Genshin Impact is a game created by the studio miHoYo that swept the globe as a potential clone to Breath of the Wild. Currently it’s available on PC, Android, iOS, and PS4, and soon Nintendo Switch! Today we’ll be looking into the game and figuring out if it’s all it’s cracked up to be and just how much like Breath of the Wild this game is. Let’s take a look. I should mention that I’ve played a little over eight hours of the game to get general ideas of most of its concepts and while this article is focusing on the game because of its mobile port, I myself have been playing the PC version with an Xbox controller due to limitations of my mobile device.
So first off let’s look at the story. You play as a traveler who moves from one world to another with their sibling. The details of these travels are not given at the beginning of the story. The last world you traveled to was called Teyvat and was in the middle of a large-scale war. You and your sibling attempt to leave to another world, however before you can, an unknown goddess appears before you and attacks you. She captures your sibling and casts a seal of some kind over your that takes away your power and puts you to sleep for an unknown amount of years. Once you wake, the war is over and the landscape has changed drastically. Sound familiar? Fast forward some years later, your character encounters a small sprite-like girl named Paimon who is in peril of drowning. The game truly begins two months after that where Paimon has become fast friends with your character.
Now let’s talk about some of the gameplay aspects. Genshin Impact can be split into three major areas. The two cities (only one of which is accessible at the beginning) where most of the quests, stores, and crafting can be found. The outside wild is where you’ll get the opportunity to explore, fight monsters, solve puzzles, find chests, and all sorts of other materials and world objects that I’ll get into later. Lastly, you have the temples. These aren’t quite like the shrines of Breath of the Wild, but are more like contained instances where you’ll travel through corridors and rooms fighting monsters and completing challenges to progress to the end for a reward.
As you go through the game you will add more characters to your party that you can switch between at any point. Each character has their own weapon type, skills, and elemental affinity (your starting character has a wind affinity.) Combat is done with a mixture of basic attacks, elemental attacks, a special elemental burst that can only be done when you have enough elemental energy, and a dodge function that uses your stamina. There is also an aiming mode that specific characters can use if they wield a ranged weapon such as a bow. The interesting thing in combat is making use of the elements in creative ways to make elemental reactions. For instance if there is a fire, one of your character’s skills creates a small tornado that moves forward which can catch and carry the fire to deal both fire and wind damage to any creature in its path.
Now let’s talk about exploring the outer world, and if it stacks up to the Breath of the Wild experience. The parts that are similar is that you do get a glider and the ability to climb anything, both of which take up stamina. There are chests and monster camps throughout the world as well as a few special world objects. There are teleportation markers you can activate for fast travel, goddess statues that you can offer glowing blue crystals hidden throughout the world to expand your stamina, and the temples are randomly strewn about. There’s also puzzles to find and some boss monsters. I’ve fought one of these boss monsters and found it to be rather fun to fight! As far as exploring the world goes, it is similar, but not quite as grandiose as you can probably guess.
Lastly let’s talk about crafting and item management. Crafting is split into three categories using the materials you find out in the wild. There’s smithing, cooking, and alchemy. Smithing creates not only weapons and equipment, but enhancement stones used to level up your weapons. Cooking is very different from what you might be used to in Breath of the Wild. Instead of throwing ingredients together, you must collect and purchase recipes to use. It’s also somewhat of a skill as your character will gain proficiency in a recipe the more you make it. Until you gain full proficiency you must play a small timing minigame to create the meal. Alchemy works like smithing where you just need the right ingredients, only instead you’ll make consumables that temporarily boost stats for you or your party.
Now for my final thoughts on the game. While the game does have some similar mechanics to Breath of the Wild, it doesn’t quite live up to the expectation. Although, it is a good game on its own legs without the comparison. There is one main issue I found playing this game. One is that the system of ranking up your character, equipment, and skills can be a little complicated, especially in comparison to Breath of the Wild. Instead ranking up is more akin to an MMORPG, which while some may be used to keeping track of ranking up each individual piece, others may not have that mental process and may forget which will lead them to fall behind on the game. Equipment management can also be somewhat complicated for a player who is not used to modern JRPG systems, though it’s not as bad as some JRPGs can be. You’ll also want to think about system requirements for playing this game. As of now, the game takes up roughly 8GB of space on a mobile device, which may be too much if you use a lot of apps on your phone, and it can also make your CPU run really hot if it’s out of date. Playing on PC with a controller or with a keyboard and mouse feels much more natural, however I have run into an issue where I constantly have to change the control type from keyboard to controller whenever I boot up the game, and following Sony’s example in Japan, the functions of the A and B buttons will be swapped from what you may be used to (with A being the back button and B being the accept button.) I do recommend giving the game a try if you have a device or system that can handle it though. Just avoid the micro-transactions until you’re sure you’re in this game for the long haul.
What are some of your guys’ thoughts on this game? Is there another mobile game you think should be in next week’s article? Let me know in the comments below! And if you want to give Genshin Impact a try, click the image below!