Genshin Impact Impressions
The game called Genshin Impact ( I don’t know what „Genshin“ means, however, using DEEPL for translation it seems to mean „Primal God“ or „Original God“) is a game like I‘ve never played before. This is because of 2 facts:
1. I haven’t played many RPGs within the recent years,
2. I have never played games which are usually labeled as „JRPG“ due to their look and play style.
The game is built like an MMORPG, but with single player only (unless you let other players into your „world“).
It behaves according to the „gaming as a service“-model (Wikipedia has an article on that model).
The game differs so much from any game I have played so far. First, there is no party visible on the screen, even although there is a party in existence throughout the game. The player has to quickly switch to each party member through fighting.
The party is assembled through the story. The player’s character is actually one of twins, who get separated by a mysterious god somewhere, someplace. During this separation, the player has to make a choice as to which of the twins to play - a female character or a male character.
The player’s character, named „The Traveler“, then gets stranded on a strange world, and wanders alongside a coast, unable to get into the main land due to high cliffs. He is joined by some kind of female putto with the name of Paimon, who has a strange headdress looking like a halo (which can be seen in the game’s logo as well).
Paimon is important, as she acts as some kind of proxy for the player’s character, as she is of both the only one who speaks within story dialogs. The player character’s responses within the stories and quests are text only. She also is the game’s mascot.
The Traveler is then within a world called Tayvat, which consists of a big continent and several huge islands. Each nation is ruled by its own god, and is influenced by the nature and element of this god. Each of these gods has an element associated with them, and each of all party members uses one of these elements.
These elements are: Pyro (=fire), Electro (=electric), Dendro (=flowers, life essence), Kryo (=frost), Hydro (=water), Anemo (=wind, air), Geo (=earth, stone).
The look of the game is simple and beautiful at the same time. It’s the same with the music. Everything is very colorful.
The fighting within the game follows the „easy to learn, but hard to master“-model. And master you must it, because the enemies become more and more dangerous through the journey within the lands. Which especially important as you have to quickly - very quickly, the more dangerous the enemies are - to switch through the various party members in order to exploit the elements interactions. For example: It is raining, and because of that, both enemies and the player character become wet. Which means: Is affected by the hydro element. What can you do? You can use the electro element for damage. Or, another example: The enemy prefers pyro. You can made him or her wet through the Kryo element, and because Kryo interacts with pyro, it results in a „melting“-state, which you can furthermore exploit with electro damage.
Another example of how elements interact is that characters can literally freeze to death in an environment which is too cold for them.
Extremely important is to make food. Food has several benefits: It replenishes health, but it can also give various bonuses (attack, defense). Overall crafting is a very important aspect of the game - just like in an MMO.
You can collect various ingredients for crafting everywhere. The land is ripe with it. You just have to find them. More special ingredients are harder to find.
The ingredients can be food or other crafting material. You’ll need it.
Levelling of the characters is done through applying various ingredients, like tomes. You level up weapons as well, and even artifacts.
But also the world levels up. This is done through „adventure XP“. With each level of „adventure experience“, the world’s enemies become a little bit stronger - or so I understood it - until a certain point is reached, at which the whole world levels up a bit. At least then all enemies become stronger, but they’ll also drop better items. Which you’ll need for further levelling...
There are also several kinds of currencies. These are used to upgrade monuments, buy items, and do other special things.
What are raids in MMOs are special enemies in Genshin Impact.
There are smaller instances of this, with less dangerous enemies, but with different kinds of challenges. These instances are called „spheres“.
You’ll need to have good hands, as there is quite a variety of challenges. There is not only fast switching through party members and fast movement through fights (everything is real-time !), but there is also jumping, floating, hitting targets with the character, and a few „quick time events“, like having to hit several pillars with an element within a few seconds.
Exploring is great. GREAT! You’ll find treasure chests - which you’ll need, because they contain levelling ingredients - everywhere. There is a spot where you thing no one would go there? Wrong - the developer has placed a chest there! You’ll also find a few NPCs in otherwise lonely places.
