While on the surface it looks a lot like ‘Breath of the Wild’, new gacha game Genshin Impact has a lot of depth underneath. Released just this week for mobile, PlayStation 4, and PC, the game was announced a year earlier to a bit of controversy because of how it looked.
The environment players experience in the game does look similar to the Nintento game. Aside from that, the stamina bar you consume when sprinting, swimming, climbing, and dashing is pretty much the same. There’s also hunting, gathering, and cooking in this game, by the way.
The dash mechanic feels a lot like Neir: Automata’s, complete with invincibility frames (so you can dash into an attack that will hit and be able to close the gap). The on-the-fly character swap feature feels like a page from Xenoblade Chronicles. For all intents and purposes, Genshin Impact looks and plays like all these games but free and for mobile.
So why play Genshin Impact?
In the few days playing the game, Genshin Impact has a lot of appeal for fans of ‘Breath of the Wild’. From being able to choose between which twin you want to play as, to getting familiar with controls, to great-looking visuals, the game feels like it humbly hooks you in, allowing you to take a moment and get your bearings.
A lot of people are shocked by the 13GB file size on mobile and the chunky 20GB PC download, but once you pull up your map, you’ll immediately feel the vastness of the open world. There are very few games that truly allow you to explore an ‘open world’ as a level 1 player, and Genshin Impact allows you the freedom to explore to your heart’s content until you feel the need to grow stronger.
There are a lot of puzzle-like mechanics you need to figure out in this game and most of it reward you with a chest of loot. Enemies drop items needed to enhance your weapons, with mini bosses and bigger enemies giving rarer stuff.
When it comes to the battle mechanics, Genshin Impact delivers the action worthy of its genre. You can swap characters on the fly to take advantage of the elemental combo system of the game. Casting a pyro spell will set enemies alight, then you can quickly follow up by switching to a character with an electric attack, giving the affected enemy the Overloaded status, which makes it take extra damage. The game is pretty forward when teaching you how elemental combinations work, and rewards you for reading through the tutorial screen.
Taking a cue from mobile games, playing through every part of the game gives you rewards, big and small. Attuned a warp point? Reward. Defeated monsters? Reward. Play through the story quests? Rewards! There are different rewards ranging from crafting and upgrade materials, to in-game gold, to premium currency. That said, this is a gacha game, so premium currency is a big resource you need to spend wisely.
In gacha games, players usually spend premium currency to pull from specific banners featuring special characters. These have a certain chance to be pulled, and all of it depends on RNG. In Genshin Impact’s case, you can usually get a character or two and the rest are weapons. This is where the game feels less of a gacha and more of an honest-to-goodness 3D action RPG game.
Learning the elemental combinations, glider controls, and cooking (and remembering to eat), lend well to the game’s combat system, allowing players to progress even though they may have been unlucky at rolling for the powerful characters they want.
Even weapons and accessories (called artifacts) can be upgraded to serve players well past the early game. Like any RPG, a lot of materials can be farmed and can be won through guaranteed rewards. The way this game is built, spending doesn’t feel forced at all.
We were able to finish the first major story arc of the game (defeating the big bad dragon) and have a solid feel of the basic mechanics the game has to offer. The story is a typical fantasy quest of course, but the inclusion of little side quests greatly flesh out the characters you interact with, combined with great voice acting. Despite the advancement in level, the game still feels like it has a lot to offer in terms of story, all of which starts out humbly and makes solid, determined strides forward. There are little leaps here and there, but world-building is a journey savored, and we’re here for the ride.
If you’re a fan of open-world 3D action RPG games like ‘Breath of the Wild’ and ‘Skyrim’, then Genshin Impact will definitely be able to check most of your boxes. The best part about it is it’s free to play, no pressure to spend, and mobile and PC gamers can play with each other via co-op for dungeon runs and boss farming.
You can check out the official website for more details and characters to collect.