After spending ¾ hours in it, having gone past the obvious tutorials and tutorialized parts of the game, i’m ready to put down some impressions on the latest game/live service by the developers of Honkai 3rd Impact.
Just wished i did some research first, because while this game is also available on PC and smartphones (and it’s also coming to Switch soon enough), the PS4 version doesn’t support cross-platform play, it just ties the game’s progress to your PSN account.
So even if you did already have a miHoyo’s account, it doesn’t matter.
Also, as you’ve probably heard, the game is a bit clunky on a base/vanilla PS4, the performance is spotty, with fairly obvious pop-in and some jerky framerate in some instances. It’s ok, but far from ideal. Seen plenty worse in games that aren’t even constantly connected to the internet.
Everyone’s quick summary of Genshin Impact is “anime Breath of The Wild”…. and i can’t deny, the game makes it quite clear right away by introducing climbing, a similarly balanced stamina meter, a glider, the way the game introduces the world, the temple and “radio tower” equivalent emitting a beam of light to stand out more while looking in the distance…. It’s pretty clear they wanted to make it as similar as possible, and it’s not a bad example to emulate, at all, quite the opposite.
Combat and the various progression systems are different, more hack n slashy or action rpg, with focus on short melee combos and elemental spells, and especially a big focus on elemental effects and reactions. Like how rain makes everything “wet” so it’s prime to be hit with lightning magic, which can make enemies charged with electricity, which spreads between other “thunder charged” enemies and of course spreads to water bacins.. This is also tied to enemies and objects belonging to an element or similar category, so by logic wood reacts to fire by burning. Even if you don’t use the greek terms (“Dendro” and “Pyro”) to refer to these.
Temples are less condensed puzzle or exploration challenges revolving around the use of special tools (since there are no Sheika tools equivalents) and more typical dungeon strolling, with some objects to interact (often calling into play the elemental reactions), some platforming, combat with often some timed combat challenges.
Story is typical anime bungum, as in you are one of two twin protagonists (you choose one at the beginning), who fought with a “darkness lady” in the prologue for reasons, and got separated from the other while you were moving between worlds. So you’re stuck in this one, with a cutesy companion-child-angel-guide-that talks in third person called Paimon (which you rescued by literally fishing her out of the sea, one of the lesser used anime tropes) helping you explore.
The prologue keeps thing vague and you’re given exposition along in the first hours to let you familiarize with this world unknown. Pretty typical and useful since this is a free-to-play game, so it’s in its best interest to get you playing and fudging around in the world as soon as possible, while teaching you the basics, not that you would really need them if you’re already familiar with open world games (or games in general), but i honestly feel it’s better to have them tutorials anyway.
I’ll say this: it does explain the basics better than Breath of The Wild in some cases, like cooking is more clearly explained. And not having breakable weapons is a plus. I’m sorry, i don’t miss fighting with swords and maces made of wafers and paper maciè. And i enjoy climbing not being harder because of rain. Also, Genshin Impact gives you multiple playable characters… with a catch.
And you will be remembered of its ree-to-play status fairly soon, as you soon unlock the gacha, which is for weapons, items as well as playable characters. The rates are bad, i didn’t check them, but i don’t need to, it’s a gacha, it’s “i can’t believe it’s legally not gambling yet”, of course the odds are against you by design.
Another way you will be reminded of this being is that missions are locked until you reach an overall Adventure Level, which is increased by doing quests, discovering the Statues Of The Seven, waypoints, and overall by exploring the world and fudging around. Which is a good way to keep you invested in the experience, as – in this case – the world is fun to explore and run around in, i really enjoyed my time with it, but the ways you can increase the “Adventure Level/Rank” also work to that end, as you’ll find out that you can’t just rush through the content and eventually will have to wait for events or the next big story update.
My surprise to hear this has an english voice acting! A very typical anime dub, by design, but decent enough, quite nice to listen to. Even with Paimon’s dialogue. At least she doesn’t go full Mikasa clone from A Certain Magical Index. Good art design, even though you can somewhat tell it’s a non-japanese studio going for the anime style big time, and admittely it’s mostly well done, and it’s a lively, colorful game to look at.
I would like to say more, but i simply don’t have the time to also play this regularly for the next forever, and i don’t plan or expect to go back to this one with any kind of schedule . I will say that Genshin Impact, even if it’s a free-to-play live-service open world game with gacha and the usual hooks it imples… gameplay is good, quite good, a fun open world to explore, regardless.
It also being “nominally free” helps, and i’d recommend at least trying it out, it’s worth to at least do that. Even if you wanna look at it just as a “time investment”.