Genshin Impact is fully crazy and quite good

(Just slapping a gameplay video of the beta in here because the official trailers are all just like environmental fly-throughs with talking heads on them!)

So, been playing Genshin Impact these past couple of days (on PS4, but note that it is also available on PC, iOS, and Android.)

I feel like people are pretty quickly waking up to the game's potential and what makes it interesting a little faster than I expected. I've seen western journalists who mostly stick to very western games and/or AAA take notice -- people who would never cover a JRPG with big-eye characters as a real game.

That said, this game is just nuts, so it is not surprising it's getting attention. It's a full-fledged console-style action-RPG and it's completely free-to-play. It's also localized into EN including full voice (it has a lot of text language options and voice Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English.) The game is developed by the Shanghai-based studio Mihoyo, who are a mobile game studio.

So, what is it, and why is it so impressive / unexpected?

It's an open world JRPG. It obviously owes something of a debt to Breath of the Wild (it was viewed as a "Breath of the Wild clone" when it first started getting noticed) but it is not truly an attempt to "clone" that game at all, and since it's a gacha-based F2P game but also a single-player action RPG, it liberally takes influence from a variety of games. It's extremely anime-inflected in terms of character designs and storytelling (think stuff like Dragalia Lost, Granblue Fantasy, Tales Of) and the core combat gameplay is action-RPG with lots of elemental weaknesses and a party system where you can switch between different characters on the fly (also, what's the point of a gacha without multiple characters?) It's also a lot of fun and very robust action gameplay in a very well-realized world. Great character and enemy animations, beautiful towns and vistas, SO MUCH TO DO.

The game is fully just an open world RPG, completely realized and high-quality, you can play on a PS4 or even a phone **for free**. If anything, it runs better on an iPad pro than on a non-pro PS4. But on all platforms it's really playable.

It is an F2P game so it has a lot of the usual hooks and systems of F2P mobile games (gacha, dailies, multiple currencies, quests to cash in for rewards that are just more currencies you need to manage for various different reasons, ad infinitum. In particular the weapons upgrading system feels very "mobile game" rather than like console JRPGs.) But you really can play it just like a "regular" single-player game without worrying about the majority of this, at least early on (it came out the day before yesterday, and I am mobile game conversant, so it's hard for me to say either what it'll be like in the long run OR what it would be like not understanding these systems.) The fact that you can "just play it", though, is so important. (For example, though it's got a character gacha, you get enough characters that are good enough just playing the single player story you don't really need to worry about this.)

But I'm kind of getting into the weeds here, so, let me make what is remarkable clear: This is a **free**, high-quality console JRPG in feel and execution. It looks like a $60 game and is of the quality that if it had been a premium game, it would not be shocking at all. In pure point of fact, it looks and plays better than a lot of the current crop of $60 console JRPGs. I would easily have bought this and I will tell you that personally I like it a hell of a lot more than I liked FF7R (which I did not like very much, frankly! YMMV there.)

I am happily playing this and it makes me wonder if I would really spend $60 on a new Tales Of game again. I feel like Level-5 must be shitting its pants.

Yes, I honestly feel like this game could change the industry fundamentally. I do not think that Western console dudes who buy in to the idea that spending $500 on a PS5 is worth their money and who are going to buy and play FF16 because that's what you do, will have their minds changed by this game. But I feel like a lot of people on the margins (from mobile gamers to people who just want to play a fun RPG, kids who grew up with anime and don't see it as "weird", whatever all else!) will give this game a try, particularly as it picks up steam and hype on social media. I mean, what's actually stopping you? That is the whole idea!

And there's no real reason the studio couldn't turn its attentions to developing a game in a style that appeals more fully to Western console gamers and potentially eat some of Ubisoft's lunch (that, of course, is easier said than done, and I have no idea how long this game was in development or how much it cost to develop, of course.)

So, yeah, I am less thinking this is going to "kill" anything, but it does seem like a game changer, and I do wonder what things are going to look like in five years.

I may check this out…

Edit: Nah, I'm good

I wonder how it will monetize - I guess quite well if so many people are already talking about it (like you, I‘m surprised to see so many people discussing it). I’ll give it a go myself on PS4!

I saw that it had released, checked Amazon to see if it was a full price release, couldn't find it and figured it was digital only, and then was very pleasantly surprised/intrigued to find it was F2P.

I agree it looks pretty indistinguishable from most of the higher-end JRPG style stuff out there right now. What a strange thing, looking forward to checking it out.

The game is fun, well executed and polished (for the most part, in PS4 runs BAD) but I honestly wish they would have disguised better the Breath of the Wild ripoff. This is a heist in the shape of a videogame.

Worst part is, once you start getting into its systems and flow feels different enough, but that art direction, all the basic enemies, the gliding mechanic, it's too much. They took it a bit too far in my opinion.

Feels like a true effort to bring an AAA single player (mostly) and the f2p model together in a package that I admit it is compelling, and I'm interested to see how it performs.

