Worst Gacha Ever | Episode 5 - Artery Gear: Fusion
I’ll admit, I’ve probably been playing more of Artery Gear: Fusion and Counter:Side over the last 2 weeks than anything else.
They’re both absolutely stunning games with fantastic combat systems, incredible Waifu’s. And trust me, the Waifu’s are truly breathtaking. And they’re new.
So we’re given so much Stamina, so many attempts at rolling on heroes, that we’re capable of clearing every bit of content, experiencing every aspect of the game, and realistically collecting at least several of the Waifu’s we’re looking for.
But just because I’ve been having fun doesn’t mean these games aren’t without their issues.
Hey, my name is Stix and welcome to another episode of “Worst Gacha Ever.” A video series where we play through every single Gacha game and proceed to analyze what the game does right.. and what it does wrong, based off of my experiences within it over a period of time.
Upon first inspection, Artery Gear: Fusion looks and plays a lot like Epic Seven. I’ve seen repeated comparisons between the two games, and admittedly they aren’t unwarranted.
Having just done a video on Epic Seven 2 weeks ago, I could definitely feel the very strong similarities between games. However, there are notable differences – the most obvious being the drastic difference in not only graphical style, but also art style.
Realistically, you’re capable of making the same argument for the vast majority of Gacha games. “x game looks and feels like y game,” but what makes them unique, the features that allow them to separate themselves from one another are what’s important.
Artery Gear is a Chapter-based Anime RPG. Every Chapter has its own story, with a set number of individual levels. You deploy 4 combat units and 3 support units and engage 3 waves of enemies, with the 3rd and final wave often resulting in a more elite encounter – and in some cases, a full boss fight.
As is traditional in games like this, there’s more than a single difficulty mode present. Players are capable of clearing each Chapter on Normal difficulty, and then again on Hard difficulty. Admittedly, I didn’t find the Hard difficulty to be nearly as.. well, difficult as I had envisioned it being.
I cleared the Hard difficulty almost immediately following the Normal clear of each Chapter. Granted, I was always a minimum of 1,000 or more Combat Power above the recommended level, with Waifu levels significantly higher than the enemies until Chapter 5. So that may have contributed to the ease I felt.
Chapter 6 was another beast entirely. I’ve been playing this game for about 6 hours each day since it launched, and Chapter 6 is the first Chapter I had to stop, grind XP, Skill Points, Gear. I’m still, at this very moment, struggling to complete the final encounter. And I don’t imagine Hard mode is going to be any more forgiving than Normal.
Thankfully, as I just learned today, there’s a feature built into the game called “AI Combat,” that allows you to set up a type of auto-battle. You can repeat the same instance 10, 20, 30 times consecutively – even while you’re logged off.
What this means is that I can grind money, I can grind XP and I can grind the materials I need to upgrade all while playing Counter:Side or Arknights, and come back when I’ve made sufficient progress. This is a Quality of Life feature that I feel every game should offer players.
Chapters can be very easy, or very difficult, depending on your total Combat Power. Combat Power is increased in a variety of ways:
You can either level your character via battles, accumulating small amounts of XP over a plethora of encounters.
You can equip gear – weapons, armor, accessories. These have varied levels of rarity. I just got my first few Legendary pieces today – or at least I think that’s what they’re called in this. The Golden gear? 5* Golden pieces that are substantially better than anything else I have.
You can slowly upgrade these gear pieces – unlocking additional bonus statistics, like +Crit, +HP or +Attack. It honestly takes quite a few resources to +15 a piece and unlock its final bonus so I made my way to either +6 for the 2nd bonus, or +9 for the third. With the exception of weapons, because they need the additional bonus damage.
Upgrading your gear probably provides the largest statistical advantage to your overall team – leveling is great, don’t get me wrong, but getting from 45 to 50 takes a tremendous amount of resources. Upgrading your gear – at least for your 4 main Waifu’s doesn’t.
Every Waifu has their own unique Technology tree, consisting of 6 Phases. Each Phase requires a set number of Research Keys to upgrade, and continues to provide boosts to specific stats like Attack, Crit – at times even abilities. The Keys in specific are typically earned through the Data Collection mode.
Every one of your heroes has 3 abilities that are unique to them alone. Damage abilities – single-target or AoE. Support abilities, and healing abilities, depending on the role they fill. These abilities can be upgraded via use of Advanced Decoder Chips, which are much more difficult to obtain than any other upgrade item – at least from what I’ve seen.
So choose your upgrades wisely, since I wasted most of mine on my 4* heroes before obtaining my 5*s.
Then – and I know this is a lot of info. This game actually has a lot of very deep, very intricate systems that provide a lot of opportunities to perfect your characters. But I digress.
Then, we have the ability to Rank Up our Waifu’s. Ranking them up provides massive statistical boosts to them, and requires the use of duplicates to perform. Which, naturally, means that Ranking up your 5*s is going to be quite an arduous process, but definitely worth it.
