Part 3: Day 1 - GameplayDay 1: Gameplay
Music: neutral 1
Welcome back to the deployment screen. I recommend clicking the song link here, because the opening 30 seconds of neutral have been drilled into the head of anyone who has played this game.
When we start the game, we're given one free Agent, who is totally random. We got Paul. Let's take a look at him.
At the top, we can see an Agent's level (I), title (Plucky Newbie) and their name (Paul). Beneath that, the Agent's equipment is listed, with some basic information about the damage/defenses it gives. Every Agent is automatically equipped with a riot stick and standard uniform, both of which are not very good. Below that, it shows the Agent's four stats, which are based on four different virtues and have colors which refer to the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Fortitude is the Red stat, and determines maximum Health Points, or HP.
Prudence is the White stat, and determines maximum Sanity Points, or SP.
Temperance is the Black stat, and adds to Work Success and Work Speed with Abnormalities.
Justice is the Pale(teal) stat, and increases Movement Speed and Attack Speed with weapons.
Paul is terrible at all of them, but least terrible at Justice.
We toss him into the Control team, and hit Begin Management to start the day.
This is the Management Phase. Most of the game is spent on this screen. The facility is tiny for now, only two rooms and a hallway leading to an Abnormality, but almost every day it'll get a little bit bigger.
In the upper-right, our active missions are shown. Right now, we only have that mission from Malkuth to work with an Abnormality 3 times. In the upper left is a gauge which shows us how much energy we've collected towards our goal for the day, and just below that is the Qliphoth Gauge, which won't matter yet. In the lower left, there's play/pause controls, and just above that is a tracker which will tell us everything of note that's happened that day. Our Agent, Paul, is sitting in the main room, and it looks like he has something to say!
What a kissass. Let's put him to work.
This is our first abnormality, O-03-03, a floating human skull on a cross.
By clicking on it, the work menu comes up, and asks what kind of work we want to do.
Instinct is the Red work type, and consists of feeding or cleaning Abnormalities. It trains an agent's Fortitude.
Insight is the White work type, and consists of tidying the Abnormality's room, or putting on relaxing music. It trains an agent's Prudence.
Attachment is the Black work type, and consists of communicating with an Abnormality, generally via talking. It trains an agent's Temperance.
Finally, Repression is the Pale work type, and consists of controlling their emotions via suppression work (read: ). It trains an agent's Justice.
We'll start with Repression work.
After selecting a work, we see a list of all our Agents in the same department, with an estimate of both their success rate and work time for the chosen work type. Since we have no information on ol' skull cross, both fields say 'immeasurable.' We select Paul, and he's off.
Upon stepping in, we see our first fear check! Whenever an Agent sees something scary like an Abnormality or a fellow Agent dying, the Agent's level is compared to the fear level of whatever they see. If it's equal or better, they're fine. Otherwise, they take a certain percentage of their max SP immediately, regardless of protections. We got Calm, so Paul is fine and gets right to work making energy boxes.
Also, there is a new red segment in the Qliphoth Gauge. Every time an Agent starts working with an Abnormality, this bar goes up, but since we will need 4 works to fill the gauge and only need 3 to deal with Malkuth's mission that won't be an issue today.
He screws up immediately. The circled red-and-black box in the gauge on the left is a negative PE box, and it means the Agent failed that work check. Whenever this happens, the Abnormality deals a certain amount of damage to our Agent. There are four types of damage an Abnormality can deal:
Red damage is physical damage, like getting slashed or stabbed. It lowers HP.
White damage is mental damage, like having a skull on a cross insult you. It lowers SP.
Black damage is compound damage, and is described as being stabbed with thorns. It lowers both HP and SP.
Pale damage is soul damage, and deals percentage damage based on the character's max HP. Taking 100 Pale will kill any Agent, regardless of HP.
We don't know how much damage it dealt, but the White clouds on the corners of the room mean that it dealt SP damage.
Each Abnormality also has a number of phrases which pop up as it is worked. These ones that show up are random from a list and are mostly there for flavor, but if you guys are interested I could try pulling them out of the xml script.
Anyways, we leave him to it and Paul manages to get a total of 7 energy out of that work-good enough for a Normal result. Our energy gauge has gone up to 7/15, so we're a little less than half done with the day. That wasn't so bad!
The number beneath the giant face is a cooldown timer, showing how many seconds it will take before the Abnormality is ready to be worked again.
So, we wait for the timer to go down and send him back again. Looking at the red & blue bars next to his picture, we can see that Paul is at 11/15 SP remaining. That should be more than enough for another work. This is the gameplay loop of Lobotomy Corporation at its most basic: work, wait, work again.
Okay. Maybe we can salvage this. Angela did just tell us that we're over halfway there, and we can see we only need five energy. One of the most important things to do in Lobotomy Corporation is figuring out which work types our Abnormalities like. Since Repression didn't go so well the second time, let's try something else.
Maybe Instinct would work? Please note that Paul has 0 SP left-this is one of those games where it's possible to have a fraction of a health left and still be fine by technicality.
We'll need to do perfectly, but we can still
When an Agent runs out of SP, they panic. This makes them uncontrollable. Whenever an Agent does panic, their Sephirah will chime in to let us know about it. Worse, since we only have one Agent and no way to get him back under control, Angela also pops up to scold us for not paying attention, and we're told to return to the Day 1 Memory Repository and try again. As for Paul...
