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This is not my beautiful Hyrule! This is not my beautiful Zelda! Talking Genshin Impact

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad

Genshin Impact goes live tomorrow. You might remember it as the Breath of Wild clone.

...No, that’s Immortals: Fenyx Rising you’re thinking of. The other Breath of the Wild clone. The one not by a major publisher.

...No, now that’s Windbound you’re thinking of. The other other Breath of a Wild clone. The free to play one.

Anyway, it’s free, so I figured what the hay, I’ll give it shot and let you all know if it’s any good.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
I think it looks fun, though I'm worried about how the f2p aspect will affect how it plays.

I also think it's weird how mean people are being to the game for cribbing from BotW. Games crib from other games all the time! BotW cribs from other games!
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Yeah, the game certainly wears its heart on its sleeve for Zelda, but like I mentioned before it’s not even the only BotW clone coming out in the 2nd half of the year by far. Could be the gacha mechanics, though unfortunately I think some of it has to do with it being a Chinese dev and the baggage surrounding that.

Anyway, the PC download is taking forever. I was hoping to have it finished before it goes live, but it might take a while longer than that at this rate.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
I believe most of the gacha for this is characters since most of the unique mechanics are tied to character abilities and elemental affinities.
 
I also think it's weird how mean people are being to the game for cribbing from BotW.
Is it weird? I dunno. For good or bad, it looking to clone BotW is literally the only reason anyone is paying attention to this to begin with, so it doesn't seem particularly unfair to me, IMO.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Yeah, I'd have literally no interest in a FtP game if it wasn't so shamelessly cribbing from Breath of the Wild.
 

Gaer

chat.exe a cessé de fonctionner
Staff member
Moderator
I suppose my issue is that I have zero idea how a free to play botw would even work.
 

Lance Noble Aster

did his best!
(he/him)
How much of a "BotW clone" are we talking about here? Like is it an open world focused on freedom of navigation and simple mechanics that interact with each other in complex ways?

Or is it a "BotW clone" in the "Dark Souls means hard" sense, where it has an open world that looks kind of cell-shaded?

Because, like, that gameplay looks way more like Star Ocean or even Monster Hunter than Breath of the Wild.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
As I understand it, outside of combat, everything is the same as BotW. Climb everywhere, freedom to explore and so on. Combat is the big differentiator.

I haven't played it yet, but that's what I've been lead to believe
 
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Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Is it weird? I dunno. For good or bad, it looking to clone BotW is literally the only reason anyone is paying attention to this to begin with, so it doesn't seem particularly unfair to me, IMO.
And Fortnite wouldn’t have blown up like it did if it hadn’t pivoted to a PUBG clone. See also MOBAs, Auto Chess, Persona clones, etc.

What’s weird here isn’t that people are calling it a clone, but that people are angry about it, as though copying Zelda is some grand injustice. It’s a small number of people I’m sure, but it’s still a strange phenomenon.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
And now I’m looking up the gacha, and hoo boy. 0.6% base rate to pull a 5-star, and then a 50% chance for that pull to be a featured 5-star. Dreadful.
 

Lance Noble Aster

did his best!
(he/him)
And Fortnite wouldn’t have blown up like it did if it hadn’t pivoted to a PUBG clone. See also MOBAs, Auto Chess, Persona clones, etc.

What’s weird here isn’t that people are calling it a clone, but that people are angry about it, as though copying Zelda is some grand injustice. It’s a small number of people I’m sure, but it’s still a strange phenomenon.
It might be the whole "Nintendo fans are unusually dedicated to and ravenous about their favorite corporate overlord" thing.

