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Genshin Impact: Is This 2020’s Mobile Game of the Year?

In what can only be described as a sudden deluge, Genshin Impact content suddenly poured when the game came out to Windows, PS4, Android, and iOS yesterday. Streamers from all the four platforms picked the game up, introducing their fans to this fantastic new game. It’s hard to blame them, though. Genshin Impact holds itself up very well. miHoYo‘s newest release is a high-quality mobile game that sets new standards for what’s acceptable on mobile. Meanwhile, it also plays very well as a console or PC game, not letting the fact that it’s also on mobile to limit what the game can do.

Action-Adventure Done Right


Genshin Impact is an action-adventure game where you play as world-hopping Traveler in search of your missing twin. Along the way, you meet new characters that may end up joining your party through the game’s gacha mechanics. With a party of up to four characters, the player is free to swap between characters, making use of their unique skills to progress through the game.

The core gameplay loop is fun, and its progression system is similarly enjoyable. It’s not hard to grind your characters to higher levels. You may even use items to instantly level-up your characters – a staple mechanic in mobile gacha games. But it’s very useful that you’re still able to level up your characters for simply playing with them. Each character is also attuned to one of the seven elements in the game, all of which interact with the environment and with each other – resulting in creative ways of fighting and using your environment to your advantage. Mix and match the different elements of your characters for powerful combos – such as making it rain with your Hydro skills, then unleashing a powerful shockwave with an Electro skill from another character to electrify your foes.

With a roster of twenty-four characters, there’s a lot of variety in here for players to enjoy. While you might be stuck with just several characters at your disposal early in the game, you may speed up your progression through the game’s microtransactions. Meanwhile, even with just several characters, they should be diverse enough to keep things fresh for a long time.

More Than Just a Breath of the Wild Clone


It’s no secret that Genshin Impact is heavily-inspired by Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.Marketing materials stopped short of saying directly that the game borrowed a lot of Breath of the Wild’s elements, from its presentation to gameplay. In fact, the similarities in the trailer even led to Breath of the Wild fans complaining vehemently.

I had the same impression after watching the trailers and seeing other streamers play the game. I played it going in blind, with the sole expectation being that I’m about to play a game similar to Breath of the Wild. But now having played Genshin Impact myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that dismissing it as a Breath of the Wild clone is a disservice for both games. They’re both great on their own right.

Genshin Impact even features a fleshed-out lore of its own – a well-written story that is both engaging and worth experiencing. The dialogue in the game is brought to life by top voice actors, who do great in giving voices to different characters. To top it all off, the London Philharmonic Orchestra was commissioned to liven the action with their own original score.

Same Experience Across All Platforms


What’s more impressive is that miHoYo was able to make the different versions of the game across platforms identical and capable of cross-play. Aside from different control layouts and UIs, the games play largely the same. The experience is not diminished when played on mobile. In fact, playing on mobile even have its own benefits, thanks to the flexibility of touch controls over controllers.

Being available in four different platforms, Genshin Impact allows cross-platform play between friends. You can go on dungeon raids with up to three other friends and conquer adversaries with your party. Cross-save is also available for mobile platforms and PC. Sadly, PS4 owners cannot do cross-saves. But PS4 players can still continue playing with their friends regardless of platform.

Revolutionizing Mobile Gaming

miHoYo raised the bar with Genshin Impact. Mobile games moving forward entering the same genre have no excuse not to be able to achieve the same results. What’s more, the game is completely free! It’s hard to believe that such a well-polished game could be free. It shows that a successful game can survive and earn money, and so developers should focus on making the game great. Money will follow.

The game does have microtransactions and elements from mobile gaming such as energy and daily log-ins. However, they never felt intrusive. The developers were able to weave these systems into the game they wanted to make. As a result, Genshin Impact may just be the best mobile game that was ever made. If not the game of the year for mobile this 2020, it sure is a strong contender.