Images & Gameplay via miHoYo

The massive free-to-play MMO-inspired game, Genshin Impact, has been released over a month now and has been widely successful with millions of players worldwide. In just the span of a week of its release, the game had an estimated 17 million downloads. The game currently has two regions to explore and a fun cast of characters to play as. The company miHoYo has also been very vocal with its plans for the future of the game with planned updates every 6 weeks.

I have been playing the game since launch and, despite the constant grinding nature of the game have enjoyed my time in Teyvat.


The Adventure Begins

Mondstadt
City of Mondstadt

The game starts out with a fight between an unknown assailant with magical “cube” powers and twin brother and sister (called the Traveler throughout the story). You are allowed to pick which twin you want to play as, but be aware that the other twin will be turned into a cube. Your twin then gets captured, and you are teleported to the land of Mondstadt where you encounter Paimon, who you magically fish out one day.

Tip: Make sure you interact with the Tower of the Seven! They will update your map and also heal your characters if you stand close to one. Providing the statues with Geoculus or Anemoculus will also give you rewards.

The world of Genshin Impact is incredibly vase and you are free to explore to your heart’s content. There are 7 nations ruled by 7 gods with seven elements: Anemo, Geo, Electro, Dendro, Hydro, Pyro, and Cryo. At the current update, only 2 nations are explorable. The player character is searching for their twin sibling and must traverse the nations to find them. On your adventures with Paimon, you first encounter Amber, a Knight of Favonious, who directs you to the kingdom of Mondstadt after helping her clear an enemy camp. She also joins your character party and presents you with a gliding suit to soar across the sky.

In Mondstadt, you are greeted by Acting Grand Master Jean, the Librarian Lisa, and another Knight of Favonious, Kaeya. They agree to help with the search for your sibling, but their hands are tied up right now with the threat of Stormterror, a dragon that has been terrorizing their lands. You later find out that Stormterror used to be a guardian of the land until he became corrupted by the Abyssal Order.

You also introduced to a mysterious bard named Venti who explains that it’s possible to calm Stormterror with the help of his music and your over-worldly powers. Venti also explains that the Anemo god Baratos believed that Mondstadt and its people should be free and not have to deal with the powers of a god. I won’t spoil the story too much, but you then partner up with Jean, Venti, and Diluc, an ex-knight of Favonius, to defeat Stormterror and stop the Abyssal Order from abusing his powers.


Onwards to Liyue

Genshin Impact Qiqi
Liyue Harbor

After your victory in Mondstadt, you proceed to Liyue to meet the Geo god to see if he has any information on your sibling. You venture on to Liyue Harbor to view the rite of ascension, where the Geo god comes back into the mortal plane. However, when you arrive in the city, Rex Lapis, the Geo god, is killed and you are suspected as his murderer. Chaos ensures and you are forced to flee the city with your “new friend” Childe, one of the Harbingers of Fatui who are aligned with the Cyro god. The Fatui were first seen as diplomats in Mondstadt and were known to pressure other nations into submitting to them. It becomes questionable whether to trust Childe or not, but you don’t get a choice or not. Childe assists you with getting out of the city and sets up a meeting with someone that could help you out. That someone is the funeral curator, Zhongli, who must set up the funeral for Rex Lapis. The interaction between those two characters were fun to watch. Zhongli acts rich but is always forgetting his wallet while Childe is forced to pay the fees to set up the funeral for Rex Lapis. As of the story right now, you must help out Zhongli with the funeral preparation.

The story progression has been an enjoyable experience so far. It is hard to believe that this is a free-to-play game with its beautiful graphics and vast world. The characters are also likable and their backstory brings a unique understanding of the world they live in. For example, we have the outlandish former knight Diluc who seemingly hates the Knight of Favonious. We later find out that it was due to an event that caused his father to be killed. Each region also has its own unique history. Mondstadt was founded on the belief in freedom while Liyue was built on the founding of Rex Lapis and has pride in its heritage and tradition.