Oh hey, so apparently this isn't just a mobile and PS4 thing like I thought. It's available on PC here: https://genshin.mihoyo.com/en
 
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Phantoon

I cuss you bad
What’s weird here isn’t that people are calling it a clone, but that people are angry about it, as though copying Zelda is some grand injustice. It’s a small number of people I’m sure, but it’s still a strange phenomenon.
Not being insane, I won't attempt to speak for these people. However the initial video made it look like a Gameloft style IP lift. You know, the "Cry of Service: Up To Date Scuffle" type of thing

Edit: Or another way: Breath of the Wild does crib from other games, lots of them. But if you want to pick *one* game that played like Breath of the Wild you wouldn't be able to. The combination of influences make it unique. Is that the same for Genshin Impact? I'm still downloading, so I don't know yet.
 
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Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Yeah I doubt it will feel particularly unique, and the gacha will likely compromise it quite a bit.
 
What’s weird here isn’t that people are calling it a clone, but that people are angry about it, as though copying Zelda is some grand injustice.
Only speaking for myself: I'm not angry about it, but I am intensely disinterested in it as a result. A big part of why I ingest any media, is because I want to experience the creativity and imagination of other people. Stuff that I can't/didn't think up on my own. So when your creativity begins and ends with "I shamelessly copied this thing you liked!" -- that's like the antithesis of creativity and imagination, and I don't have time or the attention span to waste on stuff like that.

I watched my brother play the game just now for a few minutes. It looks unspeakably dull to me for reasons I can't quite articulate. But yeah, the game should be live now for people to play and figure out on their own if it's something they'll like.
 

muteKi

say "fish don't exist" to my face, motherfucker
So what are the gacha mechanics even for? Like do weapons degrade like BOTW but you gotta pull for replacements?
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
Characters; every character has an elemental affinity and a number of abilities that use/exploit it, and that has rather large considerations for combat and exploration in the game world.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Initial thoughts of PC version.

  • Looks good and can run on lower spec devices. I’m rocking integrated graphics on my laptop, but I’m still getting good frame rates at 720p.
  • They need to work on their full screen options, though. At least some that aren’t current OS display setting only so I don’t have to clumsily set it up myself.
  • Yeah, exploration is very BotW, but the story is more of a conventional RPG.
  • Yeah, the gacha odds seem pretty bad, but at least the beginner’s pull is guaranteed to net you at least one 4 star character every time, so it seems like you should be able to build a decent enough party list between that and the characters you get automatically if you’re not worried about getting a specific character.
Overall, I’m digging it enough to playing it for now.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
I have heard reports that this game leaves its anti-cheat system running after the game stops. Watch out for that.
 
I have heard reports that this game leaves its anti-cheat system running after the game stops. Watch out for that.
I saw the discussion about that, apparently it's been patched today so at least it stops running when the game stops. It is still however a Ring 0 process, meaning it basically has kernel level access on your PC. IIRC correctly Valorant has a similar setup and also some of the same backlash for concerns of being more intrusive than necessary. At least as a online multiplayer Valorant makes some kind of sense, for a mostly single player game it seems kind of weird...

