Genshin Impact Review – Direct Hit

When you hear the words "free-to-play," you probably think of very specific kinds of games: mobile time-killers, first-person shooters with loot boxes, MMORPGs. However, a story-driven, open-world action-RPG in a similar vein to Zelda: Breath...

Genshin Impact Review – Direct Hit

When you hear the words "free-to-play," you probably think of very specific kinds of games: mobile time-killers, first-person shooters with loot boxes, MMORPGs. However, a story-driven, open-world action-RPG in a similar vein to Zelda: Breath of the Wild is probably not what springs to mind. But that's exactly what Genshin Impact aims to be. It delivers a large, lore-filled, graphically lush world with nuanced combat, character-building, exploration mechanics, and co-op crossplay across multiple platforms at the most appealing price point possible--free! And while it succeeds admirably for the most part, it stumbles in a few key ways that remind you that there's no such thing as a fully free-to-play game.

Genshin Impact makes a great first impression. The anime-inspired visuals are inviting and colorful, and the fully voiced, nicely choreographed cutscenes give the game the feel of a premium product. It also gets you going with the gameplay very quickly; thanks to solid control design, you'll be running, swimming, climbing, dodging, gliding, fighting slimes, and slinging spells just a few minutes after the intro cutscenes wrap up. And once your first additional party member officially joins your posse, things start to get very interesting, as you'll start to learn the ins and outs of the elemental interactions that make Genshin Impact unique.

Each character in Genshin Impact has one of seven elemental properties tied to them, which greatly affects what they can do for combat and exploration. While systems of strong and weak elements are extremely common in games, Genshin Impact takes things a step further, introducing unique and interesting ways for multiple elements to interact with objects and enemies. It starts with simple interactions: an object aligned with Dendro (nature) like a wood shield or structure burns with damaging flames when exposed to Pyro attacks, while pools of water can be frozen with Cryo element skills or used as a conduit for causing Electro damage in an area. Experimenting with other elemental combinations will yield more interesting results; setting an enemy on fire and following up with an Electro attack overloads them with energy and causes area damage, while using a windstorm can blow another source of elemental damage like Pyro or Hydro elsewhere while augmenting its strength.

Continue Reading at GameSpot