A Revamped Gacha Game

Chongyun
Chongyun

At the start of the game, you get a couple of characters to play with for free aside from your character. This includes most of the Knight of Favonious: Lisa, Kaeya, and Amber. They are all 4-star characters that each have a different play style. Amber utilizes the bow and the element of Pyro. Kaeya uses a sword and has the element of Cyro. Lastly, Lisa is a mage who strikes her enemies down with Electro attacks. These characters are decent and both Amber and Kaeya have skills that will make exploring the world a lot easier. For example, Kaeya allows you to use less stamina when running.

A lot of the time you will be focused on building the characters you get through the gacha mechanic system of the game called wishes. You use the in-game currency, Primogems that can be bought with free money or by playing the game and earning rewards. 1 wish is 160 primogems. This is about standard for other gacha games as well. At the start of the game, you are rewarded with an abundant amount of primogems. However, it becomes increasingly hard to earn primogems when you are at a higher adventure rank. This makes getting new characters harder for players who have already finished all the story content currently available. As you progress through the game, the more mundane the game comes with repeating daily tasks and trying to level up.

Most of the new characters you will get through wishes will be vastly more powerful than the ones you get for free. My current main is Chongyun who is a Cyro claymore user who has the potential to freeze the enemy. The strongest characters within the game are considered 5-stars which include only a hand full of characters including Jean and Diluc. These characters are sadly locked behind the low rate of Genshin Impact’s gacha system. 1 wish will only have a 0.06% of getting you a 5-star character. Combined them with a lack of primogems in the late game, makes these 5 star characters close to impossible to obtain without spending money or with luck. I only managed to get Qiqi, a great healer, after a month of playing the game. Most of the time, your wishes will not even give you a character. The game is built where you will get weapons most of the time. The game tries to make up for the low rate with a pity system built into the game. After 10 wishes you are guaranteed to pull a 4 star if you haven’t pulled one already within that set of 10. The game will also give you a 5-star pull after 90 wishes. This could either be a weapon or a character. Imagine after 90 wishes, without a 5 star character, and the game gives you a weapon. Hopefully, the game improves upon this mechanic within the future. You can also get a repeat character, but those can be handy as well. Getting the same character will unlock additional skills that will make them a lot stronger and viable in battle.


The Battle System and Team-Building

Genshin Impact Electro
Fischl

The combat within the game is surprisingly simple in nature and easy to understand. Each element has an element and can also gain an element depending on your attack. You can get an enemy wet with a Hydro ability and then freeze them with a Cyro attack to stun them. The player can then melt the frozen enemy to deal extra damage. A lot of the enemies in the game follow a simple formula. You really only need to strategize with the element you use to break down their defenses. One of the enemies, the Abyssal Mages can be really tough to deal with if their shields are not broken. Unlike other games, physical attacks do not damage their shields. However, enemies without shields can usually be dealt with easily with your regular attacks.

The game will require you to use a variety of characters to traverse the world around you, solve puzzles, and defeat enemies. The game currently has a lack of diversity with its character and your options are limited to the free characters everyone gets to the ones you manage to get through wishing, Building a good team will take days to get right. You can only have 4 members in your party at a time, but can easily switch between characters in a menu when not in combat. The elements in your party have a major effect on your team. For example, having two Pyro units in your team will give you a 20% boost to your attack. This boost can have a major impact on your team to give them the extra power they need to quickly defeat enemies.

When deciding on a team, you should start out by building a DPS unit or your main damager dealer. This unit will be the one to deal heavy damage to the enemies. I’m currently using Chongyun as my DPS unit, but other good options are Razor, Diluc, Xiangling, and Keqing. Next, you will want two support units. These units will pair with your DPS unit in order to chain elemental reactions or give them a boost. My favorite support is Bennett due to his ability to both heal the team and give an attack buff. Any character can be a good support if you master their elemental reactions correctly. The last member of the team should be a healer. Although you have the option of healing with food in the game, healers are a lot more convenient to have around.

