Genshin Impact vs Spellbreak, two wildly different games which both released recently and both feature elemental interactions as part of their core gameplay and combat. The question is, who did it better?
Elemental enhancements vs elemental focus
Genshin Impact allows for elemental combos to be made between characters. Kaeya and Barbara make a good example. Barbara’s ability is a single-target heal-over-time with water area-of-effect. When enemies are wet, they can be frozen solid by Kaeya, or any other character with ice magic. The elemental magic is a big part of the combat – especially as your progress and enemies get harder – but it’s not the only part. Your weapons and artifacts play a bigger role. The elements are fun to combine, but they ultimately don’t feel as important.
Spellbreak on the other hand has elemental magic front and center, for combat and more. Fights are all spell-casting, with players having to come up with deadly combos on the fly – sometimes literally. The spells themselves are more dynamic and physically impressive, turning combat into a spectacle of color and power.
The main differences between Spellbreak and Genshin Impact lie in the combat styles, as well as the party system. Outside of co-op, Genshin Impact has you controlling a party of four characters. Combos are up to you to engage, and you can swap your character out to adapt at will. Spellbreak is team-oriented, pushing you to engage with your squad and synergize for combat – whether attacking, defending or even retreating. The ability to interact with other players’ elements means you can shift the tide of battle to your favor with clever and quick reactions, even when playing solo.
But how does it look?
Genshin Impact does it’s best to incorporate the elements into its combat. It feels like the elements are an extension of the weapons you wield, just not in a good way. It can be a bit subtle, with the elemental magic falling in the background to swordplay. This is more apparent in physical fighters, as Mages like Lisa don’t have a genuine weapon to channel through but will instead wield a book.
This is where Spellbreak has the advantage. It’s a game about elemental mages, the elements are their weapons, and the visuals imbue a sense of mastery over said elements. The mages in Spellbreak bend these elements to their will, volatile as they are. Raising firewalls and throwing poison clouds around is smooth and effortless, but gives off a feeling of raw power. The visuals give off a feeling of danger when engaging the enemy.
In short, both games do a good job of showcasing elemental power, but Spellbreak does it more viscerally and believably.
Does it feel real?
Spellbreak definitely takes the lead in this case. Slinging spells and throwing elements feels incredible. Tempest throws razor sharp discs. Fireballs and lightning strikes have real weight behind them. Even the non-damaging abilities like Tornado-jumping convey the raw power of harnessing nature and making it work to your advantage.
The abilities have that excellent balance of power and cost. Hard hitting abilities and combos take longer to set up, but they pack a punch.
A big thing that helps here is the effect that spells and elements have with each-other and the environment. I can push boulders with gusts of wind. I can ignite a gas cloud and have it detonate. It all just feels so HEFTY.
Genshin Impact takes these elements, but relies on the weapons used to signify impact. The sword fighters hit hard and with purpose, but it’s them and their weapons. The elements provide nothing in terms of weight, and using them feels empty. When I call down an AoE lightning strike, I have to actually remind myself to be excited about it. It really just feels like I threw a battery at the enemies, even when I can one-shot the lower level ones.
I will say that Genshin Impact does take the cake for style, though. The animations are smooth, the choreography is executed well, and the fighting is like a delicate, click-spammy dance.
Sorry to say this, but Spellbreak takes the win over Genshin Impact for elemental combat and integration in my book. Each game has their own strengths with their combat, but Spellbreak was built from the ground up with elemental combat in mind, and it shows. Using these powers looks and feels incredible and impactful.
Genshin Impact is still great, and the elements are fun to use and gain advantages with, but they ultimately feel empty. The combat in both games is superb, but Genshin almost makes it feel like elements were an afterthought, which is weird in a game so clearly hyping up its elemental combat. Anyway, fight me in the comments.
Verdict 2: What should Avatar fans play?
Spellbreak, hands down. If you want to bend it like Aang, it’s Spellbreak for you.