I‘ve been extremely impressed by this game so far. I’ve been playing it on my iPhone and it‘s the first mobile game that’s held my attention for longer than a couple of minutes at a time. It‘s certainly borrowing a lot from Breath of the Wild, but man there’s enough interesting stuff here that they‘ve layered on top that I’m not too mad about it. There‘s a really fun and dynamic combat system to it, a ton of side content to wander around in, and one of the things that I’m really appreciating about it is the way that they've sort of diversified the rewards to the little chore-like tasks you do.

I actually found the Korok seeds and shrines in BOTW to be a gratifying little reward for wandering up a mountain or solving a little puzzle or whatever, but in certain cases the amount of effort required made it feel anticlimactic. In this, you might wander around and find a little will-o-wisp that leads you to a treasure chest, and then off in the distance you'll see some enemies or another little setpiece. Maybe you'll inspect a flower and it'll shoot off balloons you can pick off with an arrow. Maybe you'll have to figure out how to get up high enough to catch something floating in the air or whatever. They use a lot of these little tidbits of handcrafted content to sort of gently guide you into new NPCs or sidequests or hidden materials, which is some really fantastic game design imo.

It's also, like, absurdly generous. I mean, legitimately, there is so much content here that they're not charging anything for that I'm genuinely wondering if they're going to sell enough IAPs to get by. So far I've probably put like 10 hours into it or so and I'm about adventure level 13. I have gotten too distracted by the open world and side stuff to even return to the main story. This is honestly less egregious of a microtransaction-monetized game than a lot of the stuff that Ubisoft puts out. It's also just flat out a better game!

I am very interested to see if they have to make the monetization scummier, because right now it flat out feels like I'm getting a $60 game for free. There just don't seem to be any compromises made and if it does succeed I think the implications for the industry are going to be really interesting and potentially very exciting. I mean, it's already very exciting to see a game of this quality come out of China.

Just to say, you could look at a flower and then shoot at balloons in breath of the wild as well.

It also takes some inspiration from Nier, it would seem.

I've been playing a bit of the PS4 version and idk the game feels EXTREMELY mushy and terrible to play. Like every button press takes just long enough to respond to make it miserable. I am really impressed with the sheer amount of work the artists on the game have done tho.

Genshin Impact is the best game to watch the guy next to you on the train play on his gigantic smartphone of 2020.

I remember trains ;_;



Train, train, take us away. Take us away… far away. To the future we will go: where It leads, no one knows.

Hard disagree on the combat feeling bad. I really enjoy combat in this game, and I think the elemental system is really smart – basically, elements interact so you create reactions by mixing then up to kill enemies faster. This can be with your elemental attacks combining with the enemy‘s element, an environmental element (e.g. rain) or by switching between party members to load in multiple elements. If you touch off a special and switch characters, the special keeps going when the new character appears. The whole point of this is to switch and really take advantage of this. Plus there’s several weapon types (sword, claymore, bow, spear, magic) which are well differentiated and all feel great IMO! I‘m super impressed by how good the system is from both a design and fun perspective. And you can’t accuse it of being a rip-off of anything.

Personally I think it was a tactical error to make the game have obvious references to BOTW because not only does it make it look derivative, but I think it gives the wrong impression of the game. It's more of a peer to Xenoblade and FF7R and towards those games it compares EXTREMELY favorably IMO! Not to say you can't compare it to BOTW, but that game isn't IMO an RPG, and this game has great RPG mechanics, JRPG storytelling (hidebound but quite relaxing and fun genre stuff that I'm enjoying, it doesn't outstay its welcome imo) and overall a lot to do. Too much to do.

The second region in the game (took me 20-30h to get there I'd estimate) has a look and feel all its own, as well. Never seen anything quite like it in a console game I've played. It's fantasy
China, and after years and years of seeing Japanese devs tackle that material, it's so nice to see actual Chinese devs approach, and it's truly lovely.

Been playing every day and enjoying myself immensely.

@billy#7170 I was wondering why that style felt so familiar!

this game is great. I kind of like how shameless it is in plagiarism because the stuff it’s ripping off is great.

I wish I could turn off Paimon.

Man, I downloaded this game on my phone but haven't played it yet. It feels like this is the new IT game.

I checked it out for a couple of hours and was not into it. Too floaty and not enough depth which is not good for a game that‘s only about combat. Kinda surprised how many people are comparing it to BOTW since it not like it at all aside from the cell-shading, open world, and a stamina meter. It’s more a akin to a Sword Art Online game. Seems fine if you're into chasing numbers I guess. Free is *free

*wonder how many people will drop when they hit the level caps with the base people and can't gotcha new ones

well that‘s more money than I’ve got, tell you what.

I played for a while last year. Beautiful environments, good music, and it's fun to glide around.

Unfortunately the free to play catches up to ya. Initially you can explore and do story quests at your leisure but eventually you hit a wall where you're left with repetitive daily quests and farming enemies.

I bet this team could've made a great full priced game but then they wouldn't have made those billions.

@copySave#6954 these comments . . . grim