Part 176: Challenge ModeChallenge Mode
Today I'll be giving a quick overview of Challenge Mode, a new mode which unlocks once we beat day 50 and hit the credits.
When selected, it pulls us up to the deployment screen for day 51, with the same exact setup we had when we last beat the game. There are a couple of changes, however. First off, every department has the "Conditions Not Met" sign next to its name-supposedly we used to be able to refight the Sephirot and that was patched out, leaving this as a relic. Either way, the highest Ordeal level shows as Dawn. This is a lie, as day 51 has no Ordeals-but they do start showing up again on day 52 onward. There's also another change that's possible to see before starting, but it's a bit more hidden. We have to bring up an Abnormality's info to see it.
All of those nice bonuses we've been getting to our work success are gone now. This means that we'll get fewer successes on our works overall, and it changes a lot of our calculations for working with WAW and ALEPH abnormalities after they start getting overload penalties.
Starting the day, a few other things become apparent. In no particular order:
-Like day 46-50, only 5 Clerks per department
-Architecture keeps its Day 50 design
-Da'at remains between Records+Extraction
-All department meltdown resistances have been removed.
Additionally, we no longer get Memory Repository checkpoints. Challenge mode is a marathon from day 51 every time we start. No more Abnormalities get chosen, either, so what we see is what we get.
As a side note, Da'at's existence breaks a couple of Ordeals-any Ordeal which spawns itself on a per-department basis will never be cleared during Challenge Mode, because the game doesn't spawn a group in Da'at but will nonetheless be looking for Ordeal defeats as if it had. In effect this means some Ordeals just won't give us bonus energy. Oh well!
Our energy goal starts at 1290, and increases by 30 each day. In general if we can beat the game then Challenge Mode should just be a sort of playground to test various things out or focus on the main game loop if that's what we're into.
I'm in a hurry, though, so I've slapped on a mod which allows me to access the game's console commands. Now, by pressing the ` key a command prompt comes up. There are a number of console commands we can use-when I post a list of all the mods I used I'll include a link to more thorough documentation-but there's only one that matters for our purposes.
We type in the magic words (a reference to a book series whose author should really stop talking), hit enter, and instantly get 9999 energy towards our goal.
This instantly clears the day and lets us continue. I then do this about another 48 or so times. In total, it takes ~an hour and a half due to load times. Each day gives us 7 LOB, so it's quite possible to build up a new group of Agents should we lose a few along the way.
Anyways, here's us an hour and a half later. Don't worry about the missing Agents on the right, I used them for some other content I needed to get. Any losses or gains from Challenge Mode don't count towards our actual save-this is all just for fun.
I load in to day 99, beat the day, and click to advance.
This day took ~13 seconds all told. My average time spent on a day was closer to 3 seconds-the load times associated with a larger facility can get to be pretty bad and since we'd be playing so much in a row to get this far legitimately the memory leak could become an issue as well. Still, we finally get to see what happens if we hit day 100. When we hit continue...
During the loading screen, the game loops us back around to day 1...
And then restarts, kicking us back to the title screen. Day 99 is the absolute end of Challenge Mode, and any attempts to go further will cause the game to restart. There are no prizes for getting to the end, only the satisfaction of knowing you're very good at gathering energy. Congratulations!