplay itself is very interesting. But unfortunately, in the end the game by XII BRAVES fell so deeply by presenting various pay-to-win that was quite severe in every update. And even more sad, Valiant Force is planned to close soon. I don't know how many million I have spent on the game that ended up being closed.
About two years of maneuvering to avoid gacha games, recently appeared a mobile game called Arknights which caught my attention. Produced by Hypergryph (made by a former artist who worked for Girls Frontline) and under the auspices of Yostar (publisher of Azur Lane), Arknights first released in China less than a year ago, followed by a Global version which was released in mid-January 2020.
Hearing that Arknights had the premise of a tower defense strategy game with RPG elements with gacha, initially made me unsure about playing it. However, lately I haven't been playing PC or console games much, and my own social media has been enlivened by this game, so I got the courage to try the game.
Long story short, for about three weeks playing Arknights, I managed to fall in love. Arknights succeeded in presenting a game where game progress was highly dependent on intellectuality and not the contents of the player's wallet. Of course there are other factors that managed to impress me with a gacha game.
Coinciding with the opening of the Arknights SEA region which will join the Global server, this seems the right time to share my gaming experiences. Do not miss the things that of course you should know first if you are in doubt about playing the Arknights game.
Arknights has a story center at a pharmaceutical organization called Rhodes Island on a mission to find a way to cure Originium or Oripathy infections. In the Arknights universe, you will take on the role of a Doctor who is experiencing amnesia, and has the task of leading Rhodes Island's operators (as your characters or your troops are called) in battle.
The story arguably focuses on a character named Amiya, an operator as well as the public face of Rhodes Island. Amiya has a mission to save the doctor who is currently healing in Ursus Empire. The game opens with Amiya awakening the doctor from his cryostasis sleep, at which time Reunion is also making chaos in the city of Chernoborg.
Reunion is an organization consisting of people who are oppressed and shunned because of Oripathy. And now they are carrying out a rebellion with the motive of taking revenge against the world that has abandoned them. But as the story progresses, it doesn't seem that simple.
Amiya and the team that saved the doctor inevitably had to break through so many Reunion troops to get out of the city of Chernobog. But it turns out that this is not as easy as it seems, because the Reunion troops are not just a group of ordinary criminals, but there are terrible figures who have planned all the chaos.
Even though a doctor is supposed to be in charge of healing, you as a doctor are also able to carry out various battle strategies before you lose your memory. This is where the game starts, your ability to give command and read the battle situation will be tested in depth in this Arknights game.
As explained earlier, Arknights offers a game in the style of Tower Defense games, where you can guess the premise of the game itself, that is, you will place various operators in certain positions and stop the enemy trying to break through the specified limits. You can see the gameplay video on this page or the next few points.
Your operators have different DP (deployment point) costs, usually depending on the star and the type of operator. In general, your DP will continue to regenerate, but there are several stages that make it difficult for you to regain the used DP. This certainly encourages you to play smartly and not just place strong operators to stop your enemies from advancing. Moreover, each stage also has a limit on the units that can be deployed.
Each of your operators also has their own skills. Many of them need to be activated manually, but there are also some that activate automatically. Your operatives need to collect skill points to activate, some fill themselves up, some must attack or be attacked first. As you can see in the screenshot below, the operator whose skill is ready to be activated will fill in a green bar and an icon will appear above its head.
There is also a feature to take your operator back from battle (retreat) and get back at least half of the operator's DP. However, if the operator dies, the DP that has been used will not return. The operator will cooldown before it can be lowered again, but the DP cost will also increase.
Also note that you can only carry a maximum of 12 operators at once in battle, but there is a Support Unit feature, where you can bring one additional operator from another player.
There are eight types of operators that you can bring into battle, namely; Vanguard, Guard, Sniper, Defender, Medic, Supporter, Caster, Specialist. Generally; Vanguard has the ability to get DP, Guard has high enough ATK, Sniper attacks from a distance, Defender has high DEF, Medic to heal operators who are damaged, Supporter provides debuffs for enemies or buffs for operators, Caster launches Arts-type attacks and can AoE but with a fairly large DP cost, and Specialists have abilities such as pushing or attracting enemies.