Tip: All your characters have talents, which are the attacks they can do. They have a regular attack, a burst attack, and an ultimate. These can all be leveled up in the character menu!


Weapons and Artifacts

Genshin Impact Cyro
Artifact Menu

Both the weapons and artifacts you use can have a huge impact on your character’s power and how easy you can defeat your enemies. Each character is locked to a specific weapon. For example, Chongyun can only use claymores and Amber can only use bows. Due to the wish system, you will have plenty of weapons that your character can use. Your best bet will be to use a 4-star weapon due to the better stats than a 3-star weapon. Getting a 5-star weapon is incredibly rare so it may not be viable for you to use one unless you get lucky. Getting a copy of the same weapon will allow you to boost the weapon’s passive ability. Some of the weapon’s passive ability can include boosting regular damage in general or towards a specific type of enemy. It is also important to note that I would focus on leveling up the weapons of your main team. As with your character, items for leveling up your weapons will become more difficult to get in later levels.

Another way you can boost your character’s power is through the use of artifacts. You can equip 5 artifacts on a character that can have a wide impact on the stats of that character. The artifacts will come with a main stat boost and up to 4 secondary stat boost, depending on the rarity of the artifact. For the most part, these stats are randomly determined when you get that artifact.  exceptions are the flower and the feather which has the main stat boost of health and attack. Most of the time, one of the secondary stats gain on your artifact won’t have a huge impact on their performance. A boost in defense won’t really help your character deal more damage. For your main attacker, you should focus mainly on the attack, crit rate, or crit damage stat. Finding the perfect artifact is incredibly rare and will take some time.

Tip: At Adventure Rank 45, you are guaranteed a 5-star artifact, so don’t focus your resin too much on artifact hunting until you reach that level.

The main power of the artifacts come from the set bonus they give the character when you equip the full set. A full set consists of 4 artifacts, but you will also get a boost from equipping just 2. One of the best set for your DPS unit is the Gladiator’s Finale that gives an 18% boost to your attack and increased normal attack by 35% if you a using a melee weapon. You will want to play around with the builds and test to see which set works best with your play style.


Resource Management and the Limited Resin System

Genshin Impact Domain
Domain of Forgery

In order to ascend your characters or weapons to boost their stats, you must gather items through boss fights and killing enemies. Cooking is also a vital part of the game if you want stat boosts or to heal your characters In the beginning, item collection is pretty cheap and it won’t impact your gameplay as heavily. However, as you level up, materials become more scarce as you need more materials to level up your characters. Your best bet would be to focus on 4 main characters to build up since you will be mainly using them in the story anyway. Although you can level up other characters, I wouldn’t recommend doing it unless your current team is strong enough to defeat the bosses.

Sadly, the number of attempts you can battle a boss or clear a dungeon is blocked by the Resin System within the game. To claim the rewards you must use some of your resin. It is currently at 20 resins for a domain, 40 resins for a regular boss, and 60 resins for the world bosses. You will only get 120 resins throughout the entire game, but that limit will change in their new update to 160. The good news is that the resins refresh, but the bad news is that it refreshes at an extremely low rate. It takes 8 minutes to restore 1 resin. This damper your process a ton if you want to level up your character. It will take several days or weeks because the dungeons change every day and each character requires different items. There is an item that will give you 60 resin, but that item is also scarce and there isn’t a reliable way to obtain this item. Hopefully, in the future, this system gets revamped to make it easier to obtain items to level up your characters. At this point in the game, investing in the new characters you get is too time-consuming to get them caught up with your current team.

The in-game currency, Mora, will be used for various things like buying items or leveling up weapons, artifacts, and characters. At the start of the game, you will have plenty of Mora to go around to use on your characters and weapons. As you level up, however, everything becomes more expensive as you need to figure out where to spend your limited supply of Mora. You will definitely suffer a Mora shortage if you plan on upgrading more than 4 characters at a time.


