What Is; Genshin Impact; and Is It Really Free to Play

Genshin Impact was this year’s surprise hit, offering an engaging world and fun gameplay while being free. A lot of people have taken the opportunity to enjoy this new title, but if you’ve paused or just recently heard of it, let’s take a look at the basics of what Genshin Impact is – and whether it’s as free as it claims to be.

What Is ‘Genshin Impact&’ and Is It Really Free to Play?

Eric Schoon is a writer for Review Geek and has spent most of his life thinking and analyzing products of all shapes and sizes. From the newest games to the hottest smartphones, she likes to find the greatest strengths and weaknesses of everything she gets and then passes that information on to you. Read more.

january 2, 2021, 8:00 AM EST | 5 minutes of reading

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Genshin Impact was this year’s surprise hit, offering an engaging world and fun gameplay while being free. A lot of people have taken the opportunity to enjoy this new title, but if you’ve paused or just recently heard of it, let’s go over the basics of what Genshin Impact is – and if it’s as free as it claims to be.

Genshin Impact (Chinese: 原 神 Yuánshén) is a Free Action RPG game developed and published by miHoYo. The game features an open-world fantasy environment and an action-based combat system using elemental magic, character switching and the gacha monetization system, allowing players to acquire new characters…


Players discover a huge fantasy world called Teyvat, with over 40 characters and various interesting places scattered around the map. The game features an action fighting style that allows the player to swap between 4 individual characters in a squad to attack quickly with a combo. The game focuses on single player gameplay and a co-op mode is available for some activities.

Players can venture into the Domains, temple-like instances scattered across the map to complete challenges and earn one-time rewards or specific materials required to progress. Once the characters are properly prepared, players can choose to enter Spiral Abyss, a special domain type made up of different tiers of combat challenges, with later, more difficult floors having their rewards reset on the 1st and 16th of each month.

Each character has two unique combat skills: Elemental Skill and Elemental Blast. An elemental skill can be used at any time, except for a cooldown immediately after use, while Elemental Blast has an energy cost, requiring the user to accumulate enough energy.

Characters have control over one of seven natural elements: Cryo, Dendro, Pyro, Hydro, Anemo, Electro, and Geo. Combining these elements with Elemental Reaction encourages you to defeat enemies quickly.

Cooking and crafting are other important aspects of the gameplay in Genshin Impact. During their adventure, players gather a lot of resources, some of which can be turned into dishes by cooking, and potions and supplies by crafting. Vessels can regenerate a character’s health, enhance attacks or defensive abilities, and reduce stamina consumption, while potions can increase a character’s resistance or elemental damage.

Further progress in the game unlocks the housing system known as the Serenitea Pot, where players can create furniture and place it in a kingdom layout, accessing rewards and level-increasing materials.

The fishing system allows players to catch fish that can be displayed in the Serenitea pot, exchanged with each country’s fishing association for prizes, or processed into fish as a cooking ingredient.

Genshin Impact is a free action RPG game released in 2020 for PS4, PS5, PC and mobile devices. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

What platforms is Genshin Impact available on?

Characters posing in Genshin Impact.

In its current form, Genshin Impact is available for PC, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4 and PS5, and will get a dedicated version for Nintendo Switch in the future. One of the reasons for the success of this game is that it is available on so many platforms, which allows its community to play against each other whether it is on PS4, PS5, PC or a mobile device. As popular as console games, mobile games are still home to millions of players and with Genshin Impact you get the best of both worlds.

However, if you’re an Xbox gamer, you won’t be able to access Genshin Impact, and developer miHoYo says it has no plans to roll out the game to these platforms. It’s possible that this will change as Xbox has gained popularity recently with its own products and Game Pass, so we wouldn’t completely rule out the port just yet.

When the game was first launched, it could be said that it was designed primarily with mobile devices in mind as the controls on the console sometimes felt a bit choppy. Having to go through multiple screens to get to the map, a cluttered menu system, and controls that cannot be mapped (at least on the console) made it clear that the game was first designed with touchscreens. For this reason, the community has high hopes for the Nintendo Switch version, which can implement touchscreen controls and even gyro support.

With our list of the best Genshin Impact characters, you’ll be able to form your dream team to dominate Teyvat.

How to get Genshin Impact characters

To get Genshin Impact characters, you need to use the in-game gacha system to “Wish” on the banner. You use the Genshin Impact Primogem to buy an Intertwined Fate or Acquaint Fate which come down to a single wish and can be used singly or in sets of ten to get your guaranteed four star hero.

Different banners feature different characters and increased pull rates, so if you want a specific character and don’t want to spend money you’d better put your Primogems down and wait for them to be highlighted. It’s also important to understand Genshin Impact’s pity and soft pity systems:

  • After nine wishes without a four-star, the tenth wish is four-star.
  • After 89 wishes without a five-star, 90 guarantees five stars. From 75 wishes upwards, the chance to get five-star stars is increased with each wish until it reaches 100% on day 90.
  • After 79 wishes on the standard of weapons without a five-star, 80 are guaranteed five stars. From 65 wishes, the chance of getting a five-star is increased with each wish until it reaches 100% on day 80.

If you attract someone you already have, they will be exchanged for an item that will allow you to unlock the Constellation Upgrade for your current character version. Genshin Impact also gives you five free characters (and one that is technically free):

  • Amber: the development of history
  • Noelle: Use your ten free starter wishes on the beginner banner
  • Kaeya: The development of history
  • Lisa: The development of history
  • Barbara: Clear quest “The Song of the Dragon and Freedom
  • Xiangling: Clean Third Floor, Third Chamber in the Spiral Abyss

You buy more characters from the rotating pool in Paimon’s Bargains using Masterless Starglitter, a resource you gather through wishes. It is a minor twin, no mister Stardust, which is also obtainable through wishes and can be used to purchase both types of Destiny.

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