Worst Gacha Ever | Episode 4 - Counter:Side
More often than not, games are so overhyped that they ultimately fail to live up to the grandiose expectations set by their respective communities. This is all too common these days.
Companies release these absolutely stunning trailers that hype players up to unrealistic levels, only for players to play it and realize that it’s not remotely close to what they were expecting.
Thankfully, this is one of those rare instances where that isn’t true.
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 analyze what the game does right.. and what it does wrong, based off of my experiences within it over a period of time.
Counter:Side is an absolutely stunning horizontal side-scrolling Live2D Anime RPG that is arguably the most stunning game I’ve had the pleasure playing as part of this series.
I’m not very familiar with Live2D animations, but they definitely bring something new to the game – something that I wasn’t aware I needed. Seeing them move so fluidly – almost like they’re alive.
Albeit, they kinda just stand there for minutes at a time while I’m navigating through my menus.
I guess, then, let’s start this off by talking about our units.
We, the player, take on the role of CEO of a mercenary organization. It’s always been a dream of mine to run an organization filled with some of the hottest Waifu’s in the world – but my wife Mrs Stix told me I’m not allowed to. So this is the only chance I’ll get. As CEO, we recruit a variety of different Waifu’s and Husbando’s into our service.
These units take on one of several roles. Striker, Sniper, Ranger and Defender. Each role has their strengths and weaknesses. As an example, the Striker class is strong against the Ranger class, but weak to the Sniper class. The Sniper, on the other hand, is strong against the Striker class, but weak against the Defender class.
Yes, you could do what I did and just fill your group with 8 of the hottest Waifu’s you could. But in the long-term, you’re going to want an even, balanced team to most efficiently fit the occasion. You don’t want 5 Striker’s, because if you come across a group of Sniper’s.. well, you’re dead.
Thankfully, at the time of recording this, there’s an event going on – as the game just launched, allowing players to potentially obtain hundreds of characters. And honestly? The rates in Counter:Side aren’t nearly as bad as I would’ve anticipated them being.
You have a 15% chance of obtaining an SR character, and a 3.5% chance of obtaining an SSR character. I managed over 8 SSR characters in the couple hundred pulls I made.
There’s a Pity system present referred to as “Ensured Recruitment,” and admittedly it’s not great. After recruiting 150 units, you’ll acquire the featured unit available on the banner – although if you obtain them prior to hitting your Pity the Pity counter will reset.
This is a much higher number than its competition – in games like Azur Lane or Punishing Gray Raven, both of which are much more fair.
Units have a degree of customization. On the one hand, you have the option of selecting their outfit. Which is arguably one of the most important aspects of the game. I recall people calling me out for still using SilverAsh’s default skin in Arknights. Like, dude. Skins ain’t cheap, and I’m poor IRL.
You have gear – a weapon, a piece of armor, an accessory, and a currently locked option. Gear has varying rarities, as you’d expect, with options to upgrade and enhance them at the cost of weaker gear pieces.
You can level your characters via Salary Negotiation. This is easily the fastest way of opening new content. There are 3 options when leveling your characters:
The cheap option – which reduces the cost, has no chance of increased loyalty, and no chance at additional XP gain. The moderate option, with a 20% chance at increased XP and loyalty gain. And then the “I’m so rich it doesn’t matter” option, with a 60% chance of increased XP, 50% increased loyalty, and 30% increased cost.
I chose the rich people option every time, because if I can’t do it IRL, you best bet I’ll do it in-game. Unfortunately, I ran outta money quite rapidly.
You can Limit Break your characters. These either cost duplicates used as materials, or materials that align with their affinity.
Limit Breaking your character can only be done up until the maximum number of stars they possess. Meaning you cannot 6* a character that only has access to 5 stars such as an SR unit.
If you’re unlucky like I typically am, and don’t manage many SSR units, then this is no doubt going to severely inhibit your chances at success as the game goes on, because the difficulty continues to scale exponentially every Chapter.
And finally, you’re capable of upgrading their Skills – at the cost of Skill books. For reference, every single material required for each feature listed above can be farmed in the game without too much difficulty.
I know, I know. “Geez, Stix, you’ve been talking about your Waifu’s for the last 3 minutes.” I’m sorry, there really just is quite a bit of depth to your characters – and that’s something I can genuinely appreciate.
In terms of content, you have the “Main Stream,” which functions as the story. As you make progress through the story, you unlock additional Chapters. New characters. Extra features. I’ve cleared part way through Chapter 5 thus far – although as noted, it has gotten quite difficult.
So difficult, in fact, that half the levels I’m doing I can barely manage 2 out of 3 medals on. Even maximizing my upgrades as far as I possibly can at this juncture.
Then we have the Supply Operation. This is one of multiple methods that allow for you to obtain materials to upgrade your characters. And from what I’ve experienced personally, has been the main method with which I’ve farmed coin in-game. As coin is necessary to upgrade pretty much every facet of the game.
We have the Simulation tab, featuring Attack, Defense and Anti-air missions that reward appropriate materials.
There’s the Side Story – which honestly I haven’t really pursued much of.
Challenges, which I’ve attempted and failed. Repeatedly. I have no idea what kind of team is necessary to successfully complete one of those Challenges, but a full group of level 70 units with a level 50 ship gets wiped in 30 seconds.
Counter Case allows you to redeem rewards based on how many levels each respective operator has acquired.
