I shouldn’t like Genshin Impact as much as I do. It has lootboxes with dreadfully low drop rates, an energy system that limits how quickly I progress at higher levels, and an extremely annoying sidekick that refers to itself exclusively in third person. These flaws would doom other games, but Genshin Impact is also a fantastic RPG set in a vibrant open world that is so much more fun to explore than most full-priced games I’ve played this year.
Need to know
What is it? A free-to-play RPG inspired by Breath of the Wild
Expect to pay: free with microtransactions
Reviewed on: i7 7700, RTX 2070, 16GB RAM
Multiplayer? 4-player co-op
If Genshin Impact has a secret weapon, it’s that it isn’t afraid to swipe features from other games, most notably The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Just like Nintendo’s seminal hit, there’s an enormous world to explore that’s teeming with secrets, puzzles, and cleverly hidden loot. There are mercifully few icons on the map, so a lot of the exploration is self-guided. I have to climb mountains, glide across canyons, and pay attention to my surroundings if I hope to discover it all. It might offend hardcore Nintendo fans, but Genshin Impact doesn’t just thoughtlessly copy and paste these ideas. It expands on and tweaks them to fit really nicely into a loot-obsessed RPG that is—despite what its roots in mobile games might imply—incredibly fun to play.
Whole new world