Thoughts on Genshin Impact

This post is part of Agora Road's May 2024 Travelogue.

Screenshot from Teyvat Chapter Interlude Teaser: A Winter Night's Lazzo (Genshin Impact trailer)

I first heard about Genshin Impact before it released. It was due to this video by NintendoBlackCrisis. Back then the game was known as a "Breath of the Wild clone" game. I recall seeing some dude even smashed his PlayStation 4 to pieces in "protest" against this game. That was certainly a sight to behold.

Screenshot from of Mondstatd from Genshin Impact

This going to sound weird, but what attracted me the most to Genshin Impact was the fact it did fear being generic. The starting city, Mondstadt is probably the most "medieval RPG" a city can possibly get. I guess it stood out from every other game being too unique. It felt like the devs and I were on the same wavelength when it came to style.

Screenshot from of the gacha interface of Genshin Impact

The game is most infamous for its gacha system. This was already a hot topic before the game even came out (something that turned lots of people off). For me, that part was not the most concerning. What got to me however, was the insane amount of grind the game was designed to have. I was flabbergasted when I read you needed to be level 40 to unlock the multiplayer function of the game. Despite being a RuneScape 3 player at the time, this rubbed me the wrong way.

Screenshot of the Angel's Share tavern from Genshin Impact

On release day, I decided to try the game. I initially wanted to try it on my Nintendo Switch, but I couldn't find it the Nintendo eShop, so I ended up downloading it on my PC. The first thing I saw in the game was that the opening cutscene was lagging hard -likely due me having an ancient computer by modern standards. The rest of the game was surprisingly very playable.

After completing the introduction, I mostly just explored the game world. The game felt nice to play, but I knew it would not be my cup of tea for the long term. The last thing I wanted was to become addicted to this game like what happened with RuneScape 3. As such, I only briefly played the game.

Screenshot from the Tartaglia boss fight in Genshin Impact

Although I was not playing the game anymore, I still watched the game on Youtube. I was specifically watching bwaap going through the story.

I still remember the exact moment where Genshin Impact started to live rent-free in my mind. It was me witnessing the boss fight against Tartaglia. It felt so epic to watch, not to mention that the OST was an absolute banger. What surprised me the most is how fast the game got to this point. The boss fight was released in the game's first update. It was at this very moment that Genshin Impact overshadowed RuneScape 3 in terms of greatness in my mind.

From now on, I treated the game as an anime. I was absolutely captivated by the story and I am still is to this day.

Screenshot of Dottore's introduction from Genshin Impact

Although what attracted me to the game was the generic map design, when you take a closer look to the game you start to see that the game is anything but generic.

The most obvious facet of this is with the characters. Aside from random NPCs, every character is designed with an intricate amount of details derived from various sources such as IRL myths, legends, art etc. People often say that modern games are "soulless" but Genshin Impact is probably the game with the most "soul" I ever encountered.

Although the first three nations (Mondstatd, Liyue and Inazuma) can be argued to be generic, Sumeru and Fontaine are unlike any video game map I have seen before. This strangely does not put me off despite the game being my ideal "bog-standard fantasy".

Screenshot of a cutscene in Arlecchino's story quest from Genshin Impact

I know lots of people have problems with the game. Considering I am simply a spectator, I do not have the authority to comment on the microtransactions or the game mechanics. All I will tell you is that this game is great art. Nowadays few things hype me up anymore. That being said, I am always awaiting a new Genshin Impact version for the great quests it brings. It truly feels like a shining beacon in a sea of darkness.

That being said, I won't be playing this game in an official capacity anytime soon as I have no desire to become one of those people who proudly proclaim how much money they spent to acquire an anime girl. If you are interested in the game, I strongly recommend to just passively observe the game like I do. After all, there is no downside in watching a bunch of Youtube videos.

Written by manpaint on 04 May 2024.