The Simple Dungeons Exploration and Boss Fights

Genshin Impact Boss
Cryo Regisvine Boss Fight

The region of Teyvat has many puzzles and dungeons to solve and clear. You will also often find chests and even spirits that will lead you to treasure as you explore. Each nation has a ton for you to explore and figure out based on its unique characteristics! For example, you will need to guide across the sky to an island full of secrets in Mondstadt or explore the hidden ruins of Liyue. Exploring the land will provide you with hours of content whether you are completing the next quest or are hunting for materials.

At the beginning of the game, the first four dungeons you explore are fun and creative with their mechanics. There are some unique dungeons sprinkled here and there for you to beat as well, but all of these dungeons can only be played once. You only gain rewards the first time you beat it so there is no point in doing it going. The game does have repeatable domains, but they don’t have interesting mechanics at all. These domains also get boring pretty quickly once you realize that you need to run them multiple times to get the materials you need. The only objective you have for these dungeons is to beat the enemies in a certain amount of time. Some of these dungeons, especially in the Spiral Abyss are hard, but I would like different objectives for the dungeons in the future than just defeating the enemies.

Each region also has bosses you can fight from the Oceanid in Liyue to Andrius the wolf in Mondstadt. These bosses all have different strategies and attack patterns, so facing some of them requires skill and strategy. These bosses are also easier than the domains due to various elemental restrictions that the domains have on your characters.


Teaming up with Friends and Random Strangers

Genshin Impact Co-op
Oceanid Boss Fight

As you level up in rank, the difficulty of the world also increases. This means you will be facing against higher level enemies and the domains will get a lot harder. This makes co-op play a necessary part of the game if you are having trouble beating the bosses on your own. The game gives you the option of joining random worlds as well if you don’t know anyone that plays the game. You can team up with 3 other people, but you will also be limited to playing only as 1 character.

However, there are several restrictions on having other people in your world. You can not complete other quests or craft items. You are restricted in what you can do together besides fight enemies and gather resources. The developers do plan to have more co-op events in the future so the co-op should improve in the near future.

Tip: Only 1 team member needs to alive to keep the boss active. If you die, you can respawn and go back to face the boss. This tip doesn’t work in domains!


Pros & Cons

ProsCons
The graphics are amazing and provides an immersive gameplay experience Resource Grinding and Expensive Upgrades
Daily Commission Quests that will have something new every dayDomains need to be improved
Characters make the game come to play and fun to playResin System blocks out playability of the game behind a time lock

Conclusion

Genshin Impact has become one of the most popular games of 2020 and the reasons so are very valid. The world is fun to explore and the characters are both lovable and fun to play as. The game does have game mechanics that need to be refined, such as the resin system and the domains. However, it is a new game and the developers have shown that they listen to player suggestions. I look forward to what Genshin Impact has to offer in the future.

Genshin Impact Cut Scene
Venti and Stormterror

Rating

Story: ★★★★★ 5/5

The story of the seven gods and the character’s motivation drives the plot. We understand the main character’s determination to get back their sibling and how they are lost in a strange world full of mysteries to explore.

Visual & Audio: ★★★★ 5/5

The visuals are amazing as well and make you want to explore everything. The world also rewards you for this exploration with treasure chests and materials. The audio also provides an immersive gameplay experience.

Game Mechanics:: ★★★★★ 4/5

The game mechanics in the game does need some refinement. The battle system is easy to understand and the characters are enjoyable to play

Enjoyability: ★★★★★ 5/5

I enjoyed playing Genshin Impact ever since it first launched and am excited about its future. You will waste countless hours roaming throughout the world, completing quests, and building up your characters.

Overall Rating: 95/100

gaming seal
Seal of Approval

Available on:

Developer: miHoYo

These sites will also help you learn more about the game and guide you along your journey:


*All photos and images of gameplay belong to their respective owners

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