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Genshin Impact: Review

Written by Culture, Gaming, Gaming Reviews

Best described as a cross between The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and an anime gacha game, Genshin Impact was the sleeper hit that took us all by surprise. Not only does it have a beautiful open world coupled with excellent soundtracks, it also features gameplay that’s both simple and enjoyable. Yet, delving deeper into this game reveals much to be desired from MiHoYo and their latest brainchild.

MiHoYo has done splendidly in designing their world – the two cities that are available to players as of the present are steeped in culture and personality. The inspiration behind these cities no doubt lends a great hand in this: Mondstadt, the first city you encounter, is based on European culture, while Liyue, the second city, finds its roots in Chinese heritage. Moreover, the soundtracks that play are unique to each city and are tailored to each zone within the world, yet still retain thematic similarity within the territories that surround each city.

While the story is simple, it is furnished by many unique characters and their stories which unlock as you progress your questline and explore the world.

Between and beyond the cities lie the world of Teyvat that sprawls out before the player, with treasures hidden in ruins or secret interactions you can have with monsters or the environment. The ruins are guarded by enemies and protected by puzzles, which may take a bit of skill or thinking to overcome but are nonetheless enjoyable to complete. Much like the cities, Teyvat is astonishingly picturesque at times. The photo-mode MiHoYo has implemented fits in nicely for this, allowing us to take pictures of our characters and the environment around them.

Without going into too much detail, the story follows you, the main character, as you search for your missing sibling while gathering allies you can play as along the way. In doing so, you come across Archons, who are worshipped as gods in their respective cities. Unexpectedly, not all Archons are on friendly terms with each other, and you are pulled into their conflicts.

While the story is simple, it is furnished by many unique characters and their stories which unlock as you progress your questline and explore the world. These stories range from heart-warming to heart-breaking and contain light spots of humour, mostly stemming from Paimon, the adorable mascot floating by your side at all times. Incidentally, the community has jokingly (hopefully) determined Paimon to be emergency food after multiple in-game dialogues prompt your character to say so.

Incidentally, the community has jokingly (hopefully) determined Paimon to be emergency food after multiple in-game dialogues prompt your character to say so.

However, something is rotten in the world of Teyvat: the gacha aspect is the target of most of the community’s gripe. Aside from the abysmally low base chance of 0.6% to obtain five-star characters and weapons, the stamina system of Genshin, termed “resin”, is something that can be found in multiple gacha games and is vital for progressing your characters towards maximum level. Loot sources in the game outside of the limited chests that spawn in the world are locked behind this system – completing a dungeon or fighting a boss without consuming resin means you get no rewards. This means that you can only make meaningful progress insofar as you have resin, which runs out after about 15 minutes of gameplay.

In game screenshot of Paimon, the loveable mascot who guides you through the game.

Should you want to play more than that, you would have to pay in “primogems”, the premium currency of Genshin that is doled out in paltry sums from chests and quests – the very same currency used to obtain five-star characters and weapons. This balancing act between characters, items and player progression is where monetization comes into play for Genshin, resulting in the deluge of videos on YouTube people spending hundreds upon thousands of pounds in order to get the characters they want.

There is certainly a lot of potential in Genshin Impact and the world it has created, and perhaps it is still too early to say if MiHoYo has dropped the ball – the game has only just had its international release a month ago. While I love the game for all it’s beauty and gameplay, MiHoYo has to address the flaws of their product, or risk losing a large, dedicated portion of their community.

[Featured Image: IGDB]

Last modified: 20th November 2020

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