Genshin Impact is perhaps the biggest gacha game there is. Indeed, it continues to define a genre with its frequent updates, new characters, and absorbing gameplay. In this Genshin Impact Review, we are going to help you decide if this is the game for you. We will look at how Genshin Impact is monetized, if the story is interesting, and whether or not the characters offer sufficient depth.
As a preface, I have been playing Genshin Impact since the very tail end of patch 1.1. I’ve been fairly active throughout each patch. I’ve also experienced the game as free-to-play at some points, as well as at times able to ‘whale’ a bit.
Is Genshin Impact Pay to Win?
One might think starting with Genshin’s monetization would be an odd spot to start a review. However, during my time at University, my game design mentors always said the same thing. One of the first things game developers must consider in design is how their game must be monetized.
With that in mind, the simple method of monetization in Genshin Impact is incentivizing players to indulge in Gacha. Gacha, for the unaware, is a blanket term in mostly mobile games where a game has resources you need to ‘pull’ for which mostly involves spending real money. This is a common monetization system for games that are free-to-play.
Limited Character Gacha Banner
For those not familiar, the Limited Character Gacha Banner features a special Character that is only available during the event. In many games of this genre, it can become hugely expensive when taking part in these types of events.
However, Genshin Impact’s gacha system for the limited character banner specifically is actually quite good. There are many games that have a gacha system that is completely luck based. As well as a pity system set at astronomical numbers.
Genshin Impact’s pity system goes to a maximum of 90 pulls for a guaranteed 5-star character. Initially, there is a 50/50 chance that the character will be the limited event 5-star. However, if one ‘loses the 50/50’ the next 5-star is guaranteed to be the limited character.
Even if the limited banner character is not to your liking, there are benefits to pulling on it. You are guaranteed a 4-star character or weapon at least every 10 pulls. So if a 4-star character like Bennett is there, it is worth pulling on the banner for him. As our regular readers may know, we, perhaps somewhat controversially, consider Bennett C6 to be a fantastic Genshin Impact character.
The limited character Gacha also has a lovely carry-over system for its banners. Say you pull on the current Yoimiya banner and have yet to hit the 90 pulls. However much you have pulled on her banner will be carried over to whatever the next limited banner will be.
Overall, I give the limited character banner high praise, the limited characters are always fascinating additions to the game. The banner’s pity system, especially in carry-over, is great for incentivizing pulling on the banner every patch.
Limited Weapon Banner
Slightly different from the above, this event sees players pulling the gacha mechanic for a weapon instead of a character. Unfortunately, the Limited Weapon banner for Genshin Impact is absolutely terrible as a system. There are similarities to the character banner, but unfortunately not enough.
There are always two premium 5-star weapons that could be pulled. When the banner starts, you can choose to go down a certain path to pull one of the two specifically. However, this means that at the very worst, after 270 pulls you are 100% guaranteed the weapon you actually want.
The added downside to this is the 5-star weapon you pull isn’t guaranteed to be one of the two weapons featured. While similar to how the Limited Character banner works, it’s a terrible moment when you pull a crummy weapon after so many attempts.
So unless you meet certain conditions, I’d recommend never pulling on the weapon banner. The exceptions are if both 5-star weapons or the 4-star weapons are good, or if you need a weapon for a specific character.
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Lastly, the standard banner features five indefinite 5-star characters, as well as a roster of 5-star weapons. This is also the only place to get constellations for the free-to-play Genshin Impact Characters such as Kaeya, Amber, and Lisa.
The standard banner follows the same pity system as the Limited Character Banner. 90 pulls max for a 5-star character or weapon, whilst a 4-star is guaranteed every 10 pulls. Of course, since the banner is always there, the pity number will always be remembered.
On the downside, while all the 5-star characters here are useable, only two of them are considered sought after, Jean and Mona. Diluc and Keqing are fine Genshin Impact DPS Characters but are outclassed, and Qiqi is alright as a Genshin Impact Support Character but not as good as certain 4-stars.
As for the weapons, they are the main reason to pull on the standard banner. Each of the five-star weapons on the standard banner are still regarded as incredibly good. It contains the best slot weapons for characters such as Bennet, Hu Tao, Xiao, Zhongli, Ganyu, and many more.