I'm playing on PS4, so that particular issue isn't a concern; but I figured I'd list a few data points from my own experience from playing for a few hours last night and doing some light research:
  • PS4 targets 30 FPS and seems to mostly hit it, but does have some weird dips. I'm on a base model, and I think the game is running at 1080P. Pro apparently targets some form of 4K rather than a higher framerate.
  • PS4 *does not support cross-save*, as the account is tied to your PSN ID and cannot (as of now) be linked to the game's account system for play on PC/Mobile. All indications are this likely won't change in the future, and will probably be similar for Switch when it launches later.
  • PS4 *does support cross-play* once you unlock co-op, so you can play online with friends on the other platforms.
  • The game requires an always online connection.
  • Some of the GUI elements like font-size, menu controls and button prompts are somewhat inconsistent and don't seem optimized for play on a console vs a PC/Mobile where a mouse/keyboard or touch screen could be used. For example, I can't recall any other game I've played recently where clicking in the right stick was used to switch between menu options. I also don't like how it uses a weird mix of stick and directional pad for menu navigation. Overall, the UI issues are mostly minor things that can probably be fixed, but it definitely feels like the PS4 (and likely other console ports) won't get as much attention as PC/Mobile.
The combat and movement controls feel pretty good:
  • Running, climbing and swimming all use stamina; you also get a glider within the first maybe 30 minutes that is pretty much exactly like BotW's including it's use of stamina. Stamina can be upgraded by exchanging collectibles at statues, just like BotW.
  • Combat differs from BotW on a couple of fronts. No weapon durability, and instead attacking uses stamina. Characters have an associated weapon type, each of which has some basic combos and a plunge attack. You can preform a light or heavy attack depending on how long you press the attack button, at the expense of more stamina.
  • Each character has an associated element and two active abilities, one on timed cooldown (which can be charged similar to the weapon attack) and a 'burst' attack which can only be activated after filling up on elemental energy from defeating enemies.
  • Most of the complexity of combat comes from switching characters on the fly to trigger elemental combos. For example hitting enemies with a water elemental attack with one character than switching to an electric character to zap soaked enemies for a powered up attack and debuff effect. Here's the current list of elemental interactions.
  • Some character skills linger for a time even after switching characters. For example a healer may generate an aura which heals and reduces stamina usage that will remain for 10 seconds after switching, allowing you to buff a DPS character for a time after switching.
Some info about this game's gatcha system called "wishes":
  • There is no way to "re-roll" on the PS4 in any meaningful way right now, short of creating multiple PSN accounts. Supposedly there will eventually be way to delete a PS4 game account via the game's website but that features not available currently. I guess this could be a blessing or a curse depending on your opinion on re-rolling.
  • As part of the main story you'll get a handful of 4 star characters covering a range of elements early on. There's also two more characters for reaching certain later game milestones, though it appears the ability to get them for free this way may be limited to the next month or so. Information I've read indicates it'll probably take 12 hours or so of focused of gameplay to reach the point in the game, maybe around 20 if you take your time.
  • The game is pretty stingy with the currency used to pull on the gatcha system. As part of the tutorial you'll end up with enough to pull about 20 times and can get maybe another 10 with a bit of additional effort (say about an hour of game play). After that it's going to be slim pickings unless you grind or start spending money. As is typical for gatcha systems, the game encourages you to pull in batches of 10 in order to get side benefits like a guaranteed 4* quality weapon or character.
  • Rather than directly rewarding tickets, the game mostly awards a gem currency (which can also be purchased) that you then convert into one of two types of tickets to pull on the available banners among other items. One kind of ticket is for general, non-limited banners, mostly with terrible odds (as mentioned above). The other kind of ticket is for use on any time-limited banners which have better odds for certain characters or weapons (but still generally awful rates). The gems you collect (or buy) can be converted into either form of ticket. The game does also award some free tickets, but far more of the non-limited variety than the limited ones.
  • The game launched with 4 banners:
    • A "novice" banner you can pull on twice using using 8 non-limited tickets for a 10 pull (i.e. a slight discount) up to 20 pulls total. The tutorial recommends you do this, as each 10 pulls is guaranteed to get you at least a single 4* character to help fill out your character roster. Once you've pulled 20 times on this banner it disappears.
    • A banner containing all currently available characters and weapons with no rate-ups.
    • A time-limited weapon banner with some featured (i.e. rate up) 4* and 5* weapons.
    • A time-limited character banner with a single 5* character and three 4* characters on rate-up.
  • My experience so for has been a single 10 pull on the novice banner resulting in just the single guaranteed 4* character and a bunch of 3* weapons.
  • In addition to just buying gem currency outright the game has a $5 30-day pass which rewards an initial batch of gems and then a bit each day you login to play. Provided you play every day it would provide about $45 worth of gem currency at the worst conversion rate compared to just buying it outright. I guess this counts as a "deal".
  • As is in vogue now, the game also features, daily, weekly and monthly challenges for rewards, but you can get additional rewards with a $10 'battle pass' which covers a 'season' of ~28 game days similar to Fortnite, Apex, CoD, etc... You can also spend an additional $10 more dollars to get a deluxe version of the pass which just offers some cosmetics, currency and experience items but no additional reward unlocks.
I'll probably play for a while, at least enough to get all the available free characters, which I guess will take me 15 hours or so. After that I'll probably have a good idea if like the game enough to invest any actual money.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Wow glad I caught up on this thread before downloading the PC version. Though I’m annoyed that the PS4 version apparently doesn’t have cross-save, so I won’t be able to switch to the Switch version if I end up liking it.
 

