Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact is a free to play gacha game by miHoYo, a Chinese videogame development company.

Gacha games come with a lot of negative connotations- rightfully so- but there's something about the attention to detail in this game that comes across as a product genuinely cared for by it's creators.

The thought put into the landscape, the lore, and the characters has given me genuine wonder, kept me checking in, and (embarrassingly) touched me so much that it's made me cry.

So along with acknowledging that Genshin Impact's root gameplay loop is exploitative, I think it's important to recognize the things that this game absolutely does right.
genshin impact illo
The World
Genshin Impact Map Genshin Impact's current map consist of three nations: Mondstadt, Liyue, and Inazuma. There are 7 nations planned in total.

When this will come to fruition??... God knows. It might take literal decades. But what is here today is compelling.

The areas all have individual types of landscapes- Rolling hills in Mondstadt, severe and tiered cliffs in Liyue, and dotted island landmasses of Inazuma.
Mondstadt is basically a tutorial zone with aesthetics based around European rural landscapes and buildings. The ideal of Mondstadt is freedom, and it is in fact so free, that it's god just Left. Now, he's back, and you get to help him tie up some loose ends with a dragon who assumed he abandoned him. The beginner friendly nature of the region doesn't actually take away from it being delightful to traverse and does a very good job of giving you a taste of where Genshin can innovate going forward.

I spend a LONG time traversing Mondstadt before I even glanced at Liyue. But once I arrived, it was clear this would be the area to capture my heart. It's very funny that, when you arrive in Liyue in the story, that everybody is like 'good thing we're not godless heathens like Mondstadt, we still have our god' and then he just fUcKiNg DiEs. Time to play murder mystery and figure out who killed him (spoilers: he Retired). Liyue is the biggest region in the current Genshin Map and also potentially the most populated. Liyue's landscape and culture is based off of China (I'm assuming an amalgamation of many different cultures since China is hUge). The attention and love put into this region certainly comes across as the game developers excitedly incorporating parts of their culture into their game to share with everybody, and I think that's really beautiful!

The latest area released is Inazuma, and while the area is aesthetically & culturally based on Japan, the closed off nature immediately gave me North Korea vibes. The moment your character sets foot on the islands, you are buried in paperwork and bureaucracy to even Exist there, and just on One Island (thankfully your connections get you out of this and it doesn't become Immigration Simulator). The reason why the everything is so closed off is because the Raiden Shogun (the God and Leader) has decided to cut off Inazuma from the world to preserve their ideal of Eternity. It's up to the traveler to fix the problems in the nation (feels familiar) and finally meet the Raiden Shogun to tell her "ur dumb".

Dawn Winery


Guyun Stone Forest



The Characters
Paimon Genshin Impact's characters- specifically how they connect other characters and their regions- are where the series really shines. Sometimes a character will be released that I'm like 'nah, there's no way I'll like this dweeb', before their story quest unfolds and I do a 180. Here are some of my favorite characters!
  • Waterboy
  • I headcanon him transmasc
  • Deceptively Mischievous
  • Honestly could have been Pure Evil if he hadn’t become obsessed with heroes and doing good
    • The world dodged a water sword
  • BFF’s with Chongyun, but constantly pulling pranks on him
    • Sometimes it gets way too real and goes WAY too far
  • Would 100% be in drama class
  • Sweet iceboy
  • Incredibly Genuine
    • The flip side of this is... he's So Gullible
  • I headcanon him somewhere on the autistic spectrum
    • Highly masked & has to carefully control environment to maintain
    • Every conversation goes back to getting rid of evil spirits, which is a-ok
  • When he gets stressed, he eats a popsicle, which I can relate to
  • Foxy Grandpa
  • He’ll talk at you about niche history and rocks all day
  • He'd never tell you he's disappointed in you, you'd just feel it
  • Gave up being the God of Money and Contracts to get findom'd by the Fatui
  • He knows so much, but he's so dumb at the same time
    • This seems to be the Teyvat God M.O.
If you have a little shy of two hours to burn and want a pretty good analysis of Genshin Impact, I suggest watching this video.

little dog in an airplane