Now on the second quarter of 2021, I decided to try out yet another game that I've heard, in a genre I don't usually monitor. This time, I tried out Counter:Side.
Fighting unknown enemies with supernatural abilities
The worldview of Counter:Side is an interesting, if not a familiar one. Hostile lifeforms started appearing from an alternate dimension (in this case, it's the eponymous Counterside), and at the same time, several people awakened their own supernatural powers to fight the threat.
You play as the CEO of a private military company that handles various tasks related to the Counterside threat (I heard a bit of comparisons to a certain game having a pharmaceutical company instead, which is where I heard this game from).
Immediately, the title screen caught my attention. It is interestingly animated.
The tutorial will guide you through the basic mechanics of the game, which I will explain later in this post. The first thing I noticed of the game is the cleanliness of the interface, which comes from where the game was developed at I guess.
The home interface is where you can access most of the game's features. There are three main tabs: Home, Manage, Community.
The Home tab deals with the main modes of the game. The biggest button in there is the Operation menu, which contains the main stages of the game. You can also access the Squad menu, the PvP mode (Gauntlet), the gacha (Recruit), the farming mode (World Map), and the Headquarters for various maintenance tasks.
The Manage tab contains mostly management stuff, as you can tell from the title. The settings and mail can be accessed from here, you can manage your units, see your collection, and see your items in storage. Curiously, there's a button that is currently disabled called the Leasing Inquiry. I wonder what it does.
The Community tab contains features that are social in nature. You can access the Partners menu (the friends functionality) and the Consortium menu (the guild functionality).
Operation is the main mode of Counter:Side. There's a lot of stage options in this game. There's the main story, called the Main Stream, then there are the farming stages (Supply Operation and Simulation?), then Side Stories and Free Contract (I'm not sure if they're equivalent or not), and finally the per-character story Counter Case.
How the Main Stream is structured is quite interesting. Those consists of Episodes, which are divided into Acts, and further divided into individual stages. There are two difficulty levels of stages, Normal and Hard, and Hard is unlocked after clearing all Normal stages. Each stage sometimes have several objectives, and sometimes don't, so make sure to check beforehand for total completion.
The main battlefield interface has a map system (reminds me of a game I played a few months ago), and will allow you to land several squads. Landing Points allow you land any squads, Assault Points require you to land an Assault Ship (more on that later).
Each stage can have its rewards multipled by using the Info currency, or repeatedly run. There is a "power saving" mode that hides all the battle and simply shows the current time. This is something I've seen in a Korean-made game before, so it is quite interesting to see the feature return here.
Each battle will either need to destroy the enemy's main unit or defend your own ship against waves of enemies. You will be given a certain amount of points at the start of the game that will regenerate. These points are used to deploy your units. Each unit's movements and basic skills are automatically controlled, but you have to manually trigger their ultimate skills. I will explain more about the unit types and roles later in the post.
The Squad menu is where you can edit the formation of your squads. Each Squad consists of a ship and units.
There are four types of ships: Assault, Cruiser, Armored, and Auxiliary, with each ship having a different skillset and movement range.
There are three unit types in this game:
- Counters are powerful combatants with powerful special skills and Ultimates.
- Soldiers don't have skills nor ultimates, but they are deployed in groups.
- Mechs are versatile robots with skills but without ultimates.
There are a lot of unit roles in the game but four are involved in the power balance: Striker, Ranger, Sniper, and Defender, and one role has an advantage against the next one, in that order. There are also 3 additional roles not in the balance: Supporter, Siege, and Tower.
The Gauntlet mode is the PvP mode of the game. There are two Gauntlet types available: Ranked, which involves live control of units, and Strategy, which are automated. Otherwise, it seems pretty similar to PvPs of other games of similar type. There are league tiers which is dependent on the current score you have.
The Recruit menu is the primary means of obtaining high-rarity units. The primary currency is Quartz, with 1500 of it required for a 10-pull. Rates are decent, at 3.5% for the highest rarity SSR.
The Headquarters has four sections: Lab, Workshop, Hangar, and CEO's Office. Each one of those deals with different types of things.
The Lab are mostly concerned with units. Implant allows you to raise the stats of your units by sacrificing other units. Skill Training does what it says, it allows you to increase your unit's skill levels. Limit Break allows you to increase your unit's maximum level.
The Workshop is primarily concerned with equipment. You can craft equipments in the Crafting Facility, enhance them with Gear Enhancement, and change their properties with Gear Tuning.
The Hangar is primarily concerned with ships. You can build ships in the Ship Construction menu, and upgrade your ships in the Ship Service menu.
The CEO's Office is where you can do three things: Salary Negotiation, which is how you can boost your unit's levels, Lifetime Contract, which grants a few perks to units at 100 Loyalty, and Scout, where you can recruit units if you have the requisite fragments.
The Salary Negotiation system is a bit of a curious system, where you can spend more or less money than needed, with different rewards based on what is spent.
The World Map allows you to open branches of your company all around the world. Those branches will allow you to do various Dispatch Missions to earn rewards. Some of those missions require a squad to start. Those Missions can also result in Dives and Raids.
The Management screen is where you can look at all units and ships you have. You can also manage your unit's equipments here, alongside of information about the unit.
The Collection is where you can see everything you've collected so far and review all the stories you unlocked, with bonus Quartz if you complete a set.
The Storage menu allows you to see all the supplies and gears you have.
The Partner menu is the friends system of this game, allowing you to add other players as Partners and you will be able to use their squads as Support in operations.
There is a mentee and mentor system that rewards you and your mentor/mentee for certain tasks. While I am not enrolled in it, this may be something you want.
The Consortium system is Counter:Side's guild system. You can join an existing one or create new. Creating a new Consortium required 1000 Quartz. The system looks pretty advanced, with check-ins everyday, weekly missions, and Consortium levels. The interesting thing I've found is the ability to set notices for the entire Consortium, which I find fascinating.
Pretty nice for what it does
I've been playing Counter:Side for a couple of days now, it's a pretty nice game. The daily gameplay is similar to at least some of the games I played before. While at the beginning, manual control is quite fun, a few days into the game, and you'll be using the Auto control. It has all the hallmarks of a Korean-made game, clean interface, a pretty advanced PvP system, even the voice is Korean! The "power saving" mechanic is pretty nice too, allowing you to farm while idle or working. However, I don't feel attached enough to the characters nor the world-view interesting enough to justify sustaining playing it, making it a daily thing.
In conclusion, Counter:Side is a pretty fun game to play, if that's your thing. This is not in a genre that I usually play nor it's something that I feel emotionally invested in, but I think it's worth a try.