Just like other gacha RPG games, each operator needs to be developed to be more effective in combat. One and two star operators have a maximum of level 30, three stars can be promoted to Elite 1, and four to six stars can be promoted to Elite 2.Your operators also get new skills and even new talents when promoted, except for three-star operators and below which only will get additional talent.
One interesting thing about Arknights that may be different from other similar games is how to level up your operators. If your characters usually fight and get EXP after battles in other games, that's not the case in Arknights. Your character will not level up or get EXP from battles, but by giving them a Battle Record accompanied by LMD (the currency in the Arknights universe).
Personally, I quite like the leveling mechanism like this, because we have full control over the operators who want to be developed. Get the operators that we have been aiming for, for example, where we can immediately level up and be effective immediately in battle.
It should also be noted that LMD and Battle Record are of course quite limited and will be consumed more by high level operators, especially operators who have been promoted to Elite. So that indirectly, even in this game you will also become a "farmer" like in other gacha games.
Not only LMD and Battle Record, there are also various resources or materials needed to further strengthen your operator, and this tends to be more tiring than LMD or Battle Record farming. These materials will be utilized to level up your operators, and also promote them to Elite tier. I myself have succeeded in being dizzy and overwhelmed in gathering materials to upgrade one operator to Elite 2, let alone a six-star operator.
Even if you don't get EXP after fighting, your operators will get Trust points. Where the higher the Trust, the bigger the bonus stats that the operators that you often carry to fight will get. Not only that, the higher the Trust of your operators, you will also open new interactions with them, even knowing their deeper backgrounds.
Arknights has a feature to build a base like the XCOM game or Fallout Shelter using a side perspective. This base has a function to improve the "welfare" of you and your operators during the game.
There are three important facilities that you can build. Starting from Trading Post to get LMD and Orundum, Factory for producing Battle Record and several other materials and Workshop for crafting most of the materials needed for your operator to develop as well as materials to expand your base.
All existing facilities can be operated by your operators. Each operator has their own skills, which will increase the effectiveness of the related facility processes. Operating these facilities will consume the morale of the operator assigned every hour. And to restore the morale, you have to move the related operator to Dormitory as you can see in the screenshot above.
A facility that is no less important is the Reception Room, where this room functions to get Clues which can be exchanged for Credit to purchase items at the Credit Store. I myself am a little confused explaining the detailed process, but in this room you interact with other players by exchanging clues. If you have collected 7 clues, then you can open the Clue Exchange for 24 hours, then other players can also visit your Clue Exchange and get Credit.
There is also a Power Plant needed to open more facilities, as well as a drone that can be used to speed up a production. Then there is also the Command Center which can be used to increase the trust of operators working at the headquarters. Furthermore, there is also a Training Room to improve the skills of your operators, as well as an Office for the Recruitment process which will be explained in the next point.
Maybe not a few of you have fallen into Gacha Hell and haven't found a way out. Diligently attending many events, "farming" day and night, even spending millions to get the desired character, but it ends up being wasteful. In Arknights, gacha isn't everything.
Obviously, there are almost no useless operators in the Arknights game, be it two or three star operators. At least in the Global version, I can finish all the new Story stages until Episode 4 with a squad that is partly filled with three and four star operators, and sometimes even bringing in two-star operators. Moreover, not a few of the operators that I bring are the rewards of the main mission.
Through the screenshot gallery of my operators below, sorted by Trust level, I use more three and four star operators than five or six star operators.
However, that doesn't mean five or six-star operators seem useless. In fact, not a few of these rare operators have skills or talents that can be said to be overpowered. However, as I explained in the previous point, many operators are only effective when they are promoted to Elite 1 or Elite 2, and you need to work hard to find the LMD and materials needed to promote them.
This is also added to the cost of DP for five or six star operators which tend to be high, so I choose to use four-star operators and below which tend to have low DP costs, while slowly increasing the five or six star operators to at least Elite 1.
