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Video Game / Arknights

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"Fight, in this endless night, until the dawn."
Fight for the dawn

Arknights is a mobile Tower Defense game with RPG elements developed by Hypergryph. Originally available in Chinese, a global server with English language support released on January 16, 2020.

Visit the global website here.

This game provides examples of:

  • Anime Theme Song: A curious example wherein the song being used in this style is provided by an American band; "Monster" from Starset has served as the game's vocal theme tune since its 2017 reveal, with late 2019 and 2020 material, most prominently the actual animated global launch trailer, shifting over to using "Unbecoming".
  • An Interior Designer Is You: Dormitories can be customized with purchasable furniture. Higher-quality furniture provides better comfort rating, which in turn improves the morale recovery of operators.
  • Anti-Air: Certain Snipers prioritize airborne units over their ground counterparts. There are also special anti-drone tiles, which boosts the damage of unit standing on it against enemy drones. Some Guards can also do this, hitting airborne enemies with their Sword Beams or equivalent, most prominently SilverAsh, a highly-popular 6-star unit.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • Unlike other gacha games, Arknights treat duplicates differently, in that you keep every operator you've recruited without an Arbitrary Headcount Limit, therefore eliminating the need to discard unused ones or buy extra storage space in the cash shop, and extras are turned into Tokens, which can be spent to improve a given operator's potentials.
    • Skill upgrades are applied to all of an operator's abilities, even retroactively if they gain new ones via promotion. If an operator has a maximum of three skills and the player upgrades the first one to max level, the other two will be maxed out as well when they are unlocked.
    • Quitting out of a level effectively refunds 95% of your spent Sanity, 100% if it's the first time you've played that map, which makes retrying much less punishing compared to similar games of this kind. The exceptions are Challenge levels, which only refund half of the entry fee upon quitting, as well as Annihilation maps, in which the Sanity return scales inversely proportional to the amount of enemies killed.
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  • Anti Poop-Socking: The game runs on a stamina system (called Sanity here) which regenerates at one point per 5 minutes. Considering that daily grinding stages use up to 30 sanity per run, expect a lot of waiting if you don't use Originite Prime or sanity-restoring items.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only have twelve members on a team, plus one from your Friend List. Of that, only eight is allowed to be deployed at the same time in the field.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: 5 and especially 6-star operatives are mostly very powerful, but they also cost a lot of battle drills to level, money to do so, and metric tons of rare materials to promote and enhance. "Money Sink" doesn't come close to describing their upkeep cost. Their rarity also mostly precludes getting duplicates of them to turn into Tokens, which are used to reduce DP cost as well as enhancing their skills and talents. While they may be more powerful comparatively to more common operatives of the same level, their performance will require just as much effort to maintain and improve.
  • Bland-Name Product: Raythean is an obvious riff on the real-life defense contractor Raytheon. They manufacture combat equipment, such as Savage's hammer and Vulcan's shield, as well as drones of various types, including the models that Closure kitbashed into Lancet-2 and Castle-3.
  • Bottomless Pit: Present on certain maps. Any enemy unit that is pushed/pulled into one is instantly killed, making certain Specialists extremely effective on these maps.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The main gameplay use of Originite Prime is to fully recharge your Sanity or be turned into gacha currency. It can be obtained by clearing maps with three stars or directly through microtransactions.
  • Cast Herd: The Operators get sorted into these depending on who they used to work for before coming to Rhodes Island (or are still a part of, in some cases). The Penguin Logistics crew tend to interact with one another and have a linked plot thread, for example, as do the Rhine Lab characters, or the Kjerag characters (centered around Silverash and his Karlan Company), or the Lungmen characters, et cetera.
  • Crapsack World: The world of Arknights is plagued by great Catastrophes— manifesting in forms such as storms, earthquakes, and falling meteorites — forcing civilizations to adopt a nomadic lifestyle with the help of mobile cities.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Getting infected with oripathy may awaken a person's hidden magical talent, or in some cases even enhance it. It still won't save them from slow, agonizing death without proper treatment, and even with treatment, oripathy symptoms and side effects can end up as various flavors of nigh-debilitating (Eyjafjalla, for example, is only barely not functionally deaf, even with RI-supplied hearing aids).
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted, though it's handled in a rather odd way. Guns are stated to be an invention from Laterano, and its use seems to be very limited outside of said nation. Dobermann states that Jessica's handgun is an "extremely rare and valuable weapon" and is promptly shocked when Jessica reveals that she bought it with her own money. It certainly helps to explain why most Snipers use bows or crossbows.
