Genshin Impact Should Be Cloned to Death, Here’s Why

Genshin Impact Cloned

There is absolutely no way that Genshin Impact won’t be remembered as one of the big games of 2020, and it rightfully became the biggest launch ever for a game developed in China. One of the most curious aspects of this statement is that it took so many gamers by surprise, naively unaware that the adventure crafted with gusto and talent at miHoYo was a work of measured ambition and unabashed vision. A quick glance at Honkai Impact 3rd, the previous game from the Chinese outfit, should suffice to see they have what it takes to deliver quality games. In that regard, Genshin Impact overdelivers, and it should be cloned to death.

How so, I hear you ask? Let me clarify that I’m not talking about everyone and their mom developing straight-up copies of Genshin Impact for mass consumption. I don’t want to see an endless stream of cheap anime games where you can switch between a few characters and glide in an open world, while some type of emergency food points you in the right direction. My point is that other studios should look under the hood of this game and see what powers it, what made it so popular, unique, and successful. If you think about it, that’s kind of ironic, considering that when Genshin Impact was announced, it was ditched by many gamers as a shameless Chinese rip-off of Breath of the Wild. We didn’t fall for that smearing campaign, though, looking beyond the ill-informed first impressions, and always believed that this could turn out to be something special.

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And clearly it did. Flawless it isn’t, and the controversy surrounding the resin and the gacha is here to stay, but Genshin Impact does so many things right that it should be considered a milestone for the free-to-play business model. Playing this game for free is a steal, such is the quality and the amount of content that you get to enjoy without reaching out for your wallet. It offers more gameplay in its limited two cities out of seven, game-as-a-service form than many AAA premium games manage to do during their entire lifespan, DLC included. For a game that reportedly had a development budget of roughly around $100 million, releasing it for free was quite a gamble, but one that evidently paid off, recouping its costs in about two weeks.

I’m not going to talk about how wonderful the game world is, how the different characters feel, the depth of combat, or the cooperative mode – no, this isn’t a review, and by now everyone knows what Genshin Impact is, either by own experience or because the game is deservedly everywhere. This is a quick overview on the aspects that make it successful, and how it is on a league of its own. Hopefully other developers will pay attention and it will pave the way for a new age where free-to-play quick cash grabs die a slow, agonizing death, and we start seeing more bold, inventive releases that are great games first, and a business model later.

First and foremost, the gacha. There are so many players screaming and complaining about the drop rates, but this needs to be put into perspective. As it usually happens, new banners are regularly released and the chances to summon a high-rated character increase, so you need to save your Primogems and Fates for the best occasions. As an example, I’ve managed to pull the 5-Star Trap of the Gods Venti during my first pulls, and there are many reports of players who have other 5-star characters, so this is always down to luck.

But the important aspect here is that, contrary to other gacha games, you don’t need other characters. You should simply consider them as the cherry on top of a delicious cake, one where you have all the ingredients that you require – characters that are unlocked via story mode –, but you are free to try and get those extra flavors. Genshin Impact plays fantastically if you’re either controlling Amber or Fischl, Lisa or Mona, and since there’s no PvP in sight and apparently never will, the whole competitive controversy that you see in other games won’t be an issue here.

To me, gacha in Genshin Impact is an additional way of supporting future development of the game. Along with the battle pass, this is how you ensure that your travels will take you to the far cities of Inazuma, Snezhnaya, Fontaine, or Sumeru, for example. I don’t need new characters to explore Teyvat; but I want them, and my wallet is at peace because I’ve enjoyed the game so much and it deserves both my time and money.

The other aspect that makes all the difference is that Genshin Impact doesn’t feel like a free-to-play game. You know, in the sense that it isn’t rushed, clunky, shallow, or pointing you to the cash shop every few minutes. The whole game breathes top quality, starting with the distinct art style. The clean design and vivid colors contribute to a game that feels visually unique and brimming with details – the obvious highlight to me is the city of Liyue Harbor, especially during the amazing lantern rite event.

Games hailing from China usually lack when it comes to polishing. One of the most glaring faults is the rough localization, with badly worded sentences or grammatical errors. Dragon Raja, one of the best mobile MMORPGs to be released lately, has one of the worst English translations that I’ve ever experienced. On the other hand, Genshin Impact’s localization was clearly made by a knowledgeable team, ensuring that no errors or weird sentences would creep into the code. The voice over work follows suit, with superb voice acting for most characters, despite miHoYo’s reluctance to reveal the English cast – this is leading to much speculation, one that we hope will end up soon wink wink nudge nudge.

This is miHoYo’s first multi-platform game, following a brief stint at a PC release with the Honkai Impact 3rd port. Once again, this is a lesson to other studios, as the touchscreen controls were smoothly adapted into a clean and intuitive UI for PC and PlayStation 4 (we’re yet to see how the Nintendo Switch version looks, but it will surely be something of the sort). Playing Genshin Impact with a keyboard and mouse combo is as comfortable as one would expect, and I find it difficult to revert to touchscreen controls after being spoiled with the PC version.

Genshin Impact PC Traveler Anemo impressions

While everyone is understandably screaming their hearts out for new content, we must be reminded that quality takes time, even for a team that is said to be 500 strong. Apart from the occasional event and bugfix, a major content update is expected to drop every six weeks, something that could give the busier or leisure-prone gamers some space to breathe. After all, this is a game that deserves to be explored, enjoyed, discussed, and lauded.

I’m willing to make a bold comparison here, one that is surely going to be divisive; Genshin Impact could be a game made by Bethesda or Rockstar, minus the endless bugs. Sure, there were some troubling issues at launch involving failures to launch and update, but the gameplay itself is smooth as butter. With a large budget, several years of development, largely over 60 hours of gameplay without counting the content that is yet to come, and all this for the amazing price of free, Genshin Impact proudly stands as one of the greatest videogame achievements in one of the worst years for mankind.

After Honkai Impact 3rd and Genshin Impact, you should definitely put miHoYo on your radar and ditch any prejudices that you might have had about a Chinese game. Living up to the expectations for their next game is going to be a nightmare, but I’m super excited to see what miHoYo comes up with next.

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