And then there are Free Contracts and Events, which are essentially more of the same.
In terms of PvE, there is no shortage of options with which to expend your stamina. There are a surplus of different game modes, each with their own respective enemy types, win and lose conditions, difficulties.
So many, in fact, that you’ll often find yourself short on time rather than things to do.
Outside of PvE, there is PvP, your Branch, and your Headquarters.
First, let’s discuss the Branch. After establishing a Branch, you obtain access to Missions. You can send squads out on missions with varied durations and difficulties. You can add additional facilities to your Branch, increasing the rate or reward of various activities.
You’ll also gain access to Diving, which is kind of a mini-game within a mini-game within the game that rewards materials and currency. Honestly, with the sheer amount of things present within the game, admittedly, I haven’t explored it as much as I perhaps should have.
Now, let’s talk the Headquarters. Your Headquarters allow for you to build things like your Laboratory – featuring upgrades for your units. A Workshop, that allows you to craft and upgrade gear to equip on your units.
The Hangar, where you can take a look at all of the incredible SR and SSR ships that you’ll never have because you’re stuck with the piece of trash ship you were given when you started the game and weren’t lucky enough to win anything better because you’re a loser and a failure as a CEO.
Ahem. Sorry for that little tangent. I’m just really depressed that I never got anything better than the generic crap I received when I started the game, and never obtained enough materials to build anything better.
And then you have the Dorm. Where your Waifu’s and Husbando’s sleep. And socialize. And you meet new people visiting. Mrs Stix actually spent everything I had to decorate the first of many rooms, and, admittedly, she did an incredible job. I just had a box, a broom, and a chair in the middle of the room. Yes, I’m quite the interior decorator.
That was my calling before Youtube.
Next, PvP. I love PvP in my games. There’s just something special about beating someone down, teabagging them, then laughing at them as they single you out for the rest of the game.
Like, tell me how much I triggered you without telling me how much I triggered you, y’know?
There are 3 PvP modes available in-game. Strategy Battle, which pits your team against other players’ premade teams. This happens without input from you, and is entirely automatic.
Then there are Friendly Matches. These are matches that are 100% manual. They require you to select which units to deploy, which abilities to use. There is no auto-playing your way through this. However, after trying repeatedly for several minutes to get anyone to fight me – I gave up. Everyone had the option to engage in manual PvP disabled.
And finally, Ranked Battles, only accessible after obtaining 100 Strategy Battle Points. Which I was attempting to make my way towards, but I could never find any players available to accept my invites to engage in PvP.
Why bother listing players as “available” in the match listing, when you’re not actually capable of engaging them in combat? That seems like a complete waste of time, and an absolutely redundant, unintuitive feature.
If there is nobody available to fight me, fine, but tell me that. Don’t tell me there are hundreds of people, and then tell me all of them have manual PvP disabled.
There’s also a Guild system.. but everything was locked from access, so other than joining and looking at the guild shop.. I really couldn’t do anything.
Oh, did I mention that you can buy gear in the cash shop? It might not be the best gear in the game, but you can buy significantly better gear than I obtained through my time playing – which could potentially make it much easier to progress through the story – through the encounters I was finding difficulty with.
And yes, that does provide a certain degree of pay to win, especially in PvP, even though they claim only 10% of your gear’s statistics are utilized when engaged in PvP. But if you think about it, 10% of overpowered gear is still much higher than 10% of trash gear.
Seriously, there is an exorbitant number of things to do in this game. I feel like I spent hours every day clicking through everything – fulfilling my daily, weekly activities. Farming materials to upgrade my units with. Attempting to slowly progress with the story.
I was never at a loss of things to do. Ever. And given the amount of stamina I had access to – almost never at under 70,000, I was always able to play pretty much without limitation.
I feel like at times there was more to do in-game than I had time to give to it. I have 3 Youtube channels I post on daily, I have several games I play every day: Azur Lane, Punishing Gray Raven, Arknights. I work out for 2 hours per day, and make fresh dinners almost daily.
But being able to simply pick this up and grind for 20, 30 minutes as often as I wanted without being required to look at my dwindling stamina was a refreshing change of pace.
Sure, combat was auto. You had the option of manually deploying your units and utilizing their special abilities when you wanted. You had the choice of firing your ships abilities when you felt the time was right.
But everything just felt so complete, and so much higher quality than I had anticipated it being. I went into this with the misconception that this was going to be a pretty basic, pretty shallow game.
On the contrary, the game was packed with story, had some absolutely gorgeous character models to stare at while spending hours playing. Had incredible special effects – I legitimately felt like at times there was so much going on that it was impossible to keep track of everything.
Where were my units? Did my Waifu just get knocked down? Did she slip? Is she stunned, or is she performing an ability? Oh, that isn’t even my Waifu, that’s a random monster? Whoops, my bad.
Is Counter:Side the worst Gacha game of 2022? Not even close. On the contrary, this is one of the most fun Gacha games I’ve had the pleasure of playing recently. Everything about this game screams quality.
I mean sure, it has its flaws. Its Pity is pretty bad. But its rates are surprisingly decent. And if you play right now, you’ll probably end up with more SSR units than you’ll know what to reasonably do with.
From its story, to its combat, to its world. Counter:Side is an absolutely fantastic, fun, engaging game to waste your time in, and I was pleasantly surprised by how good this ultimately turned out.