  • Fantastic Racism: Though the game focuses more on the conflict between oripathy-infected and non-infected people, background materials hint that not all Ancient races get along with each other. For example, Firewatch's profile mentions that Sarkaz are marginalized to a degree, being stereotyped as selfish, cynical, and malicious. One subtype of Sarkaz, the "blood demons" (which includes Warfarin), are even villified as vampire-like boogeymen. (Granted, Warfarin's Elite 2 art demonstrates why others might find them intimidating...)
  • Fictional Currency: Aside from tokens and shop credits, the main currency used in-setting is the Lungmen Dollar, or LMD for short in the global release. More exotic currency types extend, but are not limited to, Originium and Orundum.
  • Functional Magic: Originium Arts (or simply Arts), which is the manipulation of Originium to produce a desired effect, functions as the magic analogue in this game. At first, Arts were only practiced by people infected by oripathy, but advancements in technology allows non-infected people to also utilize Arts (which is not without controversy, as any handling of Originium by non-infected carries risk).
  • Funny Animals: Although they're outnumbered by Ancients, they do exist. Spot is a recruitable example.
  • Improbably Female Cast: At current, the cast is heavily skewed towards female characters. The developers seem to be aware of this and have been steadily introducing more male operators.
  • Item Farming: Promoting operators and raising their skill levels require items that drop from campaign missions. It's possible to combine low-tier items into high-tier ones.
  • La Résistance: The Reunion Movement is composed of oripathy-infected people who view the discrimination against them as systematic oppression. As such, they seek to eradicate the system entirely, even through violent means.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Called "Ancients" as a whole, they are further subdivided according to the animals they resemble. Ancients make up most of the population in the world of Arknights and have a higher risk of being infected by oripathy.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Generic Reunion units have this aesthetic.
  • Marathon Level: Annihilation Mode, which pits you against four hundred Reunion troops of escalating difficulty, in a game where regular stages rarely feature more than 100 enemies. In fact, the game doesn't expect you to finish it all the way (at least at first); rewards are handed out based on how many enemies are killed.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: In the "Operator" business of the world of Arknights, going by a nom de guerre or callsign is very common, and the playable characters of Rhodes Island are no exception; most of the names you recruit them by are their codenames, and their real names are sometimes provided in their profiles, in the plot, or in secondary materials (and this is why some of the character names can seem a bit silly at first glance). For some, though, their codename is all they have, for any number of various reasons, and some just use their given or family names as their callsigns.
  • The Plague: One unfortunate side effect of Originium is that exposure may lead to oripathy, a disease where small patches of Originium embed itself on the body, which then grow until the infected is completely engulfed. It is incurable (though, with Rhodes' technology in particular, treatable and manageable depending on infection progression) and is theorized to have 100% mortality rate. Since living and dead infected serve as vectors of the disease, many cities have taken measures to segregate them from the general populace, which has, as noted, led to problems. One of the narrative thrusts of the game is helping Rhodes Island develop new treatments with an eye toward maybe, possibly, finding a cure.
  • Play Every Day: There are daily log-in bonuses and daily missions that reward useful items. For the first week of play, there is an additional log-in bonuses that awards Cliffheart on the last day.
  • Player Headquarters: Rhodes Island Infrastructure Complex (RIIC) serves at this. It contains production workshops, trading posts, dormitories for your operators, and a host of other facilities.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: 6 stars are the highest rarity units you could possibly have. They all have high stats, great abilities and passives. They are a cut above units of lower rarity, but have the Deployment Points cost to match.
  • Private Military Company: Blacksteel Worldwide is one of the more well-known security contractors in the setting. Aside from providing security work, they also take part in post-disaster relief and operates a biochemical response unit. They seem to have close ties to Rhodes Island, given that four of Blacksteel operators are currently under their employ.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: The latter half of Chapter 2 takes place on the rooftops of Lungmen. Fittingly, this is the point where the player is introduced to Bottomless Pits and the push/pull mechanic.
  • Schizo Tech: The level of technology presented in the setting varies wildly. Recruitable Snipers, for example, are armed with everything from modern rifles to bow and arrows.
  • Unobtainium: Originium, a black, crystalline mineral with incredible energy density, which can only be found in the site of great catastrophes. It has seen use as everything from power source to construction material.

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