Besides gacha, operators can also be obtained through the Recruit feature, where you will be treated to and choose the operator characteristic job tags that you want to get, but you need to wait between one and nine hours to get it. The longer you wait, the better chance to get an operator with a higher star. To use this feature, you need a Recruitment Permit which can be obtained easily. You can also use the Expedited Plan to immediately complete the recruitment process.
One other interesting thing that I like about Arknights is that getting the duplicate operators that we already have is worth it. The duplicates will not enter your operator's gallery, but will immediately turn into the original operator token and can be used to increase their potential. Each operator has different additional potential.
As in the screenshot below, one operator can have a maximum of five duplicates (a maximum of six potentials) which later can be used to reduce the cost of DP or reduce redeployment time, for example.
However, if you get another duplicate operator even though the operator has the maximum potential, you can exchange the duplicate token into a medal, which can later be used to buy items available in the Store in the Certificate category.
As additional information, if you have drawn 50 gacha times but don't get a six-star operator, Arknights will increase the chance to get it by a percentage for you, and that chance will continue to increase to 100% or until you get it.
Just like free-to-play games in general, Arknights also has a Store with a series of microtransactions which I think can be avoided. There are two categories of items that can be purchased with real money, namely Originite currency and Packs, which are bundles containing various game support items.
A little related to the previous point, you can exchange Originite into Orundum, and the Orundum has the main function, one of which is for you to attract gacha. But you also need to know that Originite can be found in all stages, provided you can complete it perfectly or three stars, as well as the challenge mode.
Until the time this article was written, I had never bought Originite directly for gacha even though. I got almost all Originite from completing Story, Event, Quest, and other side modes. I only buy monthly packs that have a price of around Rp. 60,000, which contains Sanity Potions (items to refill stamina), 6 Originites (one-time only) and 300 Orundums for 30 days. I bought the monthly packs to make progress faster, and share my gaming experience through this review.
Another main function of Originite is being able to buy your operators a variety of beautiful skins. However, in the Global version of Arknights, it seems that there are not many choices available, and some skins that are present have a limited time to buy them. These various skins certainly don't affect the abilities of your operators apart from making them look cooler in battle.
The pay-to-win predicate doesn't exist in the Arknights game, well, maybe for now. Arknights has absolutely no competitive or PvP content where players can compete with each other. So that all the microtransactions that I have mentioned in the previous point tend to be more towards faster pay-to-progress, even then only for PvE content.
This indirectly makes you not need to worry too much if your level is lower than other players, or feel frustrated because you only have operators that you think don't suit your style or strategy of play. One thing that might be compared is the luck of the players when it comes to attracting gacha and acquiring rare operators. So this game doesn't have pay-to-win, but there is show-to-win aka social climbing.
But that doesn't mean Tower Defense games like this can't have PvP content, who knows in future updates that competitive elements will appear, such as the fastest time to complete a stage, for example, to content such as the collective World Boss, where in addition to to survive, we also need to attack a boss in a stage, and be pitted against who does the most damage to the boss. That's when it is possible that a new pay-to-win element will become relevant in Arknights.
Arknights is arguably a game with a low skill floor, high skill ceiling, where players who have never even played Tower Defense games will adapt easily, but the challenges will continue to increase as the game progresses. Obviously, at the beginning you might say that this game is easy to just naro the Operators and are left relaxed, but then you realize that the higher stages require you to focus on all enemy movements and find the right operator composition for each. the station.
As I said at the beginning, the skill of a person in this game is determined by his intellect and not the contents of his wallet. If English is cool; “The game rewards you for playing smart“. So if, for example, in your social media timeline, you like someone showing off getting a six-star operator or showing a squad full of rare operators, I'm pretty sure that they can't necessarily complete an Elite stage with perfect results, especially in challenge mode.
If we relate to the previous point regarding the absence of a competitive element, I'm pretty sure that many Arknights players have the main goal of unlocking the Auto Deploy feature at each stage. Auto Deploy will only open when players successfully complete a stage with three stars without the help of a Support Unit. This is of course quite important, especially in facilitating the LMD 'farming' process or materials for operator promotion.
