It will soon mark two whole years since I started playing Genshin Impact. With the release of Version 3.0, Genshin Impact received its third major expansion, adding the fourth region, Sumeru. Now, fast-forward to today, and we’re now on Version 3.2, where the Archon Quest has concluded.
And as someone who experienced the majority of the content that the game has to offer, I loved Sumeru. Dare I say, it’s one of the best region expansions to ever hit Genshin Impact, surpassing even the likes of Inazuma, Mondstadt, and Liyue combined. And here are just five reasons why that is the case.
Before you proceed any further, however, the last reason will contain light spoilers/references to the ending of the Archon Quest’s Chapter III. Reader’s discretion is advised.
1. A Lot to Explore & Do
Exploring Sumeru is a great experience, hands-down. Want to climb a mountain? Well, you have the Four-Leaf Clover Sigils, which, by holding L1 + Square (on PlayStation commands), you’ll be swooped in to the sigil location seamlessly and effortlessly. And there’s no shortage of the things, as they’re scattered everywhere across the region. Further, you also have stamina flowers which are also strategically placed to help you cover more extensive distances without using Food Items.
The sheer amount of places to explore is far too many to count. You have the rainforest’s dozens of forests, King Deshret’s temples scattered across the desert, and a whole new “dream world” to explore with the mushroom-race Aranaras. Not only that, but each and every part had its own mechanic, adding to the overall uniqueness of Sumeru.
2. Goodbye, Time Gates! (Well, Mostly)
One of the most annoying points in the Inazuma expansion was how every quest was locked to a time gate. This meant that you would clear a certain part of it but would have to wait for the next day to continue. Oh, and I’m not talking about adjusting the clock via the Paimon Menu. That time game would only vanish after the servers reset at 4 AM. That made clearing quests a big chore since it was nigh impossible to clear in multiple bursts.
In Sumeru, however…goodbye, time gates! With the exception of two World Quests (which are relatively minor, if anything), you can pretty much speedrun the entirety of Sumeru in a day, provided you have the time and patience to do so. I will say this, however, from a casual player’s perspective, some quests will take you three days if you do them sparingly, but the point I want to arrive is: Regardless of how much time you can dedicate yourself to Genshin Impact, you’re no longer bound by the shackles of the gating that was so persistent in Inazuma.
3. A Nation More “Alive”
It’s tough to explain but bear with me. When traveling through the outskirts of Sumeru City, the depths of the rainforest, or even the desert, there are a lot of intricate and beautiful design details compared to the previous regions. From the dancing NPCs to the placements of the enemies…all of that culminated in what I can only describe as a nation that feels very much alive.
And that also extends to its soundtrack. During the Version 3.0 Special Program, it was mentioned that the composer of Genshin Impact has collaborated with the London Symphony Orchestra and folk musicians because Sumeru’s look and feel are firmly based on Middle Eastern and South Asian continents. Therefore, you clearly hear the traditional instruments such as the oud and the sitar. I personally love the majestic daytime track of Sumeru City, “Whirling of Leaves and Petals.”
4. The Element of Dendro Is Here, And it Changes Everything
With Sumeru, Genshin Impact finally got the final element of Dendro, thus completing the heptagon of elemental reactions (or maybe an octagon, if you count Physical DMG as a separate entity). Up until now, the best team (elemental-wise anyway) was one that took advantage of one of the three major reactions: Overloaded, Vaporize or Melt, with Dendro being often downplayed by players as an element that basically only served to burn, as the only reaction available at the time was Burning.
But ever since Dendro characters such as Tighnari, Collei, and even the Dendro-resonated version of the Traveler released, their kits introduced a whole slew of brand-new reactions such as Bloom, Burgeon, and Quicken, which buffs the Electro damage output so greatly. Yes, the so-called “Electro buff” many players have been clamoring for almost a year is now officially a thing thanks to Dendro, which changed the composition landscape for good.
Even using a severely underleveled team, I cleared some end-game content with just the Dendro reactions. Furthermore, characters that were once abandoned (or “benched,” as the community calls it) got once again their spotlight, cementing the saying that “Dendro is in, and it’s here to stay.”
5. The Best Archon Quest Yet
The Inazuma Archon Quest was interesting. Nice, even. But its story and pacing were all over the place, and it felt hastily cobbled up together. Which sucks, as Inazuma was based on Japan, and while I loved the representation, the cracks were noticeable, to the point I genuinely never remember it fully. But then again, because of how the pandemic was going strong in China and around the world at the time, it’s clear that such world events might’ve potentially delayed a lot of the process.
Thankfully, Sumeru’s Archon Quest throws the problems that Inazuma had out of the window. From the absolutely amazing interactions between the characters and the plot twists, it was just a story that I couldn’t stop wondering what would happen next. It also felt way more interactive, with small cutscenes where the players had to present their thoughts and even quick time events, which was a first for Genshin Impact. Plus, Aether certainly spoke a lot during that ending. (Oh my god, am I really using this as a point?)
The fifth and final arc of the quest was just a tear-jerking finale that possibly made me cry a bit. The scariest part about it is how the ENTIRE game’s timeline was updated and changed to reflect it. You just don’t see this small attention to detail very often, and I’m thoroughly shocked that HoYoverse went to such lengths. You can watch the ending, “A Dream of Falling Branches,” below:
Sumeru managed not only to bring a breath of fresh air, but the story simply made me more immersed than I ever was in recent memory. I cannot wait to see what we’ll get going forward when the new Intermission quest comes, followed by our visit to the nation of Fontaine, which I imagine will be coming way later in 2023. So if you are currently on a hiatus from the game after Inazuma (I can’t blame you for it, I myself had to take one as well), then do play Sumeru because I’m sure you will not regret playing through it.
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