There’s a hidden option down in the Gear section that requires a Technology Level of 5 – which I’ve yet to obtain on any character up until this point.
And finally, upon reaching the maximum level for your Waifu, you can upgrade them even further, increasing their rarity by a single point, their base statistics, power. These also require duplicates, or equal rarity units.
Doing everything listed above will present you with the most powerful units you can possibly obtain. The only issue I’ve found with all of this is that it takes an exorbitant amount of time. But you definitely have the resources to accomplish this during the launch event.
Now you’re probably sitting there thinking to yourself…. “well, alright. I get it.” You can beef up your Waifu’s to be absolute destructive forces. But what is there to actually do in the game?
As noted earlier, you’ll start off with, and continue to pursue the ever evolving Main Story. As of June 17th, there are 7 Chapters. 14, I guess, if you count the Hard modes available. Each Chapter consists of 10 main encounters and at times, a few side-encounters.
After either completing the Main Story, or hitting a wall that you can’t pass due to the difficulty spike of each Chapter, you’ll find yourself navigating on over to the “Battle” tab.
Under Daily Battle you’ll find “Data Collection,” the main method with which to obtain the Keys required to upgrade each Waifu’s Technology level. “Target Elimination” is used to obtain gear for your Waifu’s and upgrade Chip’s.
“Mutation Waypoint” is used to obtain Mutation Samples, which can be redeemed for important items like skill Chip’s. And the “Lava Rift,” which is a 100-floor tower, with each floor offering slightly better rewards, and equally as slightly more powerful enemies.
Next we have the “Resource Collection,” featuring “Capture Cat Orbs,” a mode that allows you to farm XP items, “Bounty Mission,” allowing you to farm in-game coin, and “Forbidden Blue Mist Zone,” rewarding you with.. well, admittedly I have 12 of these and haven’t found a use for them. Maybe it’s for the feature I unlock at Technology level 5?
Then we have the “Suppression Dark Zone,” which, admittedly, I just unlocked. It says it has a recommended Combat Power of 20,000.. and I’m sitting at roughly 11,000 right now.
Finally, we have the current Event stage. Currently, that is Asura. This functions like every other Gacha game: It rewards you with XP, items, units, event-currency to redeem for some goodies.
And that’s everything relating to the PvE.
What follows is the PvP. In Artery Gear, this takes place under the “Exercise” tab. PvP has 2 forms: Live-Fire Mode, and Training Mode.
Training Mode is your basic non-player game mode. Typically you want to avoid this, as the real challenge is found within the Live-Fire game mode. This is where you’ll go up against other players.. well, other players’ teams, anyway.
When first unlocking PvP, you’ll have the opportunity to set up both an Offensive and Defensive squad. Offensive squads are utilized when attacking other players’ units, and Defensive squads are deployed when other players attack you.
You can either control your units yourself, or let the AI control it – which I’ve always found to be more beneficial to my overall success if I’m being entirely honest with you.
You have a PvP ranking, but let’s be honest: The vast majority of us will never achieve a high enough rating where this will ever be of direct consequence to us. You do obtain a set amount of currency for each win, though, which can be redeemed for some pretty sick rewards: Items, Waifu’s.
Which, let me just take a brief moment to discuss. Man, the Waifu’s in this game are some of the most incredible Waifu’s I’ve ever seen.
They’re filled out in all the right places. Have some extravagant outfits. Even Mrs Stix looked at some of these characters and couldn’t do anything but stare. They’re just THAT impressive. These devs really know their target audience: Degenerates like you and me.
Oh, we’ve gone like.. almost ten minutes and we haven’t even discussed the combat yet, have we? That’s typically the first thing I mention. Whoops!
So, you’ll want to form a Team of your 4 ideal Waifu’s. A general rule of thumb for the most OP team is: The hotter the Waifu, the less she’s wearing, the bigger the booba, the more powerful and necessary she’s going to be. So go for those ones.
You’ll then set up a unit for Artillery Support, Air Support, and a Support robot. Not the hot kind. The derpy kind. And then you’re ready.
Combat itself looks even better than Counter:Side does. And I argued that it had the best looking visuals I’d seen this year. Naturally, I was surprised to be proven wrong not days later, when Artery Gear launched.
Every unit has 3 abilities. Each ability has a cooldown period between when you use it and when it can be used again. The AI doesn’t really fully grasp the importance of spacing your abilities out, so it just launches everything you have at the trash enemies before reaching the final boss.
Or, at times, healing with your big AoE heal when 1 unit has suffered 10% damage. For the most part, the AI-controlled auto-combat works well. But at times it can be more of a detriment to the success of a battle than an aid.
The battles themselves take place in smaller, instanced areas. You can’t control them – or anything for that matter, other than what abilities they possess.
