Genshin Impact is an online open-world adventure game that, quite honestly, I was sleeping on. The Chinese developer MiHoYo has a great catchphrase, “tech otakus can save the world“ and boy, do they show it in their products. MiHoYo is known for its game Honkai Impact, but this is their first open-world and cross-play title. So if you’re into anime or anime-like graphics with a large homage to Breath Of The Wild, then you’re likely going to enjoy this online Open World ARPG they are developing. They are currently in their last closed beta (CBT3) and rumor is that the Open Beta will launch this year 2020. Thank you MiHoYo for the chance to play the beta and see this wonderful game you’re developing.
As I stated, this was a game that I originally was sleeping on. I saw that you could play as multiple characters solo or split characters up in multiplayer. As I started to watch more content on it and find some videos showcasing the combat and elemental systems, I started to get more interested. A friend of mine told me that they had an open application for their content program and I decided to put my name in the hat. I was accepted and granted access to Closed Beta 3 (CBT3). I went into this game not expecting much and many had told me it was quite an imitation of Breath of the Wild (Zelda), which I had not played but watched some speedrun videos on. Within my first few hours, I was hooked. I fell in love with the combat almost immediately and as I unlocked more characters and could perform more elemental combos, enjoyed the combat systems even further. I like anime, so the vibe of the game was great and you could tell that the developers put a lot of emphasis on the world, to make it feel like an actual world. Each character feels unique and the main character “The Traveler” feels like they are actually part of the world/story.
You are consistently given objectives to do, that actually teach you about the game and inform you about the world “Teyvat”. The story is lush, with obvious anime tropes, but it’s a unique take on elements and a world with what seems a lush history and brooding enemies in the shadows. I’m not one for the story, but it also greatly helps that MiHoYo invested in their voice over materials, with some very notable Japanese names, so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of streams with Japanese voice-overs. I haven’t played a true open-world game since Skyrim, so this was a breath of fresh air with a great ARPG combat system. While imitation is the best form of flattery, Genshin Impact does carve multiple things out to be unique to this title.
This can’t be an anime/breath of the wild inspired game, without a large story. Just in the beta alone, there were tons of chapters, side quests, and main story progression to do. Each character that you can unlock and meet in the game, has a pretty extensive story that allows you to get to know who they are and what role they play in the world of Teyvat. Your main quests that drive the story are dependent on finding other characters and the natural progression as you increase your Adventure Rank through doing quests, exploring, and many other activities.
There are also tons of hidden treasure, puzzles, and even hidden quests that you must be very observant to find. The best rule of thumb in Genshin is if it looks out of place, it’s likely that way for a reason! It took some more experienced travelers in the community to point out things I missed along my journey, but eventually, you catch on to spotting these hidden gems. Also, don’t be afraid to climb, often some of the best treasures are found high on top of the landscape.
There is a wide variety of characters in the game and even as a completely free player, you get access to quite a few characters. Character progression can be broken down into a few different aspects. There are the base attributes of a character that you gain from simply leveling and ascending them. Ascension happens when your character hits a level-cap, in which you must then gather specific resources to advance them, along with a pretty sizable stat boost. There are weapons, which is a key aspect to the gameplay of any character, as weapons have various unique effects that can affect just the character that has it equipped or your entire party. These also have a level and ascension system, along with refinement. Refinement is when you take duplicates of your weapon and fuse them in order to make the passive ability on the weapons stronger. Then you have Constellation, which is a progression system that is done with the main character “The Traveler” by buying unique items once you have enough region currency from the particular area and for other characters, by getting duplicates of that character through their Wish (Gacha) system. Lastly, you have talents that are just direct upgrades with talent specific items you find through various activities in the game. Upgrading your talents is based on the ascension level of your character. There is always something to work towards to improve your characters.
Combat feels pretty smooth on PC and from those I’ve spoken to, it feels smooth on mobile, tablets, and controller since it’s a cross-play title. Each character has a normal chain of attacks, a charged attack, and elemental skill, and an elemental burst. Currently, you have a choice of characters that utilize bows, magic, swords, spears, and greatswords all that have their benefits and downsides. At first, that seems pretty simple until you mix in dash attacks, dash cancels, and the best part; elemental combos. Elemental combos have a huge role in this game, making combat fluctuate based on how you need to utilize them or the elements available in your party.
Some combos like Superconduct and Overload are mainly used for large bursts of AoE damage or to break shields, while Frozen, Melt, and Vaporize are used more to get rid of statuses or reduce the abilities that an enemy can use. It becomes very apparent that once you master utilizing elemental combos both in solo or co-op play, it makes a world of difference in the feel and depth of combat. It gets even more interesting with events and activities in the game that boost certain elemental combos in given situations or what combos are best to deal with specific enemies.
WHAT IS GACHA
This game is constantly referred to as a “Gacha” game and if you’re a PC gamer or someone who doesn’t play video games frequently on mobile, this may be a foreign term to you. Many higher-grossing mobile games in Japan and in Asia utilize this kind of system. It becomes a roll of luck, in which you hope to “pull” the character or items you’re looking for out of a pool of options, some would liken it to Loot Boxes, but it’s a bit different. While you can directly purchase Primogems (Premium Currency) in the final release, in the Closed Beta, we weren’t able to spend any money. At first glance, the % chances are slim and, hopefully, with community feedback, that may change, but MiHoYo also utilizes what is called a “pity” system, in which if you pull/wish X amount of times, you’re guaranteed to get the higher quality possibilities. They also have a “glitter” system, which each time you pull a higher quality item, you get currency that you can spend in their premium shop to possibly directly purchase an offering. I do hope they condense the glitter system to one currency rather than splitting it up and allow it to be a more continuous way to acquire things you may not have had the luck to get in wishes.
The currency used to do the Gacha, is “Primogems” which as a completely free player, you can earn through various activities in the game. While what I’ve experienced in closed beta 3 (CBT3), is not the end-product, I was able to do about 80 wishes in my time playing the beta. I, along with many in the community, hope that MiHoYo will add more ways to earn this currency or make the wishes more forgiving. Please keep in mind, this is not the final product and lots of feedback is being given to the developers.
The game is an absolute blast to play and as someone who hasn’t played an open-world game in a while, it was a breath of fresh air. I greatly enjoyed the combat, which is my biggest thing with any game as an avid ARPG player. I think there is a lot of room for improvement and future development in the game. Out of my experience, the two biggest areas I’m hoping to see changes in is the co-op experience and the glitter/wish systems. If they can polish those up, find a better balance, and make the co-op experience more rewarding, then I think this will be one of the top free-2-play titles out there. I’m excited for the Open Beta and what MiHoYo has in store for us in terms of future content.
If you would like to see more of this game, I will be covering it over on Twitch.