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Genshin Impact Review for Android

Genshin Impact Review for Android

There is something distinctly impressive about being able to carry a computer powerful enough to play a big, open-world action RPG-like,  Genshin Impact, in your pocket. Not only does it demonstrate the ingenuity of miHoYo’s teams to be able to put something so complex onto mobile platforms, it also expresses the company’s awareness of serious mobile gaming and the community around itTheir awareness also hints that this is a direction that developers of larger and more complex games may begin to consider. But I find that the challenges of playing Genshin Impact on a phone are also quite telling of the kinds of challenges the gaming industry faces in 2020 and beyond. 

Genshin Impact, miHoYo’s free-to-play action RPG, came out in September for Android, iOS, PC, and PS4, and was quickly followed up by the PS5  release in November (the date of its release on Switch is still TBA)Since then, it’s been largely well-received and praised for its open-world mechanics, overall design quality, and cross-platform capabilities. It’s clearly influenced by other open world action RPGs, particularly The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it’s by no means miss-advertised or poorly made. I’m frankly impressed that my phone can even handle playing it. But, after playing Genshin Impact and getting to know the world of Teyvat, I’m struggling to find a reason why I’d want to keep playing it over my other games. 

Genshin Impact Review for Android

You start the game while Paimon, your guide, is repeating your tale of woe back to you. As you harken back, you are presented with a choice to play one of two twins—a sister or a brother—when you’re confronted by an unknown god. After a dramatic combat cut scene, it’s discussed that you were dropped into the middle of a new world, Teyvatwhere you found  Paimon, whom you’ve been travelling with for two months.  

The complexity of the world of Teyvat is difficult to enclose in one review, but the most crucial aspects are the presence of The Seven, a pantheon of gods who are tied to different elements. And, because your character isn’t from this world, they have a unique ability to acquire significant power from statues of The Seven. Eventually, you make friends with people belonging to the Knights of Favonius and acquire them as new characters who you can switch between for the rest of your adventures. The remainder of the plot follows your own winding path through a plethora of quests as you learn more about the mechanics, the gods, and the world of Teyvat as a whole. 

If I’m to be honest, oa smart phone, Genshin Impact was bit too much for me. Using a virtual joystick on the touch screen to move a character while I used my other thumb to adjust the angle, switching between characters and trying to keep them from climbing literally everything all got annoying after the first few quests in the game. Now, this could be adjusted with some of the new equipment serious phone gamers are buying, these days. The thing is: I don’t want a phone game that asks me for so much time and attention, let alone new equipment. I want my phone games to be as portable as my phone is. I want them to be things I turn to when I’m sitting in a waiting room, riding public transit, or trying to get out of socializing with people. I’m not everyone, but if you share the same preferences, you may not want to get this game for your phoneif you want to get it at all. 

Genshin Impact Review for Android

Platform aside, Genshin Impact, to me, comes across as a large, complex open world game that lacks a consistent sense of direction or immersion. It’s very apparent that the creators were inspired by Breath of the Wild’s open-world and massive environmental puzzle feel. But, where Breath of the Wild’s main quest is clear and consistent throughout the game,  Genshin Impact’s isn’t. Zelda is also an older franchise with a familiar world-premise helping to give many of its games a significant sense of  setting cohesion. Add to that the fact that I played it on a smart phone—a platform that seems too small literally and figuratively for such a big game—Genshin Impact failed to hold my interest enough for me to want to keep it on my phone. 

As I said, there is nothing inherently wrong with this game. It’s free to play, it’s well-designed, it’s beautifully animated, and it has a lovely original  soundtrack. It does have a gacha monetary system that’s known to get aggressive towards the end of the game, but that really doesn’t rank among the main issues I take with it. For those gamers who have their phones prepped for games like this, the platform may be significantly less of an issue. What I feel happy playing on a phone is something smaller and simpler, but that may be changing for the overall market. If anything, Genshin Impact for Android clearly demonstrates the point in gaming history we’re living in and poses important questions for the industry’s future. 


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