Posts Tagged ‘Genshin Impact’

A Talking Cat!? (Genshin Impact)

November 8, 2021

Genshin Impact (which I’ve posted about previously) is a cross-platform, anime-inspired game that I play on mobile. It has a metric ton of characters that add to a rich tapestry of emotional storytelling. Stories are told through a series of quests where you often get to know several (NPCs) non-player characters through dialogue and action. Sometimes you are saving the world and sometimes you are helping somebody with their errands. Some of these quests are funny, some are exciting, some are sad, and most of them tend to mix a lot of emotions together. One such series of quests is called Neko Means Cat.

The quest line is actually completely optional as it is an offshoot of an actual story quest. In the world of Genshin Impact, your travels bring you to the islands collectively known as Inazuma. Inazuma is definitely heavily inspired by Japanese culture and folklore. Your goal in Inazuma is to deal with the thunder goddess Ei who is also Inazuma’s shogun (military/political ruler) and see if you can convince her to be a more benevolent ruler and also help you on your main quest line. This goddess (who is only the latest in a line of thunder deities) is worshipped at shrines that scatter the Inazuman islands. Your adventures lead you to Serai island.

Serai Island once suffered a calamity. It was here that the legendary thunderbird, a former thunder deity was slain by Ei after the thunderbird destroyed two of Inazuma’s islands including Serai. The fallout from their battle left Serai island with a perpetual raging magical lightning storm at its center. The player teams with two adventurers named Eiko and Taisuke to solve the riddle of how to get to the center of the island to resolve the magical threat. The two adventurers inform you that four warding stones must be activated to allow you to pass through safely to the center and far above Serai (where you eventually slay a memory of the thunderbird and vanquish the magical storm). They have no idea how the warding stones work but, acting on a hunch, you follow some mysterious footprints.

Following the footprints brings you to Asase Shrine, a small building built into once was the trunk of a mighty tree but is now a stump. When you approach the shrine you are saluted by a talking cat!? The cat introduces itself as Neko and the provisional head priestess of Asase Shrine. Neko knows how to operate the warding stones but asks for your help before she will teach you. The actual head priestess, Hibiki, is away, and in her absence, the shrine has become rundown. She has you repair the offering box so that when Hibiki returns, there will be many donations in the box. After you complete the task, she teaches you how to operate the warding stones. It is a cute little aside in an otherwise serious quest.

However, I stumbled upon the rest of it randomly by stopping by to see Neko again. It turns out that she has a whole list of things she wants done around the shrine to prepare for Hibiki’s return. Once you complete a task, a new one is not available until the next real-world day. So, each day you log in after the start, you get to have a new dialogue with the talking cat and do some simple fetch quests for her. She has you clean up piles of leaves, do more carpentry work, decorating, gathering Neko’s kittens, and feeding Neko and her kittens. One of the big quests she has for you is to find a stone worker to create a statue in Neko’s shape. You bring an artisan to her shrine and the startled artist agrees to make the statue. After the shrine is all fixed up, Neko will grow impatient waiting for Hibiki (remember it’s been at least a week since you started the quest line).

You travel to the largest shrine in Inazuma and speak to the priestess there. You inquire after Hibiki and the priestess tells you a story of a Hibiki who was famous over four hundred years ago. That Hibiki suffered a setback and set sail back toward Asase Shrine but obviously never made it back. Neko is confused and you are able to prevent the priestess from declaring that Hibiki is probably dead. Neko wishes to go back home to Asase Shrine and wait for Hibiki, muttering to herself that Hibiki sure likes to go where she pleases. It is left a mystery about what happened to Hibiki but it does not look good.

Neko is a really fun character. Neko basically acts with the personality that most of us project onto cats. She is somewhat imperious but ultimately kind and loyal. She orders you and the stone carver around but she is obviously not mean about it. She just expects you to do what she tells you. She marvels at the things that humans waste their time on and does not completely understand how the shrine or other human things operate. She seems quite contented with herself and lounges around the abandoned Asase Shrine with a host of other cats and kittens. Everybody who meets Neko (you, your fairy companion, the two adventurers, the stone carver, and the priestess) are astonished that she can talk. Talking cats are not normal, apparently. She is also apparently over four hundred years old. None of that seems to be weird to Neko and she chides people for wasting time wondering at such things.

Genshin Impact

July 26, 2021

I have been playing this game on mobile and I have meant to talk about it. Now that they have recently added both a lawyer character and a warrior poet, I feel like it may be time. A lot of people thought that Genshin Impact was just a clone of Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. In all fairness to those people, the game does have several similarities. The animation style feels similar although the designs are a bit sharper. The hack and slash style of combat feels somewhat similar on the surface. Both games also use a glider for transportation. Still, I feel like they were able to make their own thing.

The game takes place in the fantasy land of Tevyat, a magical place. You play as an outsider, an interdimensional traveler. You choose whether you play the brother or the sister. Your sibling and you are attacked by a godlike figure and are separated. You are joined with a cute little impish character named Paimon who names herself your guide to Tevyat. In Tevyat, heroes are chosen by fate in intense moments. They are granted gems called Visions which grant elemental superpowers. Those powers are divided into seven elements: Pyro, Hydro, Electro, Anemo (wind), Dendro (plants), Cryo, and Geo (Earth). Your main character is able to use elemental powers without a vision which is strange.

