Genshin Impact is a lot of fun to be honest. Even with the seriously bad time gating and gacha mechanics the game is intrinsically a well-made and highly-enjoyable Action RPG.
There are lots of funny things about it though.
One of the interesting fun things is the bit of subtle racism in it. The world is called Tevyat and there are apparently seven different countries in it. You start in Mondstadt, which looks like some medieval European/British country, but it is actually feels more like an analogue for America.
Mondstadt is known as the “city of freedom” and it’s a place that not so subtly mirrors modern day America. It’s people are basically anarchists and atheists who live for themselves with strong individualism.
The next place you go to is Liyue, which is obviously Chinese. And here you see a lot of not so overt nationalistic pride as Liyue is the richest country in the world, with the most prosperous people, and they look down on the people of Mondstadt who they mostly see as uncivilized and disorganized. Remmeber that Mihoyo, the developer of this game, were formed by three Chinese students.
The other two places that have been revealed so far are Inazuma, which is basically Japan, and a place called Snezhnaya.
Inazuma is interesting because, as an analogue for Japan, Mihoyo chose to take to heart Japan’s real world withdrawal from the world during the 1600’s as the main inspiration for its lore. Inazuma is probably the next location we will visit when Genshin Impact v1.2 hits, so we do’t know much but we do get to interact with some people from Inazuma in the game today and they describe Inazuma as a chaotic, dangerous place full of war and violence, with strict border controls that it’s almost impossible to enter or leave the country. It’s basically Japan during the Sengoku Jidai and the Sakoku “closed door policy” during the Tokugawa Shogunate. I mean, so backwards and barbaric of those violent Inazumas compared to us prosperous Liyue.
It’s a bit hard to pin down the cultural inspiration for Snezhnaya, but it seems to lean towards an Italian/Byzantine bent with clandestine masked assassins. Let’s just say they are the main antagonists of the game.
The other three countries — Sumeru, Fontaine, and Natlan – haven’t been referenced much so far so we don’t know much about them yet, and we’ll see them over the next few years as the developers expand the game. But if I had to guess Sumeru might be some ancient Mesopotamic style civilization, while Fontaine will probably be more high-class European (French likely), and Natlan will probably be a more tribal place, probably Aztec or African-ish.
Then there’s the weird dubbing. For instance, in English the initial group of people you join up with are called the Knights of Favonius. But in Japanese they are called the Knights of Sephiroth. I am wondering what got lost in translation there, and what they are called in the original Chinese version (I don’t understand any form of Chinese).
Lots of fun things about this game and since it’s free to play there is no reason not to try it out except if you’re pressed for time.