Lance Noble Aster

did his best!
(he/him)
I tried this! I uninstalled it before I got to a pull. The most damning things for me were the point early on where I had to go back to the beginning of a "quest" because instead of following the talking objective marker I made my own route to the target location and that was Wrong. Then I had a few minutes of exploration before the game decided "no it's cutscenes time now" and it occurred to me that on this same PC I have access to 1) Final Fantasy XV, 2) Nier Automata, 3) Breath of the Wild modded to have Linkle instead of Link.

When you've made a game that gives you a ton of options for navigating an open space and then demand that players do exactly one specific route, you've wasted your time.

As with Honkai 3rd Impact, there are clearly very talented developers and artists working on this game, and I wish they got to work on something else.
 
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Phantoon

I cuss you bad
I'm really enjoying this. I still haven't quite grasped the ins and outs of the battle system and could do without the gatcha bullshit but it's a genuinely fun game.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Hit the first “You must increase your adventure level before the next story quest” roadblock, so I can see the f2p grind beginning to creep in after a few hours. I can agree that the core gameplay is solid, but I wish the content rolled out more organically and not in this regimented, padding it out to fill a live service model way.

Did slightly better on my second pull and got two characters this time. Yeah, these odds aren’t good.
 

Serephine

and a spark kindled carpet into flame, Blooming
(she/her)
Hahahahahahaha holy shit 50% chance for a 5* you pull to even be a character from the banner that you're pulling on? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck thaaaaaaat.
 
Hit Adventure Rank 15, which unlocks more features including co-op and 'expeditions', which is the game's very basic job system for sending out party members to gather resources.

I've put in maybe... 15 Hours or so, could probably be a higher rank if I focused on doing main line quests instead of exploring.

Still quite enjoying my time with the game, and also haven't spent any money yet; though I was pretty lucky to get a 5* and two additional 4* characters with my three free gatcha 10-pulls. I'll admit to using the 5* quite a bit, but for most of the content the free plot provided units work pretty well and are often required for a lot of the environmental puzzles. There's a lot of these puzzles throughout the map, and for the most part I think they are pretty good. However, pretty much all the ones I've seen are cribbed from similar puzzles in BotW. I've seen a few original ones, but there's a lot inspired by the kinds of puzzles you'd do to get Korok seeds in Zelda. The elemental combat system continues to be great, and I'm getting better at switching to the 'right' characters as fights progress.

I do have some negatives that have continued to bug me.

I think PS4 performance is worse than I originally stated, long loading times when teleporting and a fair amount of hitching now and then as you explore; probably as it loads in chunks of the map. I think I didn't notice it as much before as I wasn't running around exploring during my first few hours.

The UI also still isn't great, mainly due to inconsistencies and tiny text on PS4.

I'm impressed that the game is *mostly* voiced, even a lot of the random NPCs... but by and large no effort was made to match character animation to the dialog. A lot of times dialog will still be playing and the character will already have stopped 'talking' (i.e. animating) 5 seconds ago.

Controls, especially in combat feel pretty good; but the movement system feels a bit "off" at times. I sometimes have trouble getting the glider to deploy, I think because of not having enough momentum or ground clearance at times. The character also seems a bit... slippy?... at times, like they'll occasionally move a bit in a direction on their own. I don't think it's my controller as I've seen other players note the same behavior. Movement controls just don't feel as good as those in BotW, which this game definitely evokes.
 
