Review: Genshin Impact

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Ellen Heitmann, Staff Writer

Overview

Having already made over $400 million within two months as a free-to-play game, Genshin Impact is one of the most successful releases this year. Genshin is available on mobile phones, windows computers, and Playstation 4, and was developed by Mihoyo. It boasts a massive open-world experience with beautiful music and infinite things to do while also introducing a fun, elemental-based combat system. Genshin is also a Gacha game, meaning there is a huge luck factor in spending an in-game currency to see if you get rewards. These rewards can be either extremely powerful characters or weapons, which mostly cannot be obtained elsewhere, and help you during the actual gameplay. I am writing this article during Patch 1.1 of the game, so please take note that some information may become outdated as the developers continue to expand the map, story, and other content. The game is currently ongoing and not just a set journey, and a whole new area alongside many quality of life changes will be added in 1.2.

Gameplay: Combat, Builds, and Overworld

Each character in Genshin has both a weapon and an element. Elements consist of Pyro (fire), Hydro (water), Anemo (wind), Cryo (ice), Geo (earth), and electro (lightning), while weapons consist of swords, greatswords, lances, magic tomes, and bows. Each weapon type has a different base moveset, while elements have unique effects and many interactions. You can combine elements to produce an elemental reaction, which can be used to do more damage. For example, if you apply Hydro on an enemy and follow up with Electro, you will get the “electro-charged” reaction, increasing the damage dealt by a certain percentage. Different reactions have different effects and statuses, so there are many ways to build up your team and maximize damage output.

In order to build up a character you want to use, there are many different things to upgrade. You first would equip a weapon and then artifacts, while also making sure you level both of these along with your character and their base abilities. Upgrading characters, weapons, and abilities are simple, involving gathering materials and hitting the “level up” button, but choosing which artifacts to use has a lot more depth. Artifacts add a lot of customizability to the game. A character can equip five artifacts, and each artifact is a part of a set. If you equip multiple artifacts from a set, you get additional bonuses. For example, if I were to use two artifacts from the “Gladiator” set, I would get an additional bonus that gives me an extra 18% attack. Artifacts also come with a main stat and four sub stats. Stats can be anything from health, attack, defense, critical hit rate, and more. The main stat is the artifact’s main purpose, as the bonus you will get from it is the largest. The sub stats all have smaller bonuses, but they add up over time. For example, if I were building a damage dealer character, I would go for an artifact with a main stat in attack and then sub stats in critical hit rate, critical hit damage, and attack again for maximum effect.

The gameplay in terms of the overworld is one of the main appeals of the game. It is very similar to that of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, where you have a massive world to explore by means of running, climbing, and gliding around at the expense of a stamina meter. You can also join your friends’ worlds if you wish for a multiplayer experience. The world is full of enemies and bosses to defeat, treasure to find, domains and dungeons to clear, and collectibles to gather. Each boss can be fought as many times as you want in order to hunt for better item rewards, while domains can be repeated for new artifacts, level up materials, or just in game currencies. The game also has a levelling system, where a higher rank means more difficult enemies in exchange for higher character level caps and better rewards. There is also a main dungeon called the Spiral Abyss, which is a massive enemy gauntlet with many floors you can clear out to receive tons of rewards. With the sheer amount of content and daily missions in mind, the game ends up very time consuming.

Story and Quests

The story of Genshin Impact is relatively simple. The protag has been separated from his sibling and is exploring the seven continents of the game in search of her. As of the current 1.1 Patch, there are two continents and the main story has six key missions. While the story itself may not be the most interesting conceptually, the characters presented in it can be great and have so far only gotten better over time. The missions you go on and the bosses you fight for the story can also prove very enjoyable. Story quests are divided into two categories: archon quests and character quests. Archon quests are the main story events while character quests focus on expanding upon the cast.

General quests in the game fall into many categories. Some are material-fetch quests, some require clearing out enemy camps, some require solving puzzles in the overworld, and more. Each day, the player is given four new quests on top of the ones existing in the overworld called Commissions, which can be completed for experience points. The developers will also add unique timed events, which add a surplus of new content and rewards to complete.

The Gacha Factor

Now, for the most controversial part of the whole game: the Gacha system. Gacha generally refers to a luck-based element, where you use limited resources for a chance at getting good rewards. This system alone can make or break the experience for a lot of players who want to use specific characters. To put it simply, only a few characters are handed to you, while most are obtained through random chance when you summon for characters. You can do summons one at a time or perform them in sets of ten. The rewards can be either characters or weapons, which are also assigned a rarity rating. For example, three-star rarity rewards tend to be bad weapons, four-star rarity rewards tend to be solid weapons or characters, and five-star rarity rewards are incredible weapons and characters. To put into perspective how much luck it takes to get good rewards, there is a 0.6% chance of getting a five-star item. The game does at least have a pity system where you are guaranteed at least one four-star every ten summons, and at least one five-star every ninety summons. Many people have spent tons of real-life money to guarantee they receive all the characters they want, while many save up the in-game rewards to summon and never spend a penny on the game. In my personal experience, I had terrible luck and didn’t get any five-stars at all, then made a second account and immediately got everything I wanted first try. To say the least, your experience will vary drastically.

Conclusion

Genshin Impact is a very fun yet extremely time-consuming game. Your luck will probably affect your experience quite a fair bit, so keep that in mind before you start. It’s also worthy to note that the characters given for free are still good enough to enjoy the experience a lot. If you like open-world games and cool characters, or are just looking for something to invest a lot of time into, I would definitely recommend Genshin Impact as it is free and will likely not bore you.

Photo credits: Ellen Heitmann