Genshin Impact’s Sumeru Update Exceeds Expectations


Genshin Impact promotional poster.

By Mariah Shaikh, News Editor

An open world adventure game developed by Hoyoverse (formerly known as Mihoyo), “Genshin Impact” won the Best Mobile Game in 2021. The mobile game (also available on PC and Playstation) was released in September 2020, but has recently released a major update: Version 3.0, Sumeru City and the rainforest, along with its relevant quests.

The game starts off with you, “the traveler,” separated from your twin after being attacked. You land in a continent called Teyvat, and attempt to find your twin with your newly found guide, Paimon.  Along the journey, you visit different nations in order to see if their Archon (God) has any information about your twin. In the land of Teyvat, there are seven elements: Anemo (wind), Geo (earth), Electro (electric), Dendro (corresponding to nature), Hydro (water), Pyro (fire), Cryo (ice). Each region centers around an element and contains an Archon quest (main quests related to the overall storyline). However, only four regions have been released as of now, including Sumeru.

The game has insanely beautiful scenery, with each of the released major regions boasting different styles and a complementary soundtrack. Each place has its own breath-taking landscape: Mondstadt’s clear lakes and lush forests, Liyue’s festive harbor and mountains with amber, Inazuma’s cherry blossoms and islands enclosed by lightning, and Sumeru’s vivid tropical rainforests (and promised deserts), as well as many more visually fascinating areas. 

The first region, Mondstadt, is the city of freedom. Over there, the Anemo Archon is worshipped. The plot revolves around a corrupted dragon, a mysterious organization and the Knights of Favonius – an order whose captain is out of town. In addition, we hear one of the iconic quotes: “What does freedom really mean when demanded of you by a god?”

Mondstadt is the introduction to the game, so the plot is the most simple and involves a tutorial. With each region, the story gets more complex, intense, and interesting. Players go from fighting a dragon to participating in funeral rites to becoming a squad leader. Additionally, you meet characters with unique designs and intricate skill sets, who have their own story quests.

The second area, Liyue, is where the Geo Archon resides. The main influences of power in the city, however, are the adepti (immortals) and the Qixing (translated to “seven stars”), who manage commerce in Liyue. This is due to Liyue’s Archon quest (main storyline) that starts with the death of its Archon, and you being the suspected killer. Towards the end, the plot twists of this quest are astonishing.

If Liyue takes things up a notch, Inazuma, the third nation, really raises the stakes. Inazuma involves the Electro Archon and her ideal of “eternity.” The city is on lockdown, so outsiders have a difficult time entering and living in Inazuma. After you finally manage to get past documents and entry hardships, you soon get involved with the ongoing civil war, and meet “the Resistance.” The war is between the Electro Archon’s followers, called the “Shogun’s army” and those who resist eternity, “the Resistance.”

Although I found Inzauma’s Archon quest thrilling and its plot twists fascinating, I think small segments of the quest itself could have been improved. Some of the characters within the storyline were simply “just there” and seemed to be only present to serve a role. For example, the leader of the Resistance’s army in the civil war, Sangonomiya Kokomi, was said to be a genius tactician yet it’s not really shown within the storyline.

However, Sumeru’s main quest was a vast improvement and was definitely more interesting than ever before. Perhaps it was due to the length of the quest, or all the mysteriousness. There was a lot more character interaction present too. The quest begins with the traveler and Paimon searching for any information about the new Archon, and even acquiring an informative device called an “Akasha terminal,” yet it fails to yield any results about the new leader of Sumeru. For context, the previous Archon of Sumeru had been missing for a long time.

Another fresh thing about this update was that some enemies possess an idle animation before you approach them and trigger a battle. For instance, one of the Treasure Hoarders plays a guitar in standby mode. Yet, when you go near her, she smashes down the guitar on her knee and grabs an ax from nowhere.

As Version 3.0 was the first part of Sumeru to be released (the rainforest update), I think we can anticipate more amazing things to come in the future. The other environmental part of Sumeru, the desert, will be released in Version 3.1; “Sumeru” as a whole consists of both a rainforest and desert. With more information to be revealed about the different organizations in Sumeru, the desert expansion patch will surely be enthralling. 

What’s more, with Sumeru releasing the anticipated and last element in the game – Dendro – things revolving around gameplay and team compositions will become more flexible as it welcomes new ideas. Rather than the new element of Dendro being pure confusion, it genuinely felt refreshing to play and fun to try out.

I believe the developers will continue to exceed expectations as the journey in Genshin Impact continues. Although the game has its own shortcomings, the changes and complex lore displayed throughout each update promise a bright future for the game.