Genshin Impact is an Open-World Action RPG developer and published by the same team that did the mobile game Honkai Impact 3, miHoYo. This is the developer’s first game that is also available on other platforms beside mobile. A few months back, I tried Honkai Impact 3 and was actually impressed by the combat style. Sadly, being a few year old game, there was just too much content to catch up with so I gave up. To my surprise, they then announced Genshin Impact and I was excited to give miHoYo another chance.
The Big Fat Wild Elephant In the Room
Now let make this clear, the developer has claimed that the game is inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so it is no surprise seeing some of the same game mechanics in the game. If I am being honest, it seems like certain things look like a direct copy and paste from Breath of The Wild. Seeing as the game is bound to arrive on the Nintendo Switch, I bet they have been cleared by Nintendo of any copyright laws. So case closed.
A Whole New World
Credit is given where credit is due, Genshin Impact world is large and beautiful. Visually the game looks great to see even in low settings on the phone. Character designs are unique but somehow you do get a feeling you saw this character somewhere before in some anime or other JRPG. The game has great draw distance and rarely did I see any texture pop-ins.
The world is vibrant with nature like squirrel, moles and birds, which you can kill by the way. This might just be one of the most beautiful mobile game out there and this game knows it by giving you the ability to climb to the highest spots and vista to soak in the view. Photo mode is also available in the game if you want to take those beautiful shots of the scenery without any UI or character.
The game audio does get repetitive at times. There are times where audio cues get bugged out as you enter one area to another. The game has some nice tracks but this will be mostly covered up by the repetitive walking/running noises and character groans as you play through the game. The voice acting is weird because it doesn’t seem natural and at some time robotic making it hard not to cringe as you hear them talk.
A Story About The Traveler
Genshin Impact starts off with a cool action scene of you facing with an Unknown God before letting you choose either a girl or boy to be your avatar/Traveller in the game. The game makes a great first impression but all that turned out to be a narration as you play as The Traveller that has lost all his memories. It would be great if we were given a chance to fight the Unknown God but no, instead you are then quickly introduced to Paimon and where do I even begin.
Paimon is like this game Dinklebot from Destiny. It is either you love her or hate her. She will act as your guide throughout the game because you fished her (yes, not joking) out from the lake. She is the comedy relief in the story and the second voice for your Traveller since he/she does not speak at all.
The main story in this game is simple as it gets. You as go around being a “hero” helping people and city in need. As you progress you slowly gain new elemental powers as you go from one area of the map to another, a lot like Avatar: The Last Airbender. The story is predictable but seeing as the game/story is not yet completed, hopefully, the story will improve towards the end.
Playing with the Elements
Combat in this game is as simple as it gets. Most of the game you will spend time button meshing one button while waiting for your skill cooldown. Some characters do share the same attack animation so attacking between characters do get repetitive at times, but this is where your character abilities come into the play.
A big lure of Genshin Impact for me is the element system. The game has an elemental combo system that is quite though out. Switching between different elemental characters and mixing the element feels fun and devastating. One weak point of this system for me is some element feels overpowered compared to another. Like Geo (Earth) element feel very underpowered and is easily outshine by lightning or fire which when combined create an Overload Effect which creates a big explosion that damages all enemies nearby. Also with the limited characters that may be available to you, it might be hard to find the right party and element combination.
Other then that, the game revolves mostly using the right element to defeat certain enemies. It is a very simple concept which makes it very easy for newcomers to understand but also has some depth into mastering the elemental combos and team variation which will be crucial to tackle some of the game toughest challenges.
Danger Lurking in the Corner
The enemies in this game are quite varied. There are different races of enemies like goblins, human, golems and even some high tech muscle guys. The game does not do a good way of explaining the enemies lore or background. I also find it weird that some enemies look out of place (especially the futuristic neon looking enemies) in the game but what the heck *shrugs*.
There are also bosses that can be found in the world as you explore. These bosses usually have a unique attack pattern and mechanic to defeat them. The most interesting ones are the cube bosses while others are just your regular button mash until they die. It was fun facing these bosses the first few times but after you get to know their attack pattern, it kinda feels like a chore.
Resin… Resin as far as 120
Talking about bosses, you will need to stock up on resin before facing them. Resin is this game’s energy that can be recharge over time, using an item or using gems. It is the currency used to claim rewards after you complete an activity. For example, after killing a boss you will need 40 Resin to open the “chest” to get your reward.
