Review | Genshin Impact
What was initially perceived as a generic Breath of the Wild clone surpassed many expectations and became one of the best, if not the best RPG released this year. For those unaware, Genshin Impact is a free-to-play RPG developed for PC, PlayStation 4, and mobile devices by developer miHoYo. You may know them best for their gacha fighting game series, Honkai Impact.
Genshin Impact is, by far, one is the most unique looking games I’ve played in a while. With its pristine anime-inspired visuals and an open world filled to with color, it’s not unlike its obvious inspiration. It’s also a game chock full of content that a lot of full-priced games wouldn’t dream of having. However, much like miHoYo’s other popular titles, Genshin Impact is still very much a gacha game,. Unfortunately, it’s one whose system does not show any mercy.
Genshin Impact takes place in the fantasy world of Teyvat. A pair of twins are forcibly separated by an encounter with a mysterious goddess in the beginning. At the start, the game asks the player to select a twin while the other is sent somewhere else. While they two have official names, the player character name is ultimately up to the player. After the encounter, you wake up to find yourself on a mysterious beach with your newfound traveling companion, Paimon, and together you go on a quest to find your lost twin.
As expected, one of Genshin Impact’s finer points is its gameplay. While combat somewhat lacks depth overall, developer miHoYo still surprisingly does a great job of making it a balanced and enjoyable experience. Players will start out with the “Traveler” (their chosen playable character) and a default sword. Like other characters, the Traveler has a basic attack, a charge attack, and an ultimate elemental attack.
Every character and enemy type in Genshin Impact is bound to an element. This includes Hydro (water), Pyro (fire), Cryo (ice), Electro (lightning), Anemo (wind), and Geo (earth). Combat mainly consists of using your character’s elemental skills to capitalize on the enemy’s elemental weaknesses. Of course, it helps to have multiple characters of different elements. While playing through the game, I noticed that the variety of enemies is quite limited. However, as you progress much further in the game, you’ll start to see more unique enemy types. Bosses will especially pose more of a challenge to players and offer more diverse situations.
From the beginning, players will have to play through various story quests before the game introduces the other playable characters. The game provides players with three additional playable characters at the earlier stages. Despite this, you’ll still have to complete a dungeon with each of them to unlock them. Like many other RPG titles, Genshin Impact includes multiple main and side quests, all of which are surprisingly engaging, fully voiced, and entertaining. That the presentation is so grand is yet another testament to the quality of the game
Aside from that, there are also many dungeons, each of which consists of the usual enemy grunts. Even so, the end will still offer a unique challenge to the player. These challenges usually consist of killing a specific amount of enemies in a given time or completing a specific task.
After each successful quest, the game rewards players with Mora (the game’s primary currency) as well as various items, consumables, and crafting materials used to upgrade weapons and talismans. These items can also be found in chests littered all across Teyvat. While weapons and talismans can be upgraded using items, characters level up with enough XP, which can be earned in battle and also comes in forms of item cards, making the process admittedly easier than in other games.
To acquire more weapons and characters, players will have to make use of Genshin Impact’s infamous gacha system by collecting Primogems, the game’s premium currency. Primogems will buy wishes and roll for a chance to get that rare character or weapon you’ve been eyeing. However, the problem with this system is that the drop rate for anything worthwhile is quite frankly abysmal. For example, five-star characters have a drop rate of 0.6%, which is quite low, even compared to other gacha games. Genshin Impact will be a lot of people’s first gacha game, too. This means that many will undoubtedly throw a lot of money into this system in hopes to get what they desire, only for the attempt to end up frustrating them.
Though you don’t have to throw money at the game, as you can farm Primogems by opening chests, completing quests, and leveling your overall Adventure Rank. However, there will come a point in the game where it will nudge you to make a purchase. This is especially due to duplicates of characters being an actual upgrade mechanic in this game.
Another aspect of the game I found unsavory is the number of main features locked away until you’ve reached a specific Adventure Rank. Some of the features include several main missions and the ability to use multiplayer. This means in order to see the full story of the game, or even have fun with a friend, you’ll have to spend a significant amount of time on the game to unlock these features.
As mentioned earlier, Genshin Impact is a visually outstanding game with crisp visuals, impeccable anime-inspired character designs, and a colorful, lush world. It also runs quite well, as I never ran into any technical issues throughout my 40-hour playtime. The characters in Genshin Impact are also unlike any other, as they are genuinely entertaining to listen to. It helps that they offer a surprising amount of depth, as well as some quality voice acting. A lot of them exhibit the usual anime tropes, but they’re good characters nonetheless.
All in all, Genshin Impact is one of the best RPG titles to release this year. Unfortunately, a stingy gachapon system and nonsensical gameplay restrictions hold it back just a bit. If you can look past that, then you’ll likely have endless hours of fun to experience.
Final Score: 8 out of 10