Genshin Impact Review
After being announced back in June of 2019, Genshin Impact finally arrives. Is this free to play adventure worth checking out, or should you stick with something else? Check out our review and find out.
Genshin Impact Review
Genshin Impact starts with two twins fighting a mysterious god. You pick one of the twins (either male or female) while the god captures the other one. You are teleported to a different world where you travel with your companion Paimon. Upon reaching one of the first major towns, you find out a dragon is rampaging in the area. You join up with the Knights of Favonius to help restore stability to the area. This inevitably leads to a confrontation with the dragon Stormterror. After beating the dragon, you are sent north to find out more about where your sibling may be.
The story isn’t anything extraordinary, but it is interesting enough to keep you engaged. The big problem is that the game is currently not finished, and the story abruptly ends right when it feels like you are about to get some answers. The other problem is that a lot of the main story quests are locked behind your adventure rank. If you don’t like the idea of grinding, you won’t be seeing the end of this adventure. Even with the unfinished story, you’ll easily get 20-30 hours out of the game’s central quest.
Genshin Impact is an entirely free to play action RPG that wears its inspirations on its sleeve. Think it looks like Breath of the Wild? Well, it plays a lot like Breath of the Wild. You can climb almost anywhere, do environmental puzzles, find and clear shrines, and Paimon might as well be your Navi. I know that isn’t from Breath of the Wild, but still. I’m not saying this is a bad thing; the game does enough of its own thing to make it stand out. However, the combat is different, and you also don’t have to worry about weapons breaking.
Admittedly, combat starts out pretty straightforward and bland. Once you have a full team of four people, however, things begin to take off. While a lot of the fighting is spamming both the attack and the elemental attack, combing all the effects from your team can make you feel like a god yourself. Dropping a lighting bird, into a freeze, into a knock-up, into Diluc’s flaming falcon is an incredible sight to behold, and will clear almost any enemy camp. It is quick, fluid, and engaging combat that hasn’t worn out its welcome some 100 hours later.
Let’s talk about the Gacha element of the game. Yes, you can spend real money to buy rolls on new characters. Most games like this shove it in your face and remind you constantly that the store is there. However, Genshin Impact does it once and then leaves you alone. You can earn the currency in the game by doing quests, opening chests, doing achievements, and just grinding in general. I don’t play many Gacha games, but this one is about as unintrusive as it can be while still having the system in place. The biggest downside to it is the extremely low rate of 5-star characters. 0.7% is simply too low, even in this type of game.
In an industry where games are becoming easier and easier, with more and more crap on maps, Genshin Impact says no. There are a few things on your maps – warp points, shrines, and towns – but the rest is up to you. Exploring the world is very rewards because around every corner is another puzzle, chest, camp to clear, something extraordinary to see, or a hidden quest. It is invigorating to be rewarded for your ability to search through nooks and crannies. When everything is on the map, it feels like a chore, something many developers don’t understand. Genshin Impact gives you a bit of direction, but for the most part tells you to do your own thing, and it works well.
If everything sounds good so far, let me tell you a little about the grind. While you will make leaps and bounds in terms of upgrades in the first 20 or so hours of the game, it becomes a slog past that. There are not enough quests in the game currently to support how far the main quest goes. You will often find yourself two or three ranks below the main story’s requirement with no quests to be found. This isn’t a problem for someone who likes to explore and find secrets. I didn’t really hit a severe wall until about rank 35, and that was because I’ve cleared most of the areas out. That is also about 100 hours deep, so I got plenty of time in.
One huge problem in the game currently is the Resin system. Resin is a currency you use to get rewards from dungeons and to do other end game stuff like world bosses. Is restores slowly, costs way too much for less than stellar rewards, and the primary world bosses (of which there are currently only two) respawn weekly. There are items that restore some Resin, but it never fully restores it. A quick and simple fix would be to have your Fragile Resin items fully restore your Resin. It isn’t a long term solution, but it would currently give end game players more to do in the game.
I waited to do this review until the first “new” event occurred, which has recently dropped. This is a co-op event where you grind enemies and deliver orbs to a pillar. It’s basic, but it is a nice addition for players looking for more to do. The event has shown me just how weak the co-op is in this game, though. It is always laggy, literally 100% of the time. The event will bug from time to time, and you have to leave and reset. That means you load in, and it bugs, you load out, you have to load in again and hope it doesn’t bug again. It is still early days, but co-op desperately needs a boost to be viable long term.
Worst-case scenario, Genshin Impact will cost you a few hours of your life. Best-case scenario, it will be your surprise hit of the year. There are zero reasons not to at least try this title if you are a fan of action RPGs.
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