Gacha games are aplenty in the market, but none of them are quite like Genshin Impact. Not only does it offer cross-platform progression across a wide range of systems – though this is not applicable to the PS4 version – Mihoyo’s latest title also feels like a full-fledged, content-rich, proper RPG game with an engrossing storyline – it’s free-to-play to boot.
Of course, Genshin Impact is still inherently a gacha game, so there are some typical gacha pitfalls here. That being said, I’ve been playing the game since release day, and while the gacha aspect of Genshin Impact is very much present, it doesn’t feel like the sole focus of the game. This makes it an incredibly fun game, and I haven’t been able to put it down.
What It Is
Genshin Impact, as mentioned, is developed by Mihoyo, the same company behind Honkai Impact. But unlike the latter, Genshin Impact is available on a wider range of platforms, including PC, Android, iOS, and even PS4. The best part is, your progression continues across the first three platforms, with the PS4 version being the only exception.
If you followed the development of Genshin Impact, you must’ve seen it being compared to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Yes, the RPG’s open-world exploration and art style do look reminiscent to Nintendo’s hit game, but Genshin Impact is much more than that – I’ll explain in the next section.
The Good Stuff
What drew me to Genshin Impact the most is the fact that it has a very engrossing storyline. You play the game as the Traveler, and you’re looking for your twin sister – or brother, depending on who you choose in the beginning of the game – in a foreign world. In your journey to do so, you’ll meet quite a number of characters, each with their own unique personality and excellent character development.
Without getting into spoiler territory, it’s suffice to say that Genshin Impact has one of the best storylines I’ve played through. Not even by the standards of a mobile game; it is easily on par with the majority of other proper AAA RPG games on PC and console. That’s how engaging the story of Genshin Impact is.
Further complementing this is the fantastic voice acting. Not only can you select between four different languages – English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean – I’m pleasantly surprised at how good the English voice acting is. Unfortunately, lip-syncing is practically non-existent regardless of which language you choose, but it doesn’t bother me too much, especially for a free-to-play game.
And then there’s the overall gameplay of Genshin Impact. The combat system, for one, offers a lot of depth and different playstyles. You need to build a team of four, and each character in the game are aligned with one of seven elements, though there are only six playable elements at the moment.
Anyway, in order to maximise damage output, you’re required to combine certain elements in a specific order. Further adding to this combat mechanic are the different skills each character wield and deciding which artifact set will be perfect for them. Basically, there are many ways to build a team that will suit your playstyle; there’s a surprising amount of sophistication here.
Aside from that, the beautifully rendered world of Genshin Impact itself offers plenty of exploration. The vast environment is packed to the brim with chests, materials, and even puzzles to solve for some neat rewards. While it can feel tedious at times – especially if you need to farm for specific materials for character or weapon ascension – the game does reward exploration quite a bit with Primogems (which are required to “roll” for characters), experience, and achievements.
Speaking of Primogems, Mihoyo is actually quite generous with them. Whenever the developer issues a fix for bugs, it will compensate players with Primogems. Heck, even scheduled maintenances reward players with Primogems; the longer the servers are down, the more Primogems will be issued. On top of that, there are quite a bit of in-game events as well that give – you guessed it – Primogems.
Last but definitely not least is the cross-platform progression of Genshin Impact. In short, it’s amazing. I prefer to play the game on PC, but whenever this isn’t possible, I can just launch the game on my smartphone to continue where I left off. Sure, the controls are not as precise on mobile, but at least I can still complete my daily missions and what not without much difficulty.
As mentioned, those who are playing the PS4 version won’t be able to enjoy this, though there is a chance this could change in the future.
The Bad Stuff
Even though Genshin Impact has a lot of good qualities, it still has a number of pain points. The biggest one is the fact that this is still a gacha game, so if you want a specific character or weapon, you’ll have to keep rolling for either one of them using Primogems. Needless to say, it can be frustrating if you fail to get what you’re aiming for.
Now, if you decide to purchase more Primogems with cash to get more opportunities to roll, this is the real “danger” with gacha games like Genshin Impact. It can get very expensive very quickly, and the monetary investment may not be worth it in the long run, especially if you lose interest in the game down the road.
Aside from that, the Resin system of Genshin Impact is also one of the biggest limitations in the game. In order to claim rewards from defeating special bosses and dungeons, you need to use Resin, which takes quite some time to regenerate. Naturally, you can use Primogems or a limited item called Fragile Resin to instantly get more Resin, but you really should be saving the former to roll for characters or weapons.
Granted, Version 1.1 of Genshin Impact – which went live just last week – made things better by increasing the Resin cap from 120 to 160. Still, the limitation is still there; the amount of gears and level up material you can get daily will be dictated by how much Resin you have.
And that brings us to the next pain point. Not only are you limited by Resin when you’re farming for equipment and materials, looking for a gear with desirable stats is entirely decided by chance. Besides that, level up materials for different characters and weapons are only available on certain days as well, so you have to pay close attention to not miss them.
Is It Worth Playing?
Even though some aspects of the game could be better, Genshin Impact is absolutely worth playing. Yes, it’s a gacha game, but it doesn’t feel like a gacha game with its incredible storyline, sophisticated gameplay, and a vast, beautiful world to explore. I also love the fact that it supports cross-platform progression.
Genshin Impact is easily one of the best – if not the best – free-to-play RPG games released this year. After all, it has already proven to be a financial success for Mihoyo on a global scale. I haven’t outright purchased Primogems with cash yet – though I did get the Battle Pass and monthly subscription for daily Primogems – but I’m still having an absolute ball in the game.
More importantly, I don’t feel the “paywall” in Genshin Impact yet despite not pouring all that much money into the game. Hopefully, Mihoyo will continue to improve the gaming experience for free-to-play players moving forward – it’s certainly doing a good job at that right now, in my opinion.