Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact is now out, and holy gosh darn, this thing gorgeous! Seriously, this is an undeniably pretty game.

The visual style is being compared to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it’s hard to argue with that. It has a similar washed-out cartoon look, filled with bright colors and impressive levels of detail. And Genshin Impact takes some design hints from Breath of the Wild as well, such as its stamina-based climbing system and its hang-gliding traversal.

And, I mean, just look at this bandit camp.

Genshin Impact

I’ve barely scratched the surface of Genshin Impact so far, but it’s hard to believe that this is a free-to-play title. Everything looks so good. The menus are well-designed and, thus far, the microtransaction elements haven’t gotten in the way (this could always change once I’m 20 hours deep, as is often the case with these sorts of games). Still, in watching the trailer, and playing about two hours of the game (which I mostly spent just wandering around and gawking at all the beautiful things), I’m constantly perplexed by the fact that this is free to play.

Now, I get it. Developers don’t look at a game they’re making and say, “This game is kind of ugly, so maybe it should be free to play,” or, “Man, this game is pretty; let’s charge money for it!” That’s not how game development works. Still, when I fire up Genshin Impact, I’m perpetually amazed at how beautiful it is. And then I remember that I didn’t pay a dime for it, and I’m amazed all over again.

I’m very much still in my honeymoon phase with Genshin Impact, so perhaps I’m just feeling all mushy and ooey-gooey over the fact that I just started playing a new game that seems like it will offer countless hours of enjoyment.

But, I mean, just look at this trailer and tell me this doesn’t look like a full-price triple-A release.

You can’t do it without being a liar! You can’t! Genshin Impact is just too gosh-dang pretty. And it’s free. And you should be playing it right now.

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