REVIEW: ‘Genshin Impact’ Wonders of Freemium Gaming (PC)

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Genshin Impact cover

Genshin Impact is a freemium anime-styled gacha RPG developed and published by miHoYo, for iOS, Android, PC, and PS4.

Genshin Impact is a game filled to the brim with content, from the traditional aspect of questing and slaying monsters to the more mobile aspect of the gacha system, which is used to unlock the majority of the characters in the game. A gacha is similar to a loot box; you use the in-game currency to “buy” tokens or items with the chance to get rarer items. Genshin Impact takes place in the world of Tayvat, where the main character, which can be male or female, has to find a way to save their kidnapped sibling from an evil goddess.

How you go about doing that is up to you because, in Genshin Impact, you’re not forced to play the main story if you don’t want to. The massive open-world can easily envelop you in a sense of wonder and you can lose yourself just learning about the world and it’s all its possible secrets. Just exploring the world is a fun task in of itself, as the only restriction to where you can go is your character’s level.

Genshin Impact open

There is no character creation in this game; you get your characters from either completion of certain story missions or through wishing for them from banners, the gacha system. Banners are the character pools in which you can attempt to get heroes of varying elements (Anemo (wind), Cyro (ice), Electro (lightning), Dendro (nature), Geo (earth), Hydro (water), and Pyro (fire)). The elements are a huge factor in this game as you will need them to be able to deal damage to opposing elements. For example, Cyro and Hydro make “FREEZE” or Pyro and Electro make “OVERLOAD.” Playing with the combinations can help you capitalize on damage against enemies, making even the toughest of enemies manageable. Aside from damage, you will need to use the elements for puzzles as well as for environmental interactions. The usage of elements at first felt like it would be gimmicky, but after making use of cryo to freeze lakes or pyro to light torches, it works really well. Combining them feels different from other games because they have an impact on the actual world, instead of just on enemies for bonus damage or status effects.

Now besides using your elements, heroes also come equipped with a weapon specialization like a sword, claymore, bow, catalyst (book for magic users), or polearm. These allow you to use physical or magic attacks outside of the usage of special skills called “Elemental Skill” and “Elemental Burst.” Elemental skills are strong attacks that are on a moderate cooldown, whereas Elemental Burst is akin to an ultimate skill that is charged via the collection of elemental power dropped from enemies. You also have a charged attack that uses stamina. Stamina is also used for climbing, running, swimming, and gliding in Genshin Impact. Combat is in real-time so you can switch heroes in your team of four, dash out the way of attacks, jump, and use skills without the need of granting the enemy a turn to attack.

Genshin Impact PAIMON
As you play the game you will level up your Adventurer Rank, AR, which is your account level. Leveling your AR, which can be done by opening chests, donating to Statues of the Seven (which are pillars in which you can heal your team), completing missions, taking on open-world challenges, and fighting bosses, allows you access to various perks such as level cap breaks, co-op play, and world level increases, as well as earning some loot and items to power up your characters. World-level is a universal modifier that is gated behind your AR. Once you reach a threshold you will be able to complete a mission and unlock the next world tier. Upon doing so, all enemies and chests will scale up to reflect that change. Once you reach the next world tier enemies are stronger and require more strategy to take out these enemies. As you raise up your AR it does get grindy since it requires more experience to level up and, in the later stages of the game, the primary sources of experience become more scarce. It is worth it because when you get higher up you get to unlock your heroes at higher levels through Ascension and you also get to upgrade your weapons as well.

Speaking of multiplayer, Genshin Impact, supports crossplay across all its platforms. To access co-op you must reach AR 16. When in co-op, you can be joined up with up to 3 other people. I would recommend playing with friends to avoid anyone trying to troll or grief you. In co-op, the host can continue their story without issue, as the ones who join are unable to continue theirs. They can however explore your world and help you slay more powerful enemies. They can also join you in dungeons or slay world bosses. PC and mobile players have cross-save, so you can play on the go with your iPhone or Android device and then pick up where you left off at via PC when you get home.

As you play through the story and uncover the secrets of Tayvat, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful graphics, even on mobile, at their highest quality output with minimal lag. You’ll also be whisked away by the peaceful music that plays as you explore or tense up at the sound of the battle music when engaged with enemies. Additionally, all main characters in the story are voice acted which is a great touch, especially for a mobile-compatible game.

There is a cash shop in Genshin Impact, but it’s only to buy crystals that can be transferred over to the in-game currency, primogems, which are used to roll the banners for heroes and weapons. Though you can buy the crystals, Genshin Impact practically hands out primogems for just about everything from reading tutorial tips, completion of quests, to simply opening up chests. Being that there’s no PvP in the game, there’s no such thing as “pay to win.” It’s more of a “pay for convenience.” If you want to get a chance to possibly get that hero you want so badly, you can pay for it for a better chance to get them, or you can simply save up for them if you have the patience.

Overall, I have to say Genshin Impact is definitely a game that’s changing how RPGs can be handled, especially in the world of mobile games. It has all the boxes checked off for me as a fan of RPGs. It’s also pretty easy to learn but will take quite some time to master all the mechanics in the game, and honestly, I’m fine with that.

Genshin Impact is available now on iOS, Android, PS4, and PC for the awesome price of FREE.

Genshin Impact
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10
9.5/10

TL;DR

Overall, I have to say Genshin Impact is definitely a game that’s changing how RPGs can be handled, especially in the world of mobile games. It has all the boxes checked off for me as a fan of RPGs. It’s also pretty easy to learn but will take quite some time to master all the mechanics in the game, and honestly, I’m fine with that.