As within other games, the number of NPCs is rather small (almost poor), except within towns. But, they often have meaningful and interesting dialogs - and sometimes even quests and rewards! You can nudge dialogs into certain directions to get small rewards just by talking to them.
The world is vast. It’s vast. Did I say it is vast? You’ll definitively need weeks to go through everything. Unfortunately, enemies respawn in most places, but not everywhere for example enemies around chests. There is so much to discover! But you’ll run into more stronger enemies the more you leave the known and clearly visible paths behind.
I’m not at all through this game. And since this is a „gaming as a service“-model, the story might go on almost forever, like in an MMO.
The look of the figures (both NPCs and player characters) is more like found in a JRPG, as far as I can tell (I only know JRPGs from screenshots and a few videos). Not only are the figures much more colorful, but they also using different aesthetics than I’m used from Europe. Men can have long hair and braids as well, for example, and sometimes even wear small jewelry. Noses are practically non-existent, and mouths are small as well. Eyes and hair are much more prominent.
For me, it was extremely difficult to distinguish between female and male figures in the beginning.
About the areas: Currently there are 4 bigger regions available: The region of Mondstadt (meaning „Moon-town“), the region of Liuye, the region of Inazuma, and the region of Sumeru is planned.
There are hints about other regions as well, since there are 7 gods with each having their own region (and element), like Snezhnaya (home of the faction of the Fatui) with the Kryo element, or Fontaine.
Each region is inspired by Real World regions (such as the region of Mondstadt being inspired by continental European regions, most notably Germany and France and Belgium.
For further reading I recommend the Wikipedia article, and the website. You can find deep background lore information under menu point „Manga“ of the web site.
Note of importance:
Within the game, you’ll often see a tiny red round dot with an even tiny i- symbol (i= information) on things. These „things“ where it is on are often actually kinds of clickable buttons - even if they don’t look like „traditionally looking“ buttons.
This is important, as this tiny red dot almost always leads you towards important information! This means, that you should be aware of that.
The only exception to that are achievements and your data (my menu still has this dot to indicate that it would like to have my birthday, which I’m not planning to give the game, as it doesn’t need it at all).
Notes on micro-transactions:
They are not necessary - not at all. Just stay away from that. It is only used for optional things within the game.
The gambling part, the so-called „Gacha“, is done with a certain kind of currency. One form of this currency can be obtained within the game as in-game rewards. The other form of that currency is only available through Real Money. Both can distinguished from one another by both coloring of the currency’s symbol and by the description.
You can gamble on new party members - which are costly, because you’ll need to get each new party member onto the level of the others, so you should rather stay away from that - or on weapons - which is unnecessary as well, as you’ll get better items within the game, and the possibility to upgrade them / level them up, too !
The only Gacha that can be done without paying real money is the one with the currency you’ll get as in-game rewards.
Notes on the language:
I’m playing the game in German language. It is translated in a lot of languages by text, the voices, however, are often not translated.
There are no flukes or mistakes in that translation. I have not found anything bothering me.
The only point irritating me, however, is that some key words - and sometimes whole dialogs - are translated much differently into English voice vs. German text. Example: The English-language voices speak of a „vision“, whereas in the translated German-language text the word „Göttliches Auge“ is used, which means „Divine Eye“ [roughly translated by me] Members of a certain faction are called „Harbinger[s]“ in the voices, and in text as „[the] Eleven [Ones]“ (again, translation from German into English by me). Or, another example, the „Gacha“ is called a „Gebet“ in German, which means „prayer“.
In general, the English-language dialogs are often far more elaborate - both in wording details and in information. This does not mean, however, that anything is lost in translation. Only the detail of wording and of information differs. Except with a few key words, which I wish they had translated 1:1 from English into German language. The only other possible explanation would be / could be that the German translation was made directly from Chinese language (the game was developed by a Chinese developer) into German language. I don’t know.