By Michael "Magic Mike" Dumee on October 2, 2020
An open world, cooperative MMO, crafted beautifully in a very cool anime style? Man, where do I sign up?! I don't have to? Free to Play?! Awesome! Let's get cracking!
From September 28, we can enter the great world of a Free-to-Play game called Genshin Impact. I also started playing it and I must confess I'm totally hooked! Let me tell you why. Now, I have to tell you upfront that there is so much to do, to unlock and to upgrade, I would need to write a very, very, VERY long review to cover all of it, so I will limit myself to the very cool and, in my humble opinion, outstanding stuff this game has to offer!
Genshin Impact tells the story of a twin brother and sister, who also happen te be world travelers, and by that I mean they literally travel from world to world. But for some reason their path got blocked and soon you will see why. An evil goddess appears and she immediately starts to fight the twins. During this amazing intro you will have to select one of the twins (male or female) as your character and give him or her a name. This automatically means that the other one will be taken by the evil god. Wait, what? I didn't know that picking one of them would mean that I sacrificed the other one? And to make things worse, you lose all your powers! So no more travelling from world to world. You're stuck on this one.
But what a world to get stuck in! It's an amazing colorful world fully anime inspired. After your run in with the evil goddess, you meet a floating girl called Paimon, and together with her you will you're your way to the statue of Seven. There are a few of these statues scattered across the land to show the Seven's protection over the world. These will be pretty important later on, in order to get your hands on some awesome abilities, but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Another thing that is important to know about this world is that the world level will increase along with your adventure rank, posing an ever increasing challenge but also offering you more bountiful treasures from your adventures. Naturally the opponent you'll encounter will also grow stronger as you go along, but stronger opponents means bigger rewards, so it stays nicely balanced, even on later levels.
You'll meet a veritable host of character during your journey and many of them can join your party. Every character will have their own arsenal of fancy weapons, attributes, artifacts, constellation, talents and profile, all of which is fully upgradable of course! And the fun doesn't stop there. All characters will have some sort of elemental ability and by switching characters you can combine those elements. So for example, one character has the fire element and the other character has the wind element. First use the fire spell to create a big fire in front of you. Then quickly change to the character with a wind spell and you create a fire tornado! How awesome is that?
Your map is your best friend here. It will show you all available missions for you to take. Mondstadt is your base town, with shops and everything else you need to prepare yourself for the next quest. It's always recommended to get some rest in Mondstadt after an intense round of combat. To make this easier, always make sure to keep an eye out for the teleport stones and activate them. This makes fast travel possible and with a game world such as big as this one, you can imagine that this is going to be a real time saver.
Hmm, what else? Oh yes, for those among you with culinary tendencies; you can also cook! During your journeys you'll find all kinds of ingredients and you can use them to create dishes. Yes, this sounds much like Zelda Breath of the Wild, but it has its own merits. I'm super happy that I get more recipes to start with and I don't need to guess new ones by randomly throwing ingredients together and praying for a positive outcome. And instead of watching the same animation every time you cook something, I now get to play a nice mini-game instead. By pushing the correct button at the right time, my dish might be good, success or perfect! And after a couple of times this mini game becomes optional and I can auto cook. Now, I don't know about you, but I sure as hell like that!
Genshin Impact is available on PC, PS4, iOS and Android and yes my dear readers, you can join forces online with friends or other players cross platform. And if you play on PC and/or mobile, your save game is also cross play. The only exception is PS4. If you choose this platform, cross play is not an option. If you aching to play the online coop mode, please keep in mind that this option only becomes available after reaching level 16, so make sure you do some adventuring on your first!
I'm amazed by how big this game is, especially considering that it's free to play. It also runs very smoothly and is truly fun to play. Apart from the story and side missions, Genshin Impact also features daily and weekly missions for you to complete. And I know what you're thinking, this free to play formula is too often too god to be true. Yes, of course there is the possibility to make in-game purchases, but I played already for approximately fifty-five hours now and I didn't feel the urge to spend real money. In other words, the game doesn't pressure you into spending money and I really don't feel like I missed out on something. You don't need to throw cash around in order for you to get the better characters or something. You're also not battling other players, so there's also nothing to win on that end which would necessitate you buying strong equipment.
Things that might give you an edge in the game are called Wishes, which work as a kind of a lootbox system, but don't let the "L" word scare you off! Wishes can be bought with both real money and in-game currency. As you play through the story and side missions, you'll earn more than enough of the latter of the two, so there's no need to plunder you real life bank account. You see, playing through the story, completing side missions and defeating level bosses will earn you Prismogems. These precious gems function as the main currency in the game. Opening wishes will earn you Stardust which is another form of in-game currency and can only be used at a place called Paimon's Bargains. As you "buy" these Wishes, don't get too excited and open them right away. Why, you ask? Well, if you open ten of them at a time, you are sure to get your hands on a 4-star character or weapon, which is the awesome kind!
Again, I'm blown away by this awesome free to play title that offers me so much possibilities and activities in such a good working game. The characters and missions are cool and the game features a truly huge and beautiful world to explore. For me, Genshin Impact is surely a case of: How the hell is this game for free?
September 28, 2020