Without a doubt, Genshin Impact has one of the most decorated release dates of all time. It has been nominated as the best mobile game of 2020 even when it was only just released a mere 2 months before 2020 ended. A huge following gathered behind the game, which spawned countless fanarts, comics, and fan stories alike. There seems to be a genuine love from the community towards the game, which leaves many to be curious.
This article will hopefully help those who wish to learn more about the game before installing it.
What is Genshin Impact?
Genshin Impact is a single player action RPG which focuses on the character known as “The Traveler”. An unknown god has attacked them at the beginning of the game, causing them to be stranded on the land of Teyvat. Depending on the player’s choice, the Traveler can either be male or female. Whichever the gender, the game’s dialogue and voice lines changes to cater to that.
On the other hand, Genshin Impact is also a Gacha game. For those who are not familiar, Gacha games are essentially lottery games that lets you use in-game currency to try and “pull” characters from the Gacha system. While playing Genshin Impact for free is completely plausible, there are microtransactions that can give players some boost to their gameplay. Fortunately, the microtransactions aren’t so great that it impacts the game severely. The game developers have also been generous on giving out Primogems, the in-game currency needed to roll on the gacha.
Understandably, the gacha feature is a turn off for many players. If playing a game on limited characters is not for you, then you might not have a great time with playing Genshin Impact.
Gameplay of Genshin Impact
The game boasts an open world approach, letting the player explore all the updated areas while ignoring the main storyline. Surprise side quests, or “world quests” as the game puts it, can also appear while travelling. This gives the game life, very similar to Skyrim’s random encounters. It even takes a step further by allowing the players to see their world progress. Each of the regions in a continent has their own percentage, which gives the player a purpose to explore it further.
If you ask me, Genshin Impact is a hack and slash game in its core. What makes this game unique from other hack and slash games though, say Diablo or Devil May Cry, is its diversity. Characters can be pulled from the game’s “Wish”, a system wherein you use in-game currency to try and get new characters or weapons. Each character also has remarkably different playstyles. This gives every player a unique experience on the game, wherein they can experiment to find which playstyle suits them best.
There are four “classes” to consider when experimenting with the playstyles. They are the catalyst (mage), bow (archers), claymore (knights), and sword (fighter). Each of these classes depend on the character you pull, as the characters will also feature unique skills. In total, there are 7 elements that the characters base of: pyro, hydro, electro, cryo, geo, dendro, and anemo. Out of these 7 elements, only 6 of them are playable in the current state of the game (late 1.2, early 1.3).
Unfortunately, the characters you pull from the gacha, or get from progressing the storyline, represent only one of these elements. This means you have to build a team if you want access to the other elements. As it so happens, you can only have teams of 4. This gives players the creativity of building what they consider as the “perfect” team. I would describe the characters more, but it is a very subjective experience. Some characters may work out for you, some don’t. It really depends on who you get.
Despite this rather seemingly complicated system, the game isn’t on your face about it. Unlike most games of its genre, Genshin Impact gives its users a very lax tutorial. They will show you the simple ropes, such as the controls and features of the game, but that’s it. The tutorial isn’t very on your face, but is still very informative. You can even finish most of the first few chapters of the game without even leveling up, or getting better resources.
While it is obvious that getting better characters can become the priority in this game, it is very possible to finish the main storyline without broken characters. I have personally finished the Mondstadt storyline with just the Traveler, Barbara, Xiangling, and the Trial Venti. By the time I got to Liyue, I was able to store enough Primogems to roll in the Gacha and get some 4 Star characters to aid me in my journey.
Coop Gameplay of Genshin Impact
Since Genshin Impact is a game that revolves around a solitary character lead, it makes sense that it doesn’t have much for its coop features. When you play this game, you shouldn’t expect multiplayer at the level of Flyff or Black Desert. Instead, what you get is Co-op Mode wherein you visit other people’s worlds. It’s very similar to Dark Souls’ Co-op system, except you can’t invade worlds to kill the players.
In another person’s world, you can harvest their resources, help them kill bosses, or run through domains. This is a very optional feature of Genshin Impact, and is what I consider to be the less polished. There are a few bugs when it comes to Co-op Mode, especially if the internet connection between players are bad. There are also very little times when you have to co-op as most domains can be finished solo.
What I do find neat with Co-op Mode is that the events utilize it very effectively. The developers seem to even go as far as to encourage players to play together to finish the content. An example of this is the previous Dragonspine Event. The developers have designed a boss that made users team up to defeat it. While defeating this boss solo was possible, it takes a lot of resources and time.
Unfortunately, Co-op mode is currently limited to players that share the same servers. Playing co-op with a friend from Europe when your server is in Asia isn’t possible. So when you do end up playing Genshin Impact, make sure to choose the right server.
The Resin and RNG Problem of Genshin Impact
And then, we have the crux of the game’s problems which has turned away players. As Genshin Impact is a Gacha Game, it is inevitable that RNG is involved. Many have quit the game earlier on due to not getting the characters they’ve wanted. While there is a soft “pity” is added to the game, it still isn’t enough to placate people who left. While this is a problem that can be ignored, the RNG unfortunately extends to the gear that characters use.