In the grand scheme of things, the gacha banners are nice incentives for players to spend money. I’d rank the Limited Character Banners as the best-designed choice, the Standard Banner as fair, and the Weapon Banner as in need of improvement
Genshin Impact Story and Characters Review
I am a huge fan of narrative in games, something to whisk the imagination or engross one in the involvement of the characters. Genshin Impact ticks many of these boxes, providing a roster of lovable characters that you, the traveler, explore the world with.
Genshin Impact Storyline Review
Not to get into spoilers, but there is absolutely a lot of thought that is being put into this story. The developers are playing a game of 3d chess, knowing how the story unfolds much into the future. I can tell from how much lore is teased through character stories, obtainable books, and teaser trailers how much is waiting for us.
Indeed, there is always an event that is relative to the story, and even if a player enters the game later, their play experience is dynamically different from all the events they’ve taken part in. Plus there are even hangout quests in place to further explore different characters not featured in the main story.
I would say one flaw in the Genshin Impact Story is the usage of the Sanganomiya resistance during the Inazuma archon quest. Kokomi and Gorou were teased as being proficient leaders and generals in the resistance, but the story never allowed them to show what they were capable of. This is probably the result of multiple drafts of what the exact story details would be, with the resistance left at the wayside.
Genshin Impact Characters Review
Going back to the characters, there are so many of them and yet it doesn’t feel like it from how often they pop into the story or are referenced. Any given patch focuses on a handful of characters, but there will be subtle references to what others are doing, and further fleshing out of their backstories.
A prime example of this is the current event with Diluc, Hidden Strife. In it, we the traveler are asked to organize some letters, and reading through them are given more subtle insight into other characters. Albedo, Jean, Kaeya, and even Captain Varka and Alice are all further fleshed out through these letters.
For me as a player, the reason I keep coming back to Genshin Impact, where other games lose me, is my investment in the story. I see how invested the developers are in sharing their tales, and I look forward to the ride.
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Genshin Impact Exploration and Combat Review
At its core, Genshin Impact mechanically is a game about exploring the open world of Teyvat and fighting against enemies to prove your prowess. Both of these are almost extensions of the importance of the storyline making one want to explore, and the characters making one want to fight.
Genshin Impact Exploration Review
Exploring the world of Teyvat in Genshin Impact is a fascinating endeavor. The different regions each come with their own challenges, mountains to climb, seas to sail, and many an obstacle in between. The completionists of the world will find satisfaction in trying to find every detail.
As one opens chests in Teyvat, their exploration percentage for certain areas will increase and eventually reach 100%. However, even once this is reached there is still further to find, books with hidden lore, and small islands far out at sea.
The stamina system is a fantastic one, of course, one can’t infinitely climb or swim, but there are other ways to speed up your travel. One of my favorite things to do in the open world is to climb to the tallest point on Dragonspine and use Xiao to glide all the way into Mondstadt.
Genshin Impact Combat Review
The combat is both absolutely fascinating, but also slightly disappointing for upkeep reasons. Each character has its role and usability, allowing a fun fighting experience for all.
The pros, you can fairly easily fight the overworld monsters, and defeat the various bosses within the game playing as any character you have. The adventure rank system will keep you capped to certain power levels, stopping you from getting to higher levels before you are ready.
The cons though, as fun as the characters are to use, building them is another story. Sure, putting any artifact on them with any weapon will suffice. However, a character at its best requires one to either whale for weapons and constellations on the gacha banners, or to farm artifacts which takes many hours of gameplay.
For me, Genshin Impact Combat is at its best when the player is able to take their time, fight monsters in the overworld, and level up their characters. Rather than focusing solely on building characters for big numbers in Spiral Abyss.
Final Words about Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact for the most part is a lovely game. There are some gripes in regards to intensive farming for artifacts, and perhaps the company could do more by rewarding players.
For what it is though, Genshin Impact is a game for many types of players. Free-to-play players that love exploration and lore, the big spenders that build and show off their units, and everyone in between. It is never too late to get into Genshin Impact, as for any one player, their journey, and their adventure will be worth it all the while. Overall, we give it a solid 4 stars out of 5.
As Zhongli likes to say, “Every journey has its Final Day. Don’t rush.” If you relax and enjoy the ride of Genshin Impact, you’ll have quite a good bit of fun.
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