So, I started playing GenshinImpact with very low expectations, anything you can play for free has a catch, right? I was pretty skeptical, and honestly, I don’t actually know why I downloaded it, I was a hair away from scrolling past it and never thinking about it again.
I was surprised though, the game opening was interesting, the production values are surprisingly good, I love the anime aesthetic and it even has voice acting (that is at a standard of games I would pay for). I like the characters and the world you’re dropped into is immersive and expansive.
I dug into the opening quest (tutorial) fully expecting a Gacha somewhere along the way, or a push to spend on premium gear but I was surprised here too, They’ve somehow developed a single player game that’s completely free and doesn’t pester you to buy a DLC. Eventually, you’ll get to the town and your quest starts in earnest, and you get a notification saying you can now use the store… in my mind I was like “?? here we go” but that was it, you just continue playing, it doesn’t walk you through the DLC or hassle you to buy stuff, I actually had to look for the shop on my own initiative.
The store is everything I feared, a confusing array of premium currencies that hide the true cost of what you buy, at this point, there are a small selection of loot boxes that offer gear and characters with a specific theme, I imagine in future there will be seasonal packs with limited time to purchase. The crystals you purchase are quite expensive once you realise how many currency conversions you need to make in order to make a purchase. But, you really don’t need to use this feature at all, you can happily play on without ever even discovering the store and you can find the currency in game by completing quests and finding treasure, it might take some time to get the amount you need for a purchase though.
I played this for around 3 hours so far, it’s a game I would have happily paid for. The anime aesthetic alone would have sold it, I just love the character designs. While there might be some clear inspiration from Breath of the Wild, it’s not a complete rip-off, honestly, GenshinImpactis just as interesting a game to play, refining or simplifying Elements of other open world games. The control is smooth and responsive and you can switch between the characters in your party for a little variety in gameplay.
I’d definitely recommend it, I keep thinking there’s gotta be a catch but it just keeps surprising me.