All characters, regardless of class and element, use “Artifacts”. These artifacts boost the characters’ stats to ridiculous levels that deal incredible damage. They are extremely useful to the point they become essential for late-game content. The problem with the artifacts is that RNG revolves around it. The stats and substats that you can get from them are completely random. This means that players will have to invest a lot of their time into getting the best artifacts. Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. Levelling up artifacts is also problematic, as the substats that are chosen to be upgraded are completely random as well.
This addition of RNG on the Artifacts of characters can seriously invalidate a player’s efforts. It only takes one bad chance to get a bad artifact when it could have been great. The drops from domains, which you get these artifacts from, are also completely random. There are no predetermined Artifact drops, which leaves everything to complete chance.
While it may seem petty to quit a game over mere bad luck, it is the Resins System that really pours salt over the wound. The Resins System is pretty much a Stamina System, which prevents players from receiving drops from bosses and domains if they have 0 resins. The costs for domains and bosses are also expensive, ranging from 20 to 40 respectively. There is a cap of 160 resins, so that will only leave the player 8 domain runs, or 6 domain runs and 1 boss kill.
In order to recharge the resins, the player has to wait every 8 minutes or so to recharge one resin point. By estimation, it takes roughly 1280 minutes or 21 hours to fully recharge. While this is a helpful system to keep the players from burning themselves out, it is a source of annoyance for others. Added with the RNG of the artifacts from domains, then there is a chance that players may waste 160+ resins for poor drops from the domains.
Storytelling and Worldbuilding of Genshin Impact
I have many things to say in this section. First off, the storytelling of Genshin Impact is incredible. The voice lines are all well done, as so is the writing. The writers have done an incredible job with having us, the players, feel sympathy for the characters behind the screen. I really love how the characters are well handled. None of them feel similar to each other, and they all have their unique personalities and quips. You can really tell that each character was created with love and a purpose in mind. All of the cutscenes are well choreographed, and more than one occasion have given me goosebumps.
I really do like the side stories the game gives us as well. Other than the main storyline, we can get side missions that allow us to interact with the game’s characters more. We learn about their backstory, and how they tie in with the overall plot of Teyvat. Even “obscure” 4 Star characters like Xingqiu, Razor, and Lisa got their personal side quests.
Unfortunately, I cannot just keep praising Genshin Impact writers. There are, of course, a few blunders in their storytelling aspect. The pacing of the storylines either feels too fast or too slow. Liyue, as a whole, is a rushed storyline in my opinion, and the ending has been completely unsatisfactory. It does feel like the writers are trying their best to keep the story lighthearted while including some grim moments. Their efforts in this regard are, what I find, to be a little lacking. It ends up making some of the characters act completely out of their previously established personalities.
Then, we come to the one aspect of the game that made me fall in love with Genshin Impact: worldbuilding. There is such an incredibly rich lore behind the game that most players would miss if they do not pay attention. There are readable books scattered throughout Teyvat, and each of those books contain so much detail of the continents. If they are not about the continent, then they can be about the history instead. However, the worldbuilding does not stop there.
If you take the time to talk with the NPCs in both Mondstadt and Liyue, then you will discover an entirely new storyline led by the NPCs. Genshin Impact avoids the pitfall of making NPCs wander around town aimlessly, and adds actual short stories for most of the NPCs pathing. This small detail surprised me at first, and it is what drove me to go around talking with NPCs like a madman. It really humanized the NPCs for me, but, most importantly, the Fatui.
The trailer for 1.3 “All That Glitters” even acknowledges the amount of world building the writers did for the game. In a blink or you’ll miss it scene in the trailer, there are two Fatui agents. To the players who took their time to talk with all the NPCs in Liyue, they will immediately recognize these two as the Fatui agents who had been writing letters to each other. This is a detail that cannot be discovered through any main quest or side quest, and only by interacting with them in Liyue.
I will not spoil any further, but I encourage new players and old players alike to take some time and interact with the NPCs. You would be surprised with what you would find!
I am admittedly very biased towards Genshin Impact. I consider it to be the best game I have ever played in a long while. Its storyline is charming, and so are the characters. Each of them has been so uniquely written that I’m excited to see them in the main storyline. The world and graphics are amazing and nostalgic for me. Some of the sceneries remind me of Skyrim, and others of BoTW. The effects are very pleasing to the eyes, and use a great contrast to the surroundings.
Unfortunately, it is a kind of game that gets stale the longer you play. Players can easily get burned out by the game’s unchanging hack and slash nature. Story missions take a while to be released as well, so rushing this game is not recommended. It is also better to plan out your resins’ usage beforehand as well, so you don’t get frustrated about running out of resins.
If you want to play this game, I would say to play it casually. Don’t play it like you have something to prove. Instead, enjoy what the game’s contents have to offer. Getting strong will come to you progressively, as the game paces itself with you.
Funny enough, I reviewed this game after almost 3 months of its release. For reviews similar like this, I have a Valorant review that I’ve made after 3 months of its release.