Apart from unlocking Auto Deploy, completing a stage will also open a challenge mode for that level. The rate formation of your enemies is exactly the same, but usually there are additional conditions such as HP or ATK that the enemy becomes higher, for example, to double the DP costs of certain types of operators. This certainly forces you to change your strategy to deal with these additional conditions. However, it became a matter of pride and satisfaction when finally succeeded in completing a stage challenge after failing many times.
The following is one of the videos from the stage mode challenge which successfully gave me a headache because I failed to complete it all day. But in the end I managed to conquer it by using a redeployment strategy.
Indirectly, this also seems to imply that instead of showing off the results of gacha or rare operators, it is better to show off the results of completing a difficult stage to make salty other poor players.
Arknights certainly does not exist as a perfect game, there are still some things that could be done even better in order to provide a maximum gaming experience. And in this section I will comment a lot on the user interface and some game elements.
One thing I don't like about most mobile games, especially games with gacha, is the user interface that provides too much information simultaneously on one screen and looks messy, usually on the main game menu. This tends to make new players feel reluctant to continue the game.
In my opinion, Arknights is quite good at presenting a futuristic and neatly arranged main menu. Well, while the front is good, the back isn't necessarily good, and that's what happened to the Arknights game user-interface.
The first is the dialogue that occurs during the story. In Arknights, the dialogue between characters is presented in the style of a Visual Novel (VN) game as you can see in the first point of this review. Those of you who have played VN games may have a tendency to press the button (in this case the screen) to fully open the dialog. In Arknights too, but in some parts, pressing the screen during a dialogue actually makes it skip to the next dialogue, and this is certainly very annoying for people like me who want to know the story more deeply.
Not only that, there are also some dialogues that don't seem to translate well, some still use Chinese writing, some sentences still sound confusing, and some awkward and misleading prompts. One of them, as you can see in the screenshot below.
Still related to the user interface, one thing that annoyed me when I first started playing was the HP bar and Skill Point which were under the operator. I don't know what kind of "genius" decided to use blue for HP and green for those skill points. In the video game industry, of course you are familiar that the HP bar is green and the MP bar is blue. May the creator forgive the grave sins of the people responsible for the design.
Another thing that I think is very sad is the presence of operator traits that can only block one enemy. Of all the traits, this one seemed the most useless, since supposedly blocking the advance of at least one enemy was the base stats of each operator. For information, there are indeed many operators that can only block one enemy, but they have more useful traits. So it's a shame if the basic stats actually trait the operator.
The next comment is quite related to the management of Sanity or the name for the stamina system. In Arknights, Sanity will refill automatically every six minutes or 10 stamina in one hour. For example, if you have reached level 40 with a maximum of 120 Sanity, then you need to wait 12 hours for the Sanity to return to full. I myself don't have a problem because the developer doesn't want the players to play until they forget the time. But what I want to comment on is the stage of the game.
Almost all stages have drop material for operator development needs, but not a few of these materials are chance drops, or depending on your luck. You are certain that you will be farming a lot of rare materials needed to promote or raise your operator skills to the maximum level, but these materials are on a high level stage which also requires a lot of Sanity consumption.
If your luck is waste like mine, of course this is very annoying and a waste of time. I once looked for a material to promote a six-star operator, but from Sanity I was full to the end for one related stage, I didn't get the material. Related materials can indeed be crafted from materials that are easier to obtain, but if you calculate it, it usually takes up to two or three times as much time and Sanity.
One of them that I probably really like and appreciate about this game is the lack of female characters who are lewd. Yes, Arknights is a few of the many mobile games that don't rely on fanservice in the form of girls in sexy clothes to hook male players with nasty brains.
Of course there are still characters that might spark lust, but it seems that the number of these characters can be counted on the fingers. When talking about lust, my only complaint is the lack of the MILF character archetype and the big tiddy onee-san in Arknights. Hopefully in the future it can be reproduced.
Then the design of the characters based on the Kemonomimi fantasy, mixed with modern fashion and a little cyberpunk-ish is also a detail that I really like. This indirectly also gives a breath of fresh air in the world of mobile video games which often focus on one theme between fantasy and modern.
Arknights can also be played by women. Even though there are more female characters, there are some male characters who can certainly hook you up to play them diligently. I also heard rumors that the Arknights game was very popular for women in China.
