Free-to-play open-world RPG
Genshin Impact is a JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game) available to play for free on PC and various other devices and consoles. It features impressive open-world exploration, multiple characters, and MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) elements such as loot boxes.
Genshin Impact is developed by MiHoyo, a Chinese development company, but feels like modern Japanese games such as I Am Setsuna and Octopath Traveller. As a visitor from another world, you’re tasked with exploring the medieval-style kingdom of Teyvat to find your long-lost sibling. Along the way, you’ll encounter eccentric characters who’ll help (or hinder) your progress.
Considering Genshin Impact is free, there’s a ludicrous amount of content at your disposal. Teyvat is split into two regions, both of which are jam-packed with puzzles and environments to discover. It’s in this exploration that Genshin Impact reveals itself to share similarities with Breath of the Wild, one of the best Legend of Zelda games.
Open-world exploration isn’t the only thing on offer. Genshin Impact also incorporates a gacha mechanic. This references capsule-toy machines, in that you never know quite what you’re going to get. Genshin Impact uses this mechanic in the form of loot boxes.
These aren’t new to online games, as even World of Warcraft uses them, but Genshin Impact deploys them as magical stones called ‘Fates’. Each Fate can be used to get either a new (random) character or weapon that’s rated in value from common (three stars) to super-rare (five stars).
There are also four other in-game currencies, some of which can be bought with real-world money and some that you need other in-game currency to purchase. It’s confusing but not unusual in free-to-play games.
Genshin Impact features fluid animation and a beautiful, if familiar, anime style. Most of the content is free, either from the start or to unlock through regular play. Characters can be swapped on-the-fly for different playstyles.
Should You Download It?
Yes, especially if you’re a fan of JRPG. It features loads of action and content, but you’ll need a constant internet connection to play it.
- Elemental magic reacting to environments
- Microtransactions aren’t barriers to playing
- A roster of 20+ playable characters
- Higher-level play is predominantly grind-based
- Requires a constant internet connection
- Some characters are nearly impossible to unlock