Video Game Review: Genshin Impact 1.4

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Genshin Impact has received its next massive content update in the form of Version 1.4, which officially launched on March 19. 

Genshin Impact is a game I have been absolutely loving for the past few months. It launched on Sept. 28, 2020, and I started playing it on Oct. 8, not exactly knowing what I was getting myself into. What I discovered was a sprawling, open-world, action-adventure RPG. The world design is stunning and expansive with locales based on medieval England and feudal China, and there is a plethora of quests, monsters, and characters to play as. When it was announced in June of 2019, most of the gaming community wrote it off as a clone of a very popular and similar game, the critically acclaimed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. To be fair, it is practically impossible to ignore the similarities. 

One thing included in Genshin Impact that was not in Breath of the Wild was the “gacha” game element. This means that there are limited-time items or characters that are available during events, allowing players to spend in-game currency to “roll” for those characters. When I say roll, I mean they are paying to receive a collection of items that may or may not include rare weapons or characters. This in-game currency can also be bought using real money, incentivizing players who want certain characters or weapons to spend money to receive them. As predatory as that sounds, the microtransactions are entirely unobtrusive. The player is never forced to spend their money, nor are they missing out on the main events of the game because of it. I have been playing the game for five months entirely free, missing out on no content, save for a few characters that, essentially, boil down to how you want to look when you are completing all the tasks set out before you, none of which require in- or out-of-game currency. 

The reason I bring up this game now is because of the current content update: Version 1.4. This is the biggest update the game has received in weeks – and the developers are regularly interacting with and tweaking the game – and it features one of the oldest character events, called “banners,” getting a rerun. This banner features the game’s first five-star character, Venti, a bow-wielding bard with wind powers, and it will be available for twenty days following March 19. Once this banner has finished its run, Venti will be unobtainable until a banner with him comes around again, and the game’s developer, Mihoyo, has done an excellent job thus far of keeping important details like that a secret. This limited-time factor of the banners is what makes the characters on them worth pursuing to the point of spending money – in some people’s opinions, upwards of $1,000. 

It’s not just the fan-favorite character Venti that has the Genshin Impact community in a tizzy; there is another new event in-game: The Windblume Festival. A regional holiday of the medieval England area, called Mondstadt, is the reason for all the excitement. The city is decorated in lovely turquoise and teal banners, flowers, and scenic treats for the eyes. During this event, there are loads of story quests, side quests, minigames, and other opportunities to earn those oh-so-precious “primogems,” the game’s character currency. In addition to being a good way to collect resources to pull characters, the minigames themselves are just fun: an archery contest, a gliding challenge and even a lyre-playing game. 

All this new content after a comparative dry spell for the game has fans ready to jump into the game and enjoy themselves. Even if they have little interest in earning primogems or spending their own money, players can expect a lovely time exploring the festive Mondstadt region, participating in the numerous activities on display and completing all the new story content to experience. 

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