Speaking of, there’s no open-world to explore in this game. There is no physical exploration – or physical control of any characters. You have the option of direct input when it comes to your Waifu’s abilities in combat, but that’s the depth of engagement outside of managing the various facilities and features.
I know this might be disappointing for some people – one of the things I love about games like Punishing Gray Raven, Genshin or heck – even games like Azur Lane and Arknights is that I still have a degree of control.
Not a whole lot, but that option of moving my characters gives me that sense of fulfillment I don’t get by not being able to control anything.
Abilities look absolutely incredible. Seeing the pre-rendered cutscenes that play every single time you utilize one of your special abilities… well okay, the first couple times you see them used, you’re in absolute awe. After seeing it for the 20th time in 10 minutes, you immediately skip it as soon as it’s cast.
Then we have a Fleet.
Our Fleet has various functions: The Supply Ship, which allows you to earn coin over time with no input from you. The Armament Ship, which does the same for the XP items. Mothership, which functions as your housing system. Science Vessel, for upgrading and transferring effects of gear.
And the Exploration ship, which allows you to send out Waifu’s on Dispatch missions, accumulating resources and materials.
Honestly, I kinda just check in once a day but didn’t really devote much time or attention to it. I never really do with those features in games. Not particularly sure why that is, honestly.
I know a lot of you are curious as to what’s in the Cash Shop.. and honestly, it’s not bad. Some materials. Items that will help you upgrade your Waifu’s. That will probably provide you a little less need to grind. Some decent – not great, but decent gear that you can quickly outgrind with the Target Elimination game mode.
Ah, right. Yes, this is a Gacha game. As the title would imply. Naturally, that means you’re going to be able to roll for and ultimately be disappointed by a surplus of Waifu’s that you just don’t want.
A single pull costs 180 gems, so 1 multi-roll is going to cost you 1,800. Every pull you make rewards you with an Elite Recruitment Order. Once you obtain 200 of these, you can redeem the banner character completely free. So, the pity is 200 pulls total. Not horrible, but honestly not very good either.
The drop-rate is 84.5% for 3* Waifu’s, 13% for 4* Waifu’s, 2.5% for 5* Waifu’s and 0.7% for rate up characters.
If you don’t obtain the 200 Recruitment Orders to obtain the banner character, those Orders will be converted over to Normal Orders, that you can use to redeem a normal 5* Waifu from the normal shop. Meaning it’s only a matter of time until you obtain the event Waifu.
Honestly, I’ve seen much worse Gacha systems and significantly worse pity systems. Here’s looking at you Fate/Grand Order and Dislyte. And realistically, this seems a lot more fair than other more popular games out there – at least in the long-term.
Then we have other features like the Daily Login for daily rewards, the Beginner Login for a Waifu and other rewards, Rookie Training – which is a newbie feature that rewards you with tons of items for just playing the game. Pre Mission Briefing, which is similar to the Rookie Training. Daily and Weekly Missions.
Seriously. The sheer number of things to do in this game absolutely baffles me. There is an astronomically exorbitant number of things to do to occupy your time. As this is a new game, I feel like the 6 hours I’ve been spending in it every day since it launched isn’t close to being enough to fully accomplish everything I want to.
I was never at a loss of things to do. I had seemingly endless pools of Stamina to run every type of content I wanted. To farm all of the XP items I needed to max out my team of 4. To gear them in 5* pieces. To upgrade their skills, and continue to slowly unlock their Technology levels.
I could play without any limitations. I’m aware this won’t remain the case forever, and if you’re watching this months after the game launches, you very well may run into some Stamina problems like you do in all Gacha games after their launch events are over.
Being capable of picking this up at any point in the day, set 5, 15, 30 instances of a Mission to farm for me automatically while I work, while I play other games, is a feature I wasn’t aware I needed in my games.
Sure, there are some issues present. The Gacha system itself isn’t too great. 200 pulls to hit Pity is painful to even think about. I couldn’t find an option to actually engage other players in real-time PvP. I’m not sure if that’s because there is no real-time PvP or I’m just blind.
I guess one of you will no doubt correct me if I’m wrong down in the comments.
The translations for the story were… well, not bad. Just a little.. robotic. Lacking in emotion. I’m not sure if I’m the only one that really picked up on that or not. It felt like someone ran it through Google Translate, and then corrected grammar.
Is Artery Gear: Fusion the worst Gacha game of 2022? No way. On the contrary, this is one of the most fun Gacha games I’ve had the pleasure of playing recently. Everything about this game was of such contrastingly higher quality than so many of its competitors.
Its flashy, fluid combat. Its incredible Waifu’s – of which there are many. Its variety in terms of content to consume. Not being inhibited by Stamina constraints, being capable of doing everything I wanted to at any point in the day.
Find me a better game release in 2022. The only thing that can even come close is Counter:Side.