A significant part of Genshin Impact\’s appeal is its characters. From their combat talents to their looks, fans have found plenty of reasons to claim favorites and care about them enough to put money towards making sure Hu Tao gets her Staff of Homa or Diluc finally comes home. But, more than purple hair or flashy combos, what really makes the Genshin characters stand out is the strength of their stories.
Genshin is well known for having much more to it than just a \’gacha\’ system, and part of what sets it apart is the depth of character writing in the game. Nowhere is this seen best than in the character quests, which often give both a closer look at specific characters and reveal more of the game\’s extensive lore. It\’s these quests and their writing that have led to characters like Xiao or Zhongli being cemented into players\’ hearts.
Raiden\’s quest has largely been overshadowed by the negative response to the overly-\’cutesy\’ shopping trip section, which has given what is a genuinely good character quest an undeserved bad reputation. While the shopping trip admittedly leans more into saccharine waifu-bait than a genuine effort at humanizing Ei, it is still related to the overall point of her story: becoming reacquainted and reinvested in the reality of modern-day Inazuma.
The rest of Raiden\’s quest gives a player a look at the state of Inazuma after the end of the Vision Hunt Decree, especially its shaky political situation. Ei\’s personal investment in the issue (rather than relying on a proxy) is a great continuation to her character arc, showing her actual commitment to the steps toward change she made at the end of the Archon quest. Despite this introduction to humanity (and what critics claim), Ei proves herself to be far from defanged by the end of the quest, showing that she can still live up to her fearsome reputation and enjoy a nice dessert once in a while.
Mondstadt is the first place players get to know in Genshin Impact and is, compared to the other nations, a relatively amicable city known for drinking and poetry. However, Eula\’s quest shows a different side of the City of Freedom, revealing the scars of \’old Mondstadt\’ that still remain. It\’s a much-needed layer of depth for what is sometimes called the most boring of the nations, bringing to attention the sprawling lore about Mondstadt\’s history that is tucked away in various books and item descriptions.
Similarly, the quest also adds depth to a character who can easily be read as just another \’cold aristocrat\’ archetype. While her vengeance schtick starts off cheesy and maybe even a little overbearing, the delight of Eula\’s quest is in finding out that she\’s doing it on purpose. Tired of being immediately treated like a villain by her peers despite being a Knight, Eula has instead chosen to lean into this expectation – both for her own amusement and to protect her feelings. While remaining poised and competent, it adds an unexpected side to Genshin\’s strongest claymore carrier.
While certainly showing off Yoimiya\’s dedication to the people of the city and her willingness to help even when it puts her in danger, Dreamlike Timelessness is unique in that the emotional heart of the quest has little to do with the playable character.
The real story of Yoimiya\’s quest is that of Keisuke and Sakujirou, two friends on either side of the Inazuma conflict. It\’s a classic scenario and done to great effect here, resulting in one of the most genuinely emotional scenes in Genshin. As one of the first quests of the Inazuma storyline, it lays the emotional groundwork for the rest of the story, investing the player in the plight of Inazuma and its people.
One of Genshin\’s newest 5-stars, Arataki Itto is a powerful Geo DPS, wielding a big sword and an even bigger personality. His exuberant charisma and chaotic, albeit well-meaning, antics quickly made him a fan favorite, and his character quest is a perfect slice of everything players have come to love about him. On top of championship bug fighting, briefly being an enemy of the state, gang fights, and saving lives, Itto\’s quest also manages to fit in some interesting lore about the Oni of Inazuma.
An important part of what makes Itto so endearing is the absolute standout performances by all of his voice actors. Particularly, voice actor Max Mittelman delivers one of the best performances of the English cast, his clear love, and understanding of the character truly bringing Itto\’s personality to life.
Xiao is an incredibly strong Anemo polearm DPS whose character quest often leaves players feeling guilty for ever bringing him into combat, regardless of his talents. The last of Liyue\’s Yaksha, Xiao\’s quest introduces players to another of the many, many tragedies of Liyue\’s past, providing more pieces to the puzzle surrounding the \’calamities\’ and disasters saturating Genshin\’s history.
One of the most resonant parts of Xiao\’s story is the emphasis on how, even though plenty of Adepti remain and there are ruins everywhere, much of their history has been forgotten by the people of Liyue. Although it is already clear from prior interactions with the Vigilant Yaksha that he has some emotional issues to work through, seeing the depth of his pain has fans desperate to feed him all the almond tofu he wants.
Not only is Hu Tao one of the most powerful Genshin characters in combat, but the director of the Wangsheng Funeral Parlor also has some of the best character writing in the game. Anchored by Hu Tao\’s delightful personality, her character quest is an intriguing look into how death and the afterlife works in the world of Genshin Impact.
The domain in her quest is true to Hu Tao\’s penchant for mischief and tricks, easily standing out due to its unique puzzles – with the time loop being one of the most memorable moments of the game. But aside from its challenges, the \’Border\’ is still incredibly hard to forget. Big G\’s final farewell is incredibly emotional and incredibly well written, successfully treading the line between tragedy and melodrama.
Yes, he\’s a Fatui Harbinger renowned for his unrelenting bloodlust and was semi-responsible for almost wiping out Liyue Harbor. Yes, his ambition in life is conquering the world and crushing the \’throne of the gods,\’ and his main hobby is defeating \’worthwhile\’ opponents. Yes, he is a talented liar and spy who expertly manipulates Traveler and then potentially tries to murder them with his Foul Legacy – resulting in one of the best boss fights of the game. However, despite all of this, Tartaglia\’s status as a villain remains debatable, and nowhere is this more clear than in his character quest.
Mighty Cyclops\’ Adventure stands out for showcasing the remarkably human side of Childe, peeling back his facade to reveal a deeply commited older brother who is willing to do anything for his family. Not only does it result in an extremely cool cut scene, but Childe\’s use of Foul Legacy to save his brother, despite the personal toll it takes on him, is an especially revealing character moment – proving that the Eleventh Harbinger has a much bigger heart than he lets on.
Initially introduced as flighty, mischievous, and whimsical, Venti\’s story quest reveals the hidden layers of the bard\’s personality. Should You Be Trapped In A Windless Land is largely a story of loneliness, regret, and guilt, mirroring Venti\’s own emotional struggle through the deeply affecting story of Stanley and Hans.
Venti\’s subsequent reveal that he too is imitating the appearance of one of his long-dead friends irrevocably shifts the player\’s perception of him, making it impossible to look at him and not think about his constant grief as he maintains a living memorial to the Nameless Bard. The quest also shows Venti\’s connection to death as the Anemo Archon, as he is able to call forth and \’put to rest\’ the soul of Stanley. Venti is still incredibly mysterious, but it\’s clear he is much more than just the god of good times and pleasant breezes.
The first character to have more than one character quest, Zhongli\’s story stands out some of the best Genshin has to offer – which may be unsurprising, considering how often Mihoyo not-so-subtly favors their beloved Archon. His quests are not only incredibly well written, but feature beautiful cut scenes, one of the coolest dungeons in the game, and a permanent boss fight.
Zhongli\’s quests provide the best insight into the Teyvat of \’the age of gods and monsters,\’ full of stories about the rich history of the world of Genshin as seen through Rex Lapis\’s one-of-a-kind perspective. His quests are especially notable for the unique information they give on the Archon War, one of the biggest events of the Genshin timeline. Already one of the more interesting pieces of lore, its made even more so by the fact that it is Zhongli who is telling the story. People often say that history is told by the victors. In this case, that couldn\’t be more literal.