My experience so for has been a single 10 pull on the novice banner resulting in just the single guaranteed 4* character and a bunch of 3* weapons.
As far as I can tell, this is how it's always going to go until triggering a guaranteed pity 5 star something. The normal banner that has most everything on it is currently being debated (or at least was as of yesterday) as to whether it gives a pity 5 star or not, but if it does the consensus is that it's not even a guaranteed character, it can be a weapon. The limited Character banner guarantees a pity 5 star character, which is an important distinction. For banners that do have a pity system, it kicks in if you go 90 pulls without a 5-star and spits one out at you.

Generally being a pain to re-roll and outright impossible on the PS4 really hurts starting out because those first 20 pulls on the beginner banner is the only reliable way to get characters for a long, long time if you aren't spending money. At Adventure Rank 20 you unlock access to something that can be done to get a 4-star Fire element spear-user, who happened to be someone I pulled from that beginner banner anyway so it can either be an important way to get one more character early-ish in, or relatively unhelpful depending on how the RNG treats you as the way characters get stronger with dupes seems to be a significantly longer process than most gachas.

The StarGLITTER store tab is for whales and it's pretty abysmal compensation at that. The only way to get that currency is when you get 4-star weapons at the minimum, for which you get 2 Starglitter. Otherwise it's from character dupes, and the rates are abysmal unless you're getting your 8th+ dupe of a given character. It's a minimum of SEVENTEEN 4-star weapons to purchase one 4-star character from that currency directly and it appears you can choose between two 4-star characters per month. All the other purchase options there read like huge currency toilets.

The StarDUST tab is actually usable for regular users and allows you to buy up to 5 of each type of pull ticket per month. You get a significant amount of stardust for the average 10-pull so the return here is fairly decent but still not enough to make pulls seem like they're intended to happen more than once a month.

I did the math and even if you buy the most expensive currency pack at $100, with its first-time purchase bonus doubling it applied, it's only enough for eight 10-pulls which is not even enough to guarantee a 5 star anything on its own from any banner, as pity happens at 90 total pulls per banner that has a pity mechanic. Without that first-time purchase bonus you only get four 10-pulls for $100. I'm not super experienced with gachas but this feels like an absolutely atrocious game to spend money on. It's got the equivalent of a monthly $5 subscription which is several times better value than any other possible real money purchase if you can be bothered to make sure you log in every day as it gives 90 primogems per day, but if you miss any days you lose them. Other than the first-time purchase bonus, the amount of bonus currency you get at each purchase tier is only slightly better than Guild Wars 2, which gives you no bonus whatsoever. You could legitimately make up the difference in a day or two of exploration from opening chests.

Also, I know the 50% chance of the 5 star on limited banners being the advertised character seems shit, but what it's saying is that if the first one you get is not that character, the second one is guaranteed to be that character. That only applies to the limited character banner, however. I don't keep up with gachas so I can't directly compare, but Exos Heroes for instance just has the flat 50% chance for the 5-star equivalent to be the advertised character with no mechanic to force it like this. That's not to defend this system, but it's not QUITE as shit as it sounds.

On performance for PS4, my biggest issue by far is that without an ethernet cable plugged in, there's such significant latency that I find myself occasionally double-confirming to pick up items, and sometimes having to stop and backpedal because the prompt to pick things up lags something like half a second behind me. Other than that, I'm just hoping any way they make re-rolling possible on PS4 involves not throwing away the current profile. I'd rather a system to compensate for opportunity lost rather than force a complete restart.
 
