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Genshin Impact: A Complete Review
April 15, 2021
Prepare to immerse yourself in the world of Genshin Impact on a scale that is unlike most fantasy-themed MMORPGs (Massively-multiplayer-online-role-playing-game). Genshin Impact accomplishes what is perhaps the most difficult aspect of MMORPGs: finding the balance between allowing the player to roam free and keeping them on a path to the end-game.
Genshin Impact (rated T for teen) skyrocketed to the top of the list for most played games in 2020, quite a feat when the Genshin Impact PC release date was September of 2020. MiHoYo studios has been developing Genshin Impact since 2017 and the payoff for the studio’s dedication to crafting, maintaining, and updating this world is immense. The game is a free-to-play game (F2P) MMORPG and therefore easily accessible to gamers who don’t own consoles.
How to play Genshin Impact on PC
In this Genshin Impact review, we will focus on where to get Genshin Impact on PC and how to play it. It’s currently available for download on Windows PCs (downloadable from the Genshin Impact site), PS4, and mobile smart devices. The PS4 is currently the only portable console that supports the game.
Crossplay between platforms
You can gather a party of up to four players to set out on adventures together. Even better, you can play with your friends across platforms. One player could be on PS4, another on PC, and another on a mobile device. Coordination with other players can enhance gameplay and make tougher enemies easier to deal with. Make some friends while you’re out there having fun!
Cross save, too
Genshin Impact gives you flexibility across its supported platforms individually as well. Cross save allows you to start playing Genshin Impact on one device and continue on another, although currently, cross save is not supported on PS4.
What is Genshin Impact?
Story and Setting
You are the Traveler from another world, a being that travels with your twin brother or sister (depending on your preference). You were separated from your sibling by a mysterious goddess who banished you to the world of Teyvat. After awakening from your ordeal, you are greeted by a cheery, fairy-like being called Paimon who agrees to be your guide through Teyvat.
Over the course of the narrative, the Traveler comes into contact with people, each with unique abilities and skills, who either join you on your quest to find your missing sibling or hinder you on that quest.
The world of Teyvat has seven regions, only two of which are currently explorable. These regions influence the narrative and how you progress towards the end-game. MiHoYo Studios plans to include the remaining five regions in updates over the next several years.
Why play Genshin Impact over other games?
Open-world exploration is a popular game mechanic. It gives you the freedom to earn rewards along paths other than the singular storyline. These paths do not have clocks ticking in the background, so you are free to do whatever you find enjoyable.
Fantasy MMORPGs such as Runescape, World of Warcraft (WOW), and Skyrim typically have a massive world for you to explore. One question you will eventually ask yourself is how efficient you want to be during your exploration.
There is no wrong way to explore Genshin Impact. Your primary concern should simply be the amount of time you want to spend exploring. You can soak in the vast world you’ve just landed in, or travel immediately to the spots where the loot is located.
Genshin Impact’s world teleportation system allows you to “fast-travel” across the world from certain waypoints, although you will have to travel by foot to certain locations, which is standard among many MMORPGs.
Is Genshin Impact for you?
Your time is valuable and you should know what you’re getting into before you go investing time and money into Genshin Impact. Here are some things you should consider before diving into the game.
Do you like party-based games?
Genshin Impact’s party system is a blend of MMORPG aspects you might be familiar with. As you explore Genshin Impact, you’ll meet characters along the way. Add these characters to your overall pool which you can access when needed.
If you’ve got a soft spot for party-based games (single or multiplayer), Genshin Impact is the game for you. Playing with friends is a great way to make the game more enjoyable. Whether you’re playing in single or multiplayer mode, you’re bound to have fun finding new ways to mix up your party.
Do you like fantasy RPGs?
Fantasy RPGs like Skyrim, WOW, and Runescape are well known for their world building. It’s tough not to appreciate the amount of detail that developers integrated into these game. The level of detail inside Genshin Impact has astounded new and veteran players alike. Many have compared Genshin Impact’s quality of graphics and gameplay to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
While none of Genshin Impact’s core elements are revolutionary in terms of gaming technology, it is worth the investment if you love RPGs. You can just think of Genshin Impact as a re-shuffling of fantasy RPG elements to create a new story and method of playing.
Do you like choosing your own adventure?
Choose-your-own-adventure games give you a chance to relax and soak in the world developers have created for you. Genshin Impact’s story has only one definitive ending, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take myriad different routes along the way. Interacting in different ways with the game’s characters can yield wildly different results.
