Let’s leave that aside: Genshin Impact and its beautiful, expansive Teyvat anime world clearly draws its inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I mean a lot of things. From art style to stamina-based ‘climb anything’ mechanic to gliding, it’s impossible not to remember Link’s open world adventures in Hyrule while exploring. But he’s not just an imitator, as the fantastic world of Genshin Impact, the wide array of diverse playable characters, and the deep RPG systems are all unique and impressive enough to let it stand on its own two feet – and each of the most. the 120 hours I spent at Teyvat were a blast. Genshin Impact is a free-to-play action-adventure RPG in which you play as a vague and mysterious ‘traveler’ from another world who arrives in the land of Teyvat before being attacked by a witch or God or … something, and your twin is captured. After waking up on a beach at level one and with no loot, you embark on a quest to find your lost brother that involves a lot of fruit picking, item crafting, and god fighting, but surprisingly little research. . for your twin. Because, just like during Link’s rush to save Zelda, completing those quests where you * check the notes * feed the ducks is far more important. The story of Genshin Impact is one of its weak spots, using just about every anime character and cliché from the story in the book. The characters will re-explain the same magical jargon as if paid by the word, and the story winds from one funny mishap to another with little cohesion. This bad rhythm is certainly not helped by the XP control that occurs between each act, where you will have to reach an increasingly difficult Adventurer rank to move on to the next quest. But since most of your time will be spent traveling the world and making your own stories as you rank up instead of listening to people explain what an anemocule is, this messy structure is not. a decisive factor. And, with a few exceptions, the cast of quirky characters (23 of which are playable) are a lot of fun to interact with and play, although I would sometimes roll my eyes when they made repeated, very inappropriate comments. for no reason at all – yay, anime. Teyvat Traveler The real star here is Teyvat himself, a world full of possibilities. Every nook and cranny is full of collectibles to power your characters, chests to discover and loot, puzzles to solve, enemies to eliminate, challenges to overcome, dungeons to face, relentless bosses to fight and quests to pursue. It’s actually almost scary to see all there is to do. In any given area of the vast map of the world, there always seemed to be around five or more things in my immediate field of vision to pursue, each with their own challenges and rewards. Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused and complete major quests just because there is such an embarrassment of riches available to you as you explore the world. A locked chest that catches the corner of your eye can lead to an impromptu quest or a multi-step puzzle. Following a floating blue fairy can lead to a massive combat encounter or even a long boss fight. It’s a disgusting and addicting chain reaction of things to be done in the best possible way. Teyvat is a world absolutely overflowing with things to do. “It doesn’t hurt that Teyvat’s world is absolutely stunning to watch and listen to anywhere with the notable exception of a few obligatory occasional anime. dubbing. Although it borrows more than it invents in terms of presentation, the sights and sounds of this world are always a joy to behold, with breathtaking views around every corner and a memorable soundtrack. to save them. On PS4 and mobile, you’ll sometimes get to an area quickly before the load is complete and have to wait for the world to catch up with you, but other than those occasional hiccups, Genshin Impact looks and performs well. Once you start unlocking new characters, each with their own unique fighting style, abilities, and elemental affinities, the world takes on different shapes as you gain new ways to interact with it. What was once a lake too large for you to walk through becomes easily traversable with the help of a cryo-type character like Kaeya who can simply freeze the water. Mountain tops that were once too steep to climb become simple to reach once you unlock Venti and her ability to create wind currents wherever she pleases. Just when I thought I figured out what my time in Teyvat was going to be like, I unlocked a new character, item, or ability that completely changed the way I played and reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the next twelve hours of obsessive loot pursuit. . Combat involves instantly switching between a party of up to four characters to shoot, hack, and detonate across a wide range of enemy types. Each character is equipped with their own type of item and a few abilities that use that item. By switching between characters and using their powers synergistically, you can unleash some very effective combinations. For example, if you use Xingqui’s aquatic abilities to anchor the enemy, then continue with Fischl’s electric attack, the damage is multiplied and can wipe out a load of villains in one go. Instantly switching characters to synergize powers can lead to serious combos. “Completing your roster of playable characters, weapons, and items, and discovering how they interact with each other becomes vital to your combat effectiveness, especially for certain challenges that require you to complete the encounter before it ends. time limit. This becomes especially important as we approach the current endgame and enemies become more dangerous and gain sturdy health bars, especially bosses. Whether you are fighting a giant wolf who spoils your day with attacks of simply wicked ice or whether you are facing a burning plant with truly disgusting hellish abilities, using all the tools at your disposal becomes a must. Genshin Impact can also be played co-op after reaching Adventure Rank 16, but at the moment, this feature seems to be quite engaged. You can host or join another player to complete challenges and eliminate bosses together, but in the vast majority of cases the guest is unable to reap the rewards of the activities you perform. It’s a shame, because adventure with a friend can actually be a lot of fun – but when one of you is shut out of almost all loot and progression just being able to help in combat, it just isn’t rewarding enough to do more than a limited time. “Work in Progress” Although it took me 120 hours to reach the end of its story quests, Genshin Impact is technically incomplete at the moment, with only two (important) world areas, a complete chapter in its history global and two-thirds of the next currently accessible. If the prologue is playable in its entirety, the chapter that follows does not include a third act for the moment. At the time of this review, developer miHoYo has not provided a roadmap with details on when we can expect new chapters to be added, although a third region of the map is planned for more. late this year. That said, there are plenty of them already here, and the prospect of upcoming content updates is more like MMO expansions than something akin to an Early Access update. Microtransactions and its Genshin Impact “Gacha” model is completely free, but the elephant in the room is its “gacha” model – also known as loot boxes – which entices you to spend both in-game currency and real money on random characters, loot, consumables and more. The ecosystem certainly flirts with paying to win (a slightly less significant issue in a game focused on single-player and not PvP), but manages to strike a decent balance so that those who don’t want to spend a Dime can still enjoy all the game for free. While it is true that all of the most powerful characters and weapons can be immediately acquired by investing enough money in loot chests, they can technically be unlocked by getting lucky with the free currency provided as well – or if, like me, you manage to play on it. 120 hours in two weeks without paying anything at all and crushing them out of sheer perseverance. But more importantly, these powerful weapons and characters are by no means a requirement to move forward, and I found myself taking on most of the challenges with my skills and abilities until I finally had to. luck with some terrific unlocks that made things a lot easier. The real problem with the gacha model arises in the later stages of progression, when the grind of the ‘adventure XP’ and account-wide upgrade materials becomes an exponentially steeper climb and time-limited activities that reward these things become a massive progression hurdle … which can be lifted for the right price, of course. This means that those who are willing to shell out the cash are able to advance to the endgame much faster than the non-paying players, who will have to play a lot more to catch up. In fact, just about any item in Genshin Impact can be acquired with enough help from your wallet, and whenever you run into any of these obstacles, you can be sure that a pop-up will come. remind you exactly how you can overcome it. . Granted, it took about 40-50 hours of playtime before that wall really started to loom in front of me, but once it hits, progress can slow down considerably. The good news is that I have still enjoyed almost every part of Genshin Impact’s grind, even after over 100 hours. The gameplay loop of exploring the world, solving puzzles, beating baddies, completing quests, and unlocking new characters and gear to upgrade and experience is incredibly addicting. Even in the later stages, when the lucrative quests dry up and you still have to roam Teyvat solving puzzles and finding hidden chests for XP shards and loot, it’s hard to complain when it all comes down to it. is still great fun. Even though the temptation to withdraw your credit card is all over the place and sometimes in your face, the grind (so far) hasn’t been bad enough to make the experience painful for me as a free player.