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As far as I can tell, this is how it's always going to go until triggering a guaranteed pity 5 star something.
As I mentioned, I had some pretty good luck on my free pull for the limited Character banner, getting both a 5-star and a new 4-star character; neither of which were featured. On my second free pull of the newbie banner I got a single new 4-star (the guaranteed minimum I believe). Luckily none of the new characters I pulled were either of the two you can get for free by reaching Adventure Rank 20 and running the Spiral Abyss.

I'm not super experienced with gachas but this feels like an absolutely atrocious game to spend money on. It's got the equivalent of a monthly $5 subscription which is several times better value than any other possible real money purchase if you can be bothered to make sure you log in every day as it gives 90 primogems per day, but if you miss any days you lose them.
Yeah, the $5, 30-day pass is the only thing that seems like anything close to approaching "value". If I do drop money on the game this would probably be the only thing I would go for. I might also see what the $10 "Battle Pass" provides, though I think that'll depend on if I continue to enjoy the game and the sort of rewards you can earn by the time I reach Adventure Rank 20 to unlock it.

On performance for PS4, my biggest issue by far is that without an ethernet cable plugged in, there's such significant latency that I find myself occasionally double-confirming to pick up items, and sometimes having to stop and backpedal because the prompt to pick things up lags something like half a second behind me.
I'm wired for my PS4 connectivity and do notice a bit of latency when picking up items, I'm kind of surprised that the game requires network activity to occur for every item pickup since it's not a full blown MMO, but I guess that's one way to limit cheating even for a *mostly* single player game like this.

Also, I know the 50% chance of the 5 star on limited banners being the advertised character seems shit, but what it's saying is that if the first one you get is not that character, the second one is guaranteed to be that character. That only applies to the limited character banner, however. I don't keep up with gachas so I can't directly compare, but Exos Heroes for instance just has the flat 50% chance for the 5-star equivalent to be the advertised character with no mechanic to force it like this. That's not to defend this system, but it's not QUITE as shit as it sounds.
The only other gatcha game I play regularly (or at all really) is Dragalia Lost, and the rates there seem incredibly generous compared to Genshin and most other games. For example, I was able to build up enough free currency and tickets to pull around 500 times in the span of maybe 3 months or so, playing maybe 15 to 20 minutes a day; and that's on top of free single and 10 pulls given away for daily and event tasks.

As part of the ongoing 2nd Anniversary the game just introduced their equivalent of the GBF "sparking" system, which requires 300 pulls on a banner before you can pick a featured unit, which seems pretty high... On the other hand the base rate for any 5 star units is 4% to 6% (depending on the banner), though it's just 1.80% to 2.20% for a featured 5 star unit. It does increase the percent a bit after each set of 10 summons, reaching a maximum of 9% after 60 to 100 summons (depending on the banner), after which a 5 star is guaranteed. So after reading about Genshin's rates and comparing them Draglia's and other popular gatchas it seems like it's closer to the "bad" then "good" end of the gatcha scale. Ultimately I would really rather pay $60 for a game like Genshin with a decent built in character roster (with *maybe* paid character DLC at a few dollars a piece) than these gatcha shenanigan's. I'd also be OK with something in the style of the "gatcha" system in Xenoblade 2, which involved no money, just time to farm the resources to perform summons (or using online backups to save scum if you wanted to go the extra mile to get around the system).
 

MetManMas

DNM-123
(He, him)
All this talk about stars and currencies and pity pulls makes me glad I haven't tried diving into this game yet. I already noped out of Final Fantasy: Record Keeper real fast when I reinstalled it for the first time in like a year or so and got annoyed trying to deal with the whole relic draw system again...then dreading going back to all the billions of other categories.

I really feel like the reason those dumb puzzle games are all the rage on the charts while whatever turn-based battling simulator y'all like at the moment is stuck in the triple digits has a lot to do with that nonsense being accessible and easy to parse for regular human beings. Candy Crush Saga is crooked, but easy to learn.

About the only gacha I play regularly right now is Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and that has a lot to do with its prizes being more or less strictly cosmetic in nature.
 
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