Choose-your-own-adventure games aren’t limited to fantasy MMORPGs, but if you’re a fan of them, Genshin Impact is right up your alley. In the case of Genshin Impact, there’s a good balance between exploring the world on your own and joining with friends to take on tough enemies. It’s worth it to invest a handful of dedicated hours into the game to see where your adventure takes you.
Genshin Impact vs. other open-world games
We’ve already looked at some fantasy MMORPGs that Genshin Impact resembles. The question of whether one is better than the other is subjective. There are two main differences between Genshin Impact and these others: monetization and game completion.
The loot-box system within Genshin Impact is an ever-increasing game element and should be used with caution. Don’t put money into this game unless you want to invest in it long-term.
Games like Skyrim or The Witcher shipped out as completed games with the knowledge that DLC was likely to be added later. Since Genshin Impact is an MMORPG, it is technically an incomplete game at all times. That’s not a bad thing. However, it does mean that at certain points in the end-game, you’re going to be idle, waiting for the next batch of content to arrive. If you’d rather finish a game, you’re better off sticking with a narrative-driven, single-player game.
How to get the most out of the game
Despite the immensity of the world that MiHoYo studio has built, eventually you will reach the end-game. What then? If you’ve done the quests and bounties by yourself, you could join friends or teach newer players the ropes while you wait for the next round of content. The adventure renews when you partner with someone else experiencing it for the first time.
Creating or finding new challenges for yourself is another way to enjoy the game. Check out notable streamers and see how they play. Chances are they can help you increase the challenge.
Genshin Impact doesn’t joke around when it comes to player freedom. You’ll have many decisions to make when it comes to building your character(s). Your goal should be to level up your characters, their weapons, and skills in order to deal with tougher enemies. Defeat tougher enemies, and you get better loot.
Combat revolves around four main aspects: elements, attributes, constellations, and talents. Each of your accessible characters has a unique mixture of these abilities. You can have a lot of fun trying out different combinations to see which ones work best for your team.
Genshin Impact’s story and combat system revolve around seven elements.
The characters you encounter and recruit to your party specialize in one of these elements. No two characters are exactly alike, so it’s good to have multiple characters of the same elemental type. Each region within Genshin Impact, according to the narrative, is devoted to the god (referred to as an archon in-game) of one of the elements. The regions currently live within Genshin Impact, Mondstadt and Liyue, are devoted to Anemo and Geo.
As the Traveler, you can attune yourself to any of the seven elements by standing near certain points of affinity within the game. This gives your character flexibility when it comes to countering different enemies.
Attributes are the stats that make up the core of your character. These stats scale as you increase ranks within the game. Examples include:
Critical hit chance
Weapons and artifacts can modify your attributes. Artifacts buff your stats, with some more applicable to various characters than others. Stacking mutually beneficial weapons and artifacts can produce intense combinations.
If you’re a fan of Skyrim and how it approaches the concept of “leveling-up,” you may see similarities with Genshin Impact. Each character has six constellations dedicated to them. These constellations have skill points that buff, modify, or add new abilities to your arsenal.
To unlock each point within a constellation, you need a stalla fortuna. You can obtain this in-game currency through wishes (which we’ll explain in monetization), through Paimon’s in-game shop, or through special events.
Talents are the three to four abilities that your character can perform while in combat. The first three talents are usually reserved for activatable abilities (normal, elemental skill, and elemental burst). Some characters have access to a fourth trait that can be used outside of combat. Each character also has three passive talents that modify their activatable talents or some of their stats.
Talents take repeated practice to gain mastery. Genshin Impact’s combat is fast-paced, so your reactions must be quick. This means thinking on your feet is a requirement for tougher and more numerous enemies. Similar to stacking weapons and artifacts, knowing which talents to use and when to use them is vital to your in-game success.
Putting the four combat elements together
It’s clear that Genshin Impact’s combat system revolves around these four areas. One small change to any of these elements can result in big changes for your character. Experiment to find the best builds for the biggest gains. If you’re feeling extra daring, try builds that don’t stack in your character, and see how much tougher (or possibly easier) the game gets.
Exploration (or non-combat)
As you combat different enemies, discover new locations, and progress the story, you level up your adventure rank. Your adventure rank (currently from 1 to 60) coincides with your world rank (currently 1 to 8). Leveling up your adventure rank turns into experience for your world rank. When you reach the next world rank, the overall difficulty and level of rewards increase.
