It was September 28 of last year when suddenly everyone was talking about or playing Genshin Impact. Weirdly enough, it’s been only nine months since then and the initial hype has died down. Not everyone is streaming it anymore, but that doesn’t mean the game is dead. Far from it, Genshin Impact has been getting constant updates since launch and is still getting fans to play it daily. I recently ventured back to see if the game that everyone hyped up and then stopped playing was just a fad, or if it holds up. It’s safe to say that  Genshin Impact has so much more to offer since it’s release, and it’s still an amazing game.

Genshin Impact will be updating to version 2.0 on July 21, containing the much awaited new region, Inazuma, and Ayaka, the cryo swordswoman that players have known about since the game’s closed beta. This is the biggest update since launch, giving players a new chapter in the story and a new area to scout and gather collectibles like electroculus. Cross-save between PlayStation and PC/mobile is also finally being introduced as of the update, so players who started on PlayStation can finally link their accounts and move platforms freely, which is very welcome.

Genshin Impact contains something to do at every moment, giving the player tons of gameplay. Between story quests, daily commissions for primogems, events like “Windtrance” or “Never-ending Battle”, artifact and abyss grinding and hangouts; players can freely do what they please. The downside is the story, Archon quests are limited and require your Adventure rank to be high enough to complete them. Adventure rank is a painful limit cap mechanic in the game that makes it, so players have to stop what they are doing, likely the main story, to grind levels to be able to do missions, go to certain areas and level their characters up. Though it’s a meme to the community for players chilling with max rank and with nothing to do, for players just trying to play it tends to dampen things. Genshin Impact's world levelling depends on it, so do drops and artifacts. It’s meant to slow down players, so they don’t just do everything and drop the game altogether, but it can break immersion for new players, much like a stick in the mud (don't really get this reference).

banner pull
The Free Banner in-game.

Despite the game being labelled "Breath of the Wild" clone, and “that one mobile game”, Genshin Impact doesn’t feel like it deserves those labels. It's is an open-world adventure game with stamina, combat, dungeons and cel-shaded graphics but has a unique story. Genshin Impact looks great and benefits from cel-shading because no matter the platform they are playing on, the game looks the same. It's a mobile game, but doesn’t really give off those vibes. It stands on its own and makes you not ashamed to be playing a gacha free-to-play mobile game.

Genshin Impact is a free-to-play game but has a gacha system, letting you pay for characters and weapons for your team. Though the word “gacha” is a very negative word, often cited as a gambling mechanic , but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to earn premium currency in the game to be used on these ‘wishes’. Doing dailies, normal quests, story, and the events all give these out as rewards. Intertwined and Acquaint Fates can be earned too by ascending characters and through the game’s battle pass. The only downside is saving for the  ten wishes takes a while, additionally the premium battle pass is the only thing in the game you can’t earn in-game and costs real world money.

The combat being not just relying on combos or swinging is refreshing, and having a team of characters with different elemental abilities is fun. Much like Pokémon or any RPG game, each character has an element they represent and can use. They can be either DPS, support or healers and can also react to the other elements around them, doing more damage and applying buffs or debuffs. You can go even further if you look up the best team cop and get the best artifacts, making it easier to do the big-boy endgame, Spiral Abyss.

hangout
One of the ending for Barbara's Hangout!

The newest additions no one saw coming were both the hangout event and the Serenitea Pot. Hangouts and locked story quests are unique in where the surrounding plot is more character focused. World and character building and development for the players to experience the cast, is enjoyable because they tend to feel more in-depth and not just one-note characters. Hangouts go through with this aspect, acting like an interactive visual novel and allows the player to get different endings with cute pictures with them.

Serenitea Pot is the other thing that shook everyone, being an area the players can design in any way they please. This zone is basically a house where you can make it your own and place the characters you’ve gotten, letting you talk to them freely and slowly increase their friendship with you without having them equipped. It's an endgame thing but it's a nice touch for the players, a place they can share, wind down in and chill , whilst also being beautiful. It’s also free, it just needs players to complete quests and the decorations are all earned in-game, usually in events. Gardening is also coming as a feature for resource farming, and it’s welcomed. Now you can collect the plants you need for ascending, and can also include your own, so it’s not as limiting on how much you can collect.

The worst part of the game in my opinion is the area of Dragonspine and the quests around there. This tall mountain is covered in snow, and you need to make sure you don’t freeze to death due to the debuff sheer cold. You’re tasked to climb to the peak, but then stop by puzzles locking off areas. The meter that tells you how cold you're becoming is a little fast and can barely be slowed down with food, tending to be more of a chore while climbing or scouting. The tree in the area is also kind of a bother, giving you the task to collect more collectibles like the Anemoculus and Geoculus, called Crimson Agate to level up said tree. I hated the time I had to spend here to max it out, and now that it’s done, I avoid the place at all costs.

frostbearing tree
The Frostbearing tree in Dragonspine, related to the collectables in the area.

The event area, the Golden Apple Archipelago, is on the opposite scale to Dragonspine. This limited-time zone is filled with mini islands, and as the anime clichés go, this is Genshin’s beach episode. It gives summer outfits to Barbara and Jean, and the players get a mini story and events to compete until the next big game update in 2.0. This area didn’t need to exist, yet they gave everyone something new. Though leaving in the up and coming weeks, it is a welcoming event and feels like a reward for supporting the game. It’s not just more loot, but like they cared what they wanted players to play, so they gave them a good event.

Genshin is a game that isn’t just one note, one dimensional and isn’t just 'that mobile game', but a game that feels  similar to other adventure games of old. No DLCs, just free content. Genshin Impact rewards returning players and constant playtime/activity. Genshin isn’t a completed game, so the story still isn’t finished but much like an MMO, they update it, and you slowly get more content. That may be a deal breaker to others, but it’s not the fault of the game because there’s plenty of other things to do, like an MMO. It’s the model the developers are doing for the free-to-play mobile game, so who cares.? They have a vision, and it's been a good game so far, so I don’t see an issue with the wait.

Genshin Impact is beautiful and a joy to play or just to vibe in. Sadly, I missed the winter events and recently came back after Zhongli’s banner. I wasn’t able to obtain him, but in the past few months I’ve enjoyed catching up with what I’ve missed and I am glad to see the game is still going strong. I’m excited to see Inazuma after all the hype and can’t wait to finally have cross save after the rumors that it won’t ever come. After these past stressful months, Genshin Impact is a nice comfort game to be absorbed in or can be the perfect game to be idle in for the best pictures. Genshin Impact felt like Animal Crossing to me, coming to players during a scary time and giving people something to do while stuck at home. Luckily though, this game is getting constant updates. If you have an account or have thought about it, Genshin Impact is 100% worth it since it’s free and can be fun to just adventure around in.

qiqi n diona
QiQi and Diona, just hanging out while I played with the photo mode.