He decides to pull out a crowbar and start freeing Abnormalities. Unfortunately for him, since the only Abnormality in the facility is O-03-03 and it's an immobile skull, all he can do is stand there and stare menacingly at the door for all of eternity.
Paul: Such a failure that he can't even screw things up right.
Clicking on the button up top brings us back here, where we will never let Paul do anything ever again. Let's get some real Agents.
Much better. Let's get started for real this time.
...and that's why they had to install regenerators in all the rooms. It's true, I swear it!
What about that Paul guy? What happened to him?
I hear after he finally pulled himself together, he went to ask that new manager for leave. I'm sure it went well.
Agents have a lot of things they can say based on their personalities and levels. As newbies, these two are just happy to be here.
Anyways, old skelly won't work himself. We have Mizu give Insight work a try.
Orders from the top, everyone!
Oh, boy! I finally get to dust?
No time for questions! Get to it!
Mizu immediately screws up. This is probably going to be a theme with this game.
Meanwhile, Talow nervously awaits his own turn.
Mizu walks away with 6 energy and heads back to the main room, while Talow walks in to try his hand at Insight work.
Huuuf I need a break.
Main rooms are incredibly important, because they're where our agents restore their HP/SP. The big green bar next to the + shows us how long it will be before the next heal.
Okee-doke! All rested.
One tic of healing brought Mizu from 10 sp to 16 sp, just about full. The basic plan is to have these two alternate working O-03-03 until we have enough energy to finish the day-
Or Talow could just immediately put us over with a perfect work.
Taking damage seemed like a pain in the ass.
Angela chimes in not only to tell us that we're half done
But that we're all done! We can click that complete button up top whenever we want to finish the day, but we need to do one more work for Malkuth's mission so we're sticking it out. Now, it's time to gain some information about our new friend, O-03-03.
By clicking on the Abnormality's name, we can bring up the Abnormality details screen. Here, we can spend the energy boxes we've gotten from it in order to unlock various bits of information about the Abnormality. Basic Information gives us the Abnormality's picture, threat level, damage type/amount, name, and several other minor pieces of information. Managerial Guidelines gives us notes on how to handle the Abnormality, and mentions any quirks that it has. Work Preferences tells us how well the Abnormality responds to each work type, and finally Escape Information tells us about the Abnormality's defenses when it escapes.
In general, new players should prioritize Managerial Guidelines and then Work Preferences so that they can quickly get used to their Abnormalities.
I am not a new player. Say hello to One Sin and Hundreds of Good Deeds, everyone!
Each category that we fully unlock will add to our Observation Level, and we get bonuses to Work Success or Speed with each level we get. Since the guidelines/preferences almost always cost more than the general/escape information to fully unlock, if we already know how an Abnormality works it's best to focus on whatever's cheapest to get those bonuses. Right now, we're getting a +5% Work Success rate, and a bonus +5 to our Work Speed to go with it. Works with One Sin will now be faster and more consistent. Raising our Observation Level also unlocks the ability to buy gear, but that costs more boxes so we can't do that yet.
Anyways, since Temperance looks like a winner let's have Mizu try and redeem herself with one last work attempt.
Talk to the skull talk to the skull Okay! I can do that! Hello, Mr. Skull!
Oooh boy. Here goes nothing..!
She does one point better, but not well enough to afford any new observations.
Isn't that just Attachment work?
Yeah, but I mean when I talked to it, it seemed to react?
That's definitely just Attachment work.
I wanna do it again. Talow, I'm skipping in line!
Huh? If you wanna
No time for that, you two! I just spoke with the manager. We're on the verge of a meltdown, so we're packing in for the day!
Aww Another day, Onesy.
When we click the work complete button, we get this results screen. Under Missions Cleared, we can see that we've cleared the mission Malkuth gave us!
The timeline on the right tracks how long we spent, as well as any deaths/panics that we saw throughout the day. On the left it tracks our Agents' stat increases and promotions. This early on the numbers barely move, but worth noting is that despite his better performance, Talow gained less Prudence than Mizu did (2 vs 4). We'll cover why that is in a mechanics update later on.
Beneath that is our ranking, which has our overall rank, survival rate, and our LOB reward for the day-the money we use to buy and upgrade more Agents. In general, we want to get an S or an A rank in order to get as many LOB as possible to use on future days. We're going to need a lot of
Music: never frozen bottom flows
This is the final type of loading screen. It progresses through each step on the screen in order, and then takes us to
The Abnormality selection screen. We have a choice of three, and here's their hint text:
F-02-44: However, the curse continues eternally, never broken.
O-02-56: People have been committing sins since long ago. "Why do they commit sins, knowing it's wrong?"
T-06-27: This is a recording of the day we must never forget.
This is an absolutely cruel choice, and I need a moment to explain why. One of my goals in this thread is to get through the plot as efficiently as possible, and to do that there are a couple of Abnormalities I'm keeping an eye out for. -56 is one of them, because it's an Abnormality who can help with several missions down the road. The problem is that it's not a very good training Abnormality for early game, and -27 is one of the best possible day 2 picks on a first run when nobody has any stats in anything.
The game has just dangled two things I really want in front of me on the first day, and said "what's it going to be?" I am being bullied.
After a solid five minutes of thinking about it...
I decide that short-term growth is better right now than long-term planning. Here's hoping we don't pay dearly for that one.
Next time, on Lobotomy Corporation: We talk to Angela and Malkuth again! I'm sure nobody will die this time.