Genshin Impact is light on story and big on exploration, encouraging players to peek under every boulder, slide off every precipice, and make your way through each goblin camp. This free open-world action / RPG game is an incredible fusion of stylish art and sound, easy-to-learn combat, and magical adventures around every corner. As you climb the highest peaks, face titanic bosses, and spend quiet moments admiring the scenery, you are inundated with dozens of possibilities. Many games perform endless tasks, but Genshin Impact provides a feeling of unyielding enchantment and desire that I rarely experience. I put Genshin Impact to bed, closed my eyes, and found myself playing a few moments later. The collecting, leveling, and customizing gameplay loop is captivating and compelling. Genshin Impact is an endless ball of adventurous wool; pulling on any thread for a minute can lead you in unexpected directions for hours. Perhaps you are on a major story quest, but see a chest in the distance, which leads you to follow a mysterious spirit along a cliff and unearth a rare cooking recipe. By the time all is said and done, the weather has evaporated and you have forgotten why you were even in the area in the first place. That’s okay, though, as you’ve solved a crane puzzle that sent you soaring through mountainous air, rescuing travelers trapped in amber, and battling a bulky mech for some mind-blowing new loot. The main quest is still there, but it’s hard to stay focused on it as you run, hover, and climb. This world is of incomparable beauty which hypnotizes and fascinates. Dialogue and story are the weakest parts of the experience. It’s totally okay to skip most of the superficial conversations when you reach the main quest chains to unlock certain areas and boss encounters. The real story here is created by your journey as you move from region to region. From digging through a carrot field in search of food to accidentally wandering into a high-level encounter because the surrounding environment seemed interesting, I never felt the tasks were getting rote. Gameplay can get cranky for around 30 hours, but is it really hard if it still feels good? You control a group of four characters, one on the field at a time. The fight begins simple, with each character having a few different attacks, an elemental skill, and an ultimate elemental attack. The character swap is an instant press of a button, which creates a more dynamic and interesting combat system than the basic button mash. Using a water character to soak enemies, then quickly switching to an electro character to shock everyone is an effective use of elemental synergy, with tougher encounters and time trials becoming hotbeds to try out all kinds. elemental alchemy. In a fight with multiple minibosses present and a clock staring down at you, it takes careful strategy to time your elements for maximum effect. Elemental abilities aren’t just for combat. The open world is full of puzzles and chests to test your creativity. Simple tasks like burning brambles from an entrenched chest or using the wind to blow seeds from a dandelion are available in the opening moments, but later tasks involve multiple elements to trigger a variety of environmental interactions. Running out of stamina when trying to swim in a large body of water? Use ice to create a catwalk. Create material to trigger a pressure plate. Even at the end of the game, I’m still discovering new ways to use abilities. Up to four players can team up together, with cross-platform gameplay without access. Co-op is easy to use and a fun way to fight bosses and experience mini-dungeons. Or maybe you just want to hang out, watch some ducks, and take screenshots. Co-op is a fun addition, but everything in the game can be done and enjoyed solo. My biggest reservation about Genshin Impact is the monetization model, which is organized in a way that mobile gamers are intimately familiar with. In the West, the “gachapon” system can be likened to loot boxes. But these loot boxes aren’t just cosmetic hats; they are intended for playable characters and awesome weapons. Yes, Genshin Impact offers Electricity Payment and Convenience Payment. Genshin Impact has a battle pass that doesn’t even appear for around 20 hours of play. The gameplay for characters and weapons is further exacerbated by Genshin Impact’s deliberate methods, such as having all-star heroes join your party. for some quests, which allows you to experience their incredible powers, thus creating the desire to spin the wheels for a shot at this power. This is a monetization model that I cannot endorse or advocate, but I also haven’t spent any real money in my 40+ hours with the game. I don’t have it. feel like my progress has slowed down or my pleasure has diminished because I haven’t paid. I’ve played a lot of gacha games, and while Genshin Impact’s paywall is the least intrusive of all, I can’t claim that the game wouldn’t be better without it. Genshin Impact is a whimsical and wonderful land dripping with unbridled charm and allure, combining a ridiculously compelling reward loop with continuous, unfettered discovery. In this world, I felt like a kid visiting a theme park for the first time – dazzled, hypnotized and completely blown away. I only wish the twinkling glow wasn’t marred by a macabre monetization pattern, but it’s something I’m willing to forget for my ticket to this fascinating realm.