One key point about these ranks is that your character gains experience through playing the game, but it is not tied to your adventure or world rank. For example, your character can reach max level 90, but still only have an adventure rank of 60. These various natures of these ranks ensure that you don’t finish the game in a single sitting.
Cooking and Processing
Genshin Impact is a game where you craft consumables to be used later. Cook recipes to buff your stats and abilities when you need them most. These recipes will need ingredients found all over the world.
Many of these dishes have a time limit for their effects. Make sure that you cook and consume them only when you need to. You don’t want to spend a rare ingredient in a dish when you are far from the enemy you want to defeat.
Alchemy is the process of crafting higher-quality materials that can be used to boost your own character’s abilities or weapons. You can also create potions to aid your party in battle. These potions will only last for a limited time, so ensure you make good use of your time at a crafting bench.
Forging is specifically used to create weapon enhancement materials. These materials in turn empower your weapons past the level you originally received them. There are four total forge slots that you can access as you level up your adventure rank. You can forge multiple items at the same time or devote multiple forges to the same item.
The Genshin Impact gacha system is a monetization strategy primarily used in Asia. Games with gacha systems are similar to the loot-box system used in Overwatch and Fortnite. You use real-world currency to purchase in-game currency which is then used to get randomly rolled rewards. Genshin Impact’s system can become confusing because of the number of ways one can obtain in-game currency or rewards. Let’s take a look.
You’ve decided to invest your real-world money to get better quality rewards from Genshin Impact. Here are the elements of monetization you should be aware of:
Genesis Crystals - Purchased using real-world currency; can be turned into Primogems
Primogems - Can be converted from Genesis Crystals or obtained from in-game quests, bounties, the battle pass, and exploration of the world
Acquaint Fate - Obtained by spending Primogems or from various in-game shops; Acquaint Fates are then used on beginner’s wishes or wanderlust invocation
Intertwined Fate - Also obtained from Primogems, the battle pass, or the in-game shops; use Intertwined Fates for limited-time event wishes.
Wishes - The “loot-box” system of Genshin Impact is split into three notable parts.
Beginner’s Wishes - Used primarily for newer players; can only be accessed a total of twenty times. You can obtain weapons and characters through this wish
Wanderlust Invocation - This wish is the permanent list for Genshin Impact; can be used as long as you have the Acquaint Fate to do so
Event Wishes - Limited time events come and go in Genshin Impact and can be accessed with Intertwined Fates. These wishes usually contain higher quality characters and weapons
Blessing of the Welkin Moon - A purchasable subscription that gives you Genesis Crystals and Primogems over a period of thirty days as long as you log in every day
Genshin Impact’s gacha system is far more complicated than current North American in-game shops. It revolves around your desire to spend your own real money along with managing the pool of resources and items that the game gives you. No single currency (in-game or real-world) is the solution to your lack of high-quality items.
One important note about Genshin Impact’s monetization is its use of pity. Pity is a rating system within the game that ensures you get at a high-tier reward from a particular wish. This is different from the seemingly random loot-box system used in certain first-person shooter (FPS) games that pull rewards at random. For example, if you’ve received 3-star items in your first nine wishes, you are guaranteed to get a 4-star item on your tenth wish.
The gacha system takes some practice to understand. The beginner’s wish list that we mentioned is a good introduction to the wishes you’ll be spending later on. We recommend you test out all the free options to obtain characters and items before you spend actual money. You can decide if grinding out free currency is worth your time or if buying Genesis Crystals is more efficient.
What’s the overall verdict on Genshin Impact?
Genshin Impact has proven to be far more sophisticated than simple mobile games, combining attributes found in more complicated console and PC games. Genshin Impact is heavily invested in world-building, which many gamers love.
While it’s not without its drawbacks, and like many internet-based games, contains some examples of monetization in gaming that can feel predatory. At the same time, Genshin Impact’s model of monetization isn’t anything revolutionary. It will be up to you to decide how best to use your actual money.
Our verdict: You should try this game out, avoiding the in-game use of real-world money. Like any other open-world game, invest enough time into it, and you might just create an adventure that you can be proud of.
About the Author: Tomas Zegarra is a contributing writer for HP Tech@Work. Tomas is an Idaho-based writer for the tech and outdoor industries. His writing has appeared in journals such as Memoir Mixtapes, Upland Optics, and The Prepper Journal. He also writes fiction and is always working on a new idea for a short story.
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