Do not believe? Here is one character who is very popular at Arknights, and even seems to have caught the hearts of men though.
Finally, at the end of the story, Arknights is certainly a mobile game with gacha that I recommend. This game is certainly suitable for those of you who want to compete with your brain's abilities in issuing battle strategies with other players, and not because you want to have a fortune in attracting gacha.
If a lot of gacha games mess up the welfare of the players, then Arknights can be said to be the opposite, because it is not oriented towards Treasure, Gacha and Women; You don't need to spend a lot of money to be good at this game, you don't need to worry about gacha dregs like me, and fanservice in the form of sexy women is not forced in this game.
For this reason, the KotGa Crew were curious and wanted to try how interesting this game made by Yostar, which is the same developer as Azur Lane. Without further ado, let's just start discussing the game that was released globally on January 16 yesterday!
When you first played this game, of course what was in your mind was a game like Plant vs Zombie. In which gamers play a role as a Doctor must be able to set a strategy to win the battle from enemy attacks. The heroes here are called Operators with different levels of ability, of course.
There are 8 roles that you can have, such as Vanguard, Guard, Defender, Specialist, Sniper, Caster, Medic, and Supporter. Of course, you can set all the Operators above to survive enemy attacks. Each game, you will have a limit to be penetrated by the enemy, if you are penetrated by as many numbers as your Castlé, then you will lose. Conversely, if you manage to defend yourself from the large number of enemies that come, then you will win the battle.
Some games that sell artsyle such as Fate Grand Order, Granblue Fantasy, Honkai Impact III, to Azur Lane, of course, have characters that are easily loved by fans. In addition, the voice actors of the game are also filled with popular voice actors / actresses, so this game is quite close for Japanese or Japanese lovers.
Arknights also does the same thing, some of the operators have famous voice actors, such as one of the Operantor named Siege who has the same voice actress as one of the characters in Fate Grand Order, Arthur Pendragon (Saber). Coupled with such a distinctive artstyle makes this game cool enough to play.
Not just playing games, you can also enjoy the story of this game from Combat mode. Besides getting stories, you can also get various Operators from here to increase your troops to win the battle.
Just like other games, Arknights uses the gacha system to get Operators with different rarity levels, of course. Starting from two stars to the maximum being in six stars you can have. But don't worry, if you have Operators with low stars, you can max them up to six stars.
Arknights game seems to give fresh air to some games that prioritize rarity in the game by stuck in the Turn Base Strategy genre only. With the Tower Defense game genre, of course this is even more interesting than the existing games.
The problem is only a little minor, such as there is no dub to play the story, but that's not a problem considering this game is quite interesting to play. In addition, this game is not yet available on the Indonesian PlayStore, it is still closed, so if you want to play it, you can download this game on QooApp.
Arknights game seems to give fresh air to some games that prioritize rarity in the game by stuck in the Turn Base Strategy genre only. With the Tower Defense game genre, of course this is even more interesting than the existing games.
The premise is simple: Rhodes Island, a collection of infected people who are fighting to save another infected, and also against a more radical group of infected, the Reunion Movement. But it soon became apparent that this was not a hero versus enemy business. There are other factors here. It would be a mistake to say that the main and only enemy of Rhodes Island is the Reunion Movement. There is another factor: authoritarianism a la the Lungmen Guard Department.
The Reunion Movement was poorly described from the start. This organization works with terror: killing and attacking civilians indiscriminately and has the goal of spreading chaos in general. However, every organization - not individuals - that carries out terror has a background, and sometimes its own ideology.
Reunion clearly has an ideology: that those who were infected by Oripathy, known as infected, have been marginalized for too long by the majority of society and the existing government, be it Ursus or Lungmen. Families were taken away, their rights were revoked, abandoned, and were considered a disgrace. With years of oppression, Reunion is a bunch of people with grudges, and as people with grudges go far beyond what we can imagine, the principle is an eye for an eye - everyone deserves to be blind.
This group believes that if the opponent is too powerful and the playing field is far unbalanced, then there is no way to achieve justice except through extreme violence, even by terrorizing civilians.