Games that provide a sense of freedom while still giving you a reason to exist in an open-world are few and far between nowadays. Well, it seems developer MiHoYo is choosing to address this concern with their newest game Genshin Impact. After going hands-on with the closed-beta, it’s clear that they are trying to create something truly magical, and getting the community involved in the process will only make this game grander than it already is.
During Genshin Impact, players are on a mission to help their sibling as the game opens up in a heated battle. This is where players can choose either the brother or sister. After the choice is made, players meet the guide for this adventure, Piamon, a flying fairy creature who loves to talk in the first person.
As you progress through a short tutorial, you learn the basics and meet a few of the other party members in the town of Mondstadt. It’s learned that a mighty dragon named Stormterror is threatening the region and so you join the knights guild in hopes of putting a stop to it. These actions lead you to take on a few trial dungeons before being allowed to make your own adventures in the world.
The closed beta gives players a good taste of how the story missions will incorporate exploration, but some of the best moments of gameplay were unscripted. After getting a few characters in my party, I was able to mess around with their elemental abilities by combining them to cause extra damage to enemies.
Freezing a wet enemy and then electrocuting it is just one of the many elemental attacks available to the player. Messing around in the closed beta and journeying off the beaten path always revealed something new to me, and if it didn’t, there was still a beautiful view to behold. It’s these small victories that made my time with closed beta worth it. Another aspect of the game is equipping and upgrading weapons. Throughout exploration players can find materials and new weapons, these can then be used to upgrade character loadouts and increase the level of more powerful weapons.
The characters each have an English voice-over, which is really good. Each character has an expressive personality, but I didn’t get to know too much about them in the demo. By the looks of how things are going, characters will have their own side-quests, which give more insight into who they are and their backstory. However, the lipsync was widely off most of the time. Furthermore, I didn’t like how I would be controlling one of the characters and then have to take to myself. It just came off as weird sometimes, and I hope they figure out a way to address this as it hurts the immersion.
During the dialogue, players can make choices. However, some options didn’t feel like it weighted the conversation outside of a general response from the character. I would have let this slide for the NPCs, but in the main story, I would have like a conversation branch to actually be affected by some of the more important choices that I made, and then maybe even have the story remind me that this happened because of a decision that I made.
One look at Genshin Impact, and you can’t help but get absolutely lost in its world. Sometimes it’s challenging to get from point A to point B because of how much there is to do in between. The world is there for you to explore and every battle leads to a reward that can only improve your skills in combat.
Shops line the towns offering players a chance to improve weapons and armor, along with additional equipable items. However, one thing caught me off guard, and that is the Wish system, which uses items to draw characters and weapons. I’m not sure if these Wishes can be purchased using real money or if they can only be obtained through gameplay. It’s very much a gacha system with the game.
Genshin Impact has all the making for a grand adventure RPG, and I’m eager to learn more about these characters and how we go about rescuing our sibling. It seems the world is in a state of parallel, and learning more about that world is on the top of my list of things to do. First, however, I think I’ll allow myself to be distracted to get a taste of all the secrets that lie away from the quest marker.
Genshin Impact is coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2020.
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