I feel like it is just there to limit the hardcore players from grinding non-stop. I play as a casual so I don’t think the resin thing bother me that much. Just remember to use them as you go and you should be fine.
The game does give you activities to do which can overwhelm some people. There are random events, dailies, puzzles, dungeons, domain, and last but not the Spiral Abyss. Honestly, I find that the number of activities in this game is enough to keep you busy but the rewards you earn are somewhat mediocre.
When you reach a higher level, all you aiming to do is upgrade your character which consists of you grinding domains or killing bosses for materials. It is a simple grinding system which can make some people feel a little repetitive. Speaking about simple, this game has one of the most straight forward crafting systems. There is no failure rate or chances of equipment breaking as you upgrade which I find it much to my liking.
An Empty Colourful Shell
There are a lot of things to do in the world of Genshin Impact but somehow it just feels like a hollow shell of a game. Interaction between NPC feels lifeless at times in or out of main cities. There was one case where a patrol guard pass by a goblin camp where I was fighting and just wished me a good day instead of helping me clear the enemies. It just feels very scripted or lifeless compared to NPCs in other games.
It also does not help that the English voice in this game is out of sync with the lip on top of an emotionless facial and body animation. The world itself is also big but there are a lot of areas especially in the cities that are just useless empty areas with no NPC or reason to be in the game.
The Late Game Plan
As previously stated, the game is still not complete with additional story and new areas to be added on later. Even with that in mind, I feel that most of the endgame will consist of you grinding materials to level your characters. This then lets you take on the Spiral Abyss which are levels with challenges that get harder as you go further. Completing these levels give you the main reward and currency of the game, primogems, which will allow you to pull more characters/items.
Primogems are important because pulling duplicate characters is the only way to upgrade a character’s constellation which in the end make them stronger. This is made harder with how the game approaches its gacha mechanics. The rates for 5 Star is abysmal and some characters are better than others sadly. Games which have multiple characters will always generate a tier list and this is no different. I once accidentally joined a public game with Amber and I got kicked out from the game faster then I could open up the menu.
For now, it seems like you can just enjoy the game with any characters but as you approach the late game, it feels like some characters will be more useful than others and that is when you feel enticed to spend your money into the game.
Co-op on the Horizon
The co-op in this game is bare bone, to say the least. I can see how they cut a lot of features to make the co-op to work like how a visitor cannot open a chest, complete a story quest or even open the map by visiting a new Statue of the Seven. I do not even know why a lower level player is unable to join a higher world character.
By reducing all these features, joining another players game is smooth between all platform and crossplay. The only big issue is some of the boss scaling (I see you Oceanid) feels a bit overpowered when there are 3 or more total players. There is only a small amount of things to be done during co-op because of these limitations stated above on top of the Resin limit. I feel it is just better to play the game by yourself sometimes.
One platform to rule them all
This game can be played on multiple platforms but it is obvious the best is on PC. Mobile is subjective to what handphone you are playing on but the controls are a little difficult and it might heat up your phone. On the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro, it is playable but the load times are still bad with a lot of frame drop during battles when the screen gets busy.
Crossplay on the other hand is smooth. I found no issues whatever joining a game between different platforms. Sometimes I have to confirm with my friends that they are playing on a different platform because it is just too smooth. Sadly the PlayStation 4 version does not support cross-save. Would be great if they would fix this in the next-gen console version.
A Diamond in the Rough
Like all live service games, I feel this game has a lot of missed potential. The generic-looking world with forgettable NPC makes it hard to explore at times. Co-op in this game really takes a back seat with minimal activity to do together and without Resin, its non-rewarding. Being free to play, the game tries to prolong the game by gating your progress as much as possible and it ends up spoiling the game’s pacing as you play.
As of the time of this writing, they added new events like a Co-op Event call Elemental Crucible. Should you try out Genshin Impact? Well sure go ahead, it is free anyway. Time will only tell if this game will get better as currently, the game is a marketing success but if certain changes are not made, I wonder how many people will stay.
What I Liked
- The open-world map is excellent.
- Simple crafting and upgrading system
- Element Combo System
What I Wished Was Better
- The game gacha rate is terrible and primogems are limited late game.
- Characters feel stiff and voice acting is bad
- Co-op mode is very confusing. Only certain limited activity to be done co-op with many limitations.
- The world of Teyvat feels empty with lifeless NPC with stiff animations or character.
- PlayStation 4 version to be more optimized.
- The game is technically not yet complete with more story and areas to be revealed.