There’s been a lot of talk since release about how Genshin Impact is supposedly just a clone of Breath of the Wild. You can find this kind of sentiment everywhere, from big news outlets to the Reddit dungeon trolls. Even those who instantly fell in love with Genshin Impact cannot help but draw comparisons.
Genshin Impact is a good game with a lot to offer from a sprawling open world to warriors and waifus. Sure, the open world is mostly wilderness in the same style as BOTW. And sure there’s ingredient gathering mechanics that work hand in hand with a recipe and cooking system. And yeah, so what if it has the same intro to the game where they zoom out from the player to showcase the vast wilderness with your central location in the distance, and that is pretty much the exact same concept from Breath of the Wild, evoking that same feeling of hopeful exploration that will keep you busy for hours and days just running, jumping and climbing to find new locations and hidden secrets that make the world feel full and alive?
Okay, think I got a little carried away there. My point is, Genshin Impact and Breath of the Wild do harbor many similarities to one another, but that doesn’t make it a ripoff. By that logic most games are really just ripoffs of each other right? Like some kind of weird 7 degrees of separation for gaming – except it’s like, one degree. Genshin Impact stands on its own as a fleshed out game with its own attractions as fun little tidbits – so let’s explore them, shall we?
First off, waifus
Yeah, you saw this coming. The biggest difference between the games is the myriad of waifus (and like four husbandos who don’t matter because Diluc exists). Genshin lets you play with 23 characters, Breath of the Wild gives you one. We’ve done the math: 1 is significantly less than 23.
Breath of the Wild has a singular protagonist that the game revolves around and that’s it. Players go through the game unlocking more and more lore surrounding Link and Hyrule’s past and present. You figure out his backstory and his place in the past he left behind. At the same time you’re meeting characters with various links to you, whether they know you personally or not.
Genshin Impact twists this quite a bit. You still have a central protagonist of your choice, but you play through the game as any four characters. You can even remove the protagonist from your party entirely, which is kind of funny. The best part is having to go speak to a character, while actively playing them. I can only imagine the universe-unraveling implications that this has.
Map challenges and secrets
Both games have many little points of interest, which range from collectibles to big-boi bosses. The difference here is that Genshin Impact has the wider variety of those, with combat challenges and and more thrown into the mix.
Both games have huge maps with lots to do, but where Genshin Impact‘s map is smaller, it makes up for it with content. You never know what you’ll find, and pretty much everything rewards you handsomely. Nice little tickling of the little pleasure center in your brain.
Combat and gameplay
Okay yes, most parts of the gameplay are similar or even the same, but hear me out. For one, the elemental elements of Breath of the Wild are left to weapons and arrows. The elements function how you think they would, and interplay with each-other pretty well. Genshin Impact does the same kind of thing, except characters determine elements.
Breath of the Wild’s combat system is pretty intricate, with every sword, spear, shield and bow having a limited use. While aggravating, this ultimately helps your experience – just remember that next time you die eight times in a row to the same Lynel.
You’re always looking to combo and get those flurries to deal tons of damage – all the while you may also be trying to preserve your best weapons. This is a delicate balance for sure.
On the other hand, Genshin Impact has an upgrade system for weapons and characters: collect duplicates and merge them into one in order to strengthen it. The combat can stay pretty fresh for a while too, seeing as you’re constantly swapping through characters. With different combos and fighting styles between characters, it can sometimes seem more like a dance than a fight to the death.
Yeah, Genshin actually does have a battle pass. I still don’t personally see the purpose of it, but it’s there. And the gacha is not required for playing or enjoying the game. Even if gacha games aren’t your thing – they certainly aren’t mine – you barely even think about that part half the time. It’s almost as if they added gacha elements afterward for that sweet, sweet dosh.
They’re really different games when you think about it
Soooo yeah. While super similar, Genshin Impact and Breath of the Wild truly are quite different. Genshin Impact may have borrowed heavily from Breath of the Wild, but it works hard to make those elements further its own unique, sinister agenda.
If anything, Genshin Impact presents a fun diversion for Breath of the Wild players eager for a slight change of scenery.