You are almost instantly swept up in a crisis in Mondstadt, the City of Freedom. Mondstadt is a land that seems to be inspired by a pastiche of European cultures. It became the City of Freedom when it liberated itself from the nobility that ruled it. Now the city seems to be governed and managed between four groups. The church, the Favonius Guard, the Winery, and the Adventurer’s Guild. They worship a god of wind who is missing but there is a bit of a dragon problem. Luckily, you resonate with the power of wind and quickly make friends with the defenders of Mondstadt. Together, the dragon problem seems a bit easier to handle. You go through many missions to help to purify the dragon from corruption rather than kill it, winning the hearts of Mondstadt.

Your search for your sibling leads you far afield and you end up crossing into the land of Liyue, a pastiche of Asian cultures. You start getting involved in things when you witness the death of Liyue’s God of Geo. You start learning more about Liyue which is the City of Contracts and thus a more rigid and formal society. Liyue is ruled over by a combination of human bureaucracy and a group of demigods. You start ingratiating yourself with both groups and figuring out how they can help you. Along the way, you find yourself combatting the enemy forces from a land called Snezhnaya (probably based on Russia). You help save Liyue from a massive attack from Snezhnaya and forever ingratiate yourself to the people of Liyue.

That is kind of where the story is now. There is more investigation into your sibling and their connection to a sinister cult but that is really just getting started. The game is kept busy with constant updates of events and new characters. The game is a “gacha” which means you are constantly rolling the dice for new characters and upgrades. You can pay to get ahead but I play completely free. A lot of the gameplay derives from assembling a team of four characters. Combat strategy comes from combining their elemental strengths for more damage.

My current favorite characters are:

Razor – A young man who was literally raised by wolves and gained an animalistic Electro Vision to protect his adopted family. He wields a great sword and speaks in broken English since he mostly speaks wolf.

Qiqi – A zombie girl who spends everyday trying to keep her body and mind from regressing into true death. Her day job is at a pharmacy. She uses a sword and heals with her Cryo Vision.

Yanfei – A legal advisor who acts as a constant champion for the people of Liyue by using her vast knowledge and keen observational skills to settle disputes in favor of the vulnerable. She uses a Pyro Vision and hurls fire with the help of her spell focus.

Barbara – A nun/idol of Mondstadt who heals with the help of her music and her Hydro Vision. She is somewhat naive but caring and optimistic and is in high demand.

Qaddriyah Comes to Monstadt – A Genshin Impact Story

April 20, 2021

Qaddriyah walked slowly into the market of Monstadt, a picture of grace and tranquility. She drew plenty of unwanted attention from locals and tourists alike. She wondered if it was because she wore a hood and veil or if it was the glowing green Vision dangling from the amulet on her belt. She shrugged and figured that it was probably a bit of both. She probably looked quite foreign even to the most worldly citizens of Monstadt and Liyue. In no hurry, she headed over toward a sign that read With Wind Comes Glory which looked like a souvenir shop. A smiling brunette wearing an apron was assisting another customer so Qaddriyah waited her turn.

She felt a tug on her belt and realized immediately that some ruffian was trying to take off with her money purse. She instantly lashed out her hand and a thorn whip magically formed and surrounded her target in an explosion of rose petals. As the thorns sank into the young man’s skin, he yelped and dropped the purse but he could not extricate himself from the vine to run away. A fiery arrow came from above and Qaddriyah’s whip instantly burned up in the sudden heat. The young thief scampered off as Qaddriyah shielded her eyes from the sun and looked up to see a young woman dressed in red, holding a bow and looking fierce.

“Stay where you are,” the woman said. “Only the Knights of Favonius can use a Vision within Monstadt’s walls.” Everybody on the street froze for a moment and then moved away from Qaddriyah, getting out of range of the target.

“The ruffian was trying to rob me,” Qaddriyah said calmly but indignantly. “I was merely trying to teach him a lesson. The lesson is taught, I am satisfied.” She kept her hands visible as she faced down this archer.

“Rules are rules,” the woman said. “We’ll just have a chat back at headquarters and clear all of this up. You’re not in any major trouble. I promise.”

“But I could be if I don’t watch myself?” Qaddriyah said softly, narrowing her eyes. “I will behave.”

“So distrustful,” the woman said, gliding down from her perch. “Relax. My name is Amber, Outrider of the Knights of Favonius.”

“My name is Qaddriyah,” she said. “of Sumeru.” She was not sure how much of her story to offer upfront.

“Can you state your business here in Monstadt?” Amber asked with a smile but her eyes were definitely studying the foreigner.

“I am here in search of Lisa,” Qaddriyah said. “We went to school together and I need her help.”

“Hmm,” Amber said, relaxing a bit. “Let’s go see Lisa then. She’s at headquarters anyway. Maybe we can just forget that this whole thing happened.”

“That would be agreeable,” Qaddriyah said. She knew that she was hard to read with her face covered. She tried to convey everything through her eyes. “Lead the way and I will follow.”

Amber turned and gestured for Qaddriyah to follow her and they walked through town to the headquarters of the Knights. Amber lead the way directly to the library where Lisa was dosing a little at a desk.

“Lisa?” Amber asked. “Do you know this woman?”

Lisa snapped awake and tilted her hat back on her head as she yawned. She spotted Qaddriyah and her eyes went wide and she smiled. “Qaddri!” she said in her best librarian “shout”. “How are you, cutie?”

Qaddriyah was thankful that her veil hid her blush. “I am well,” she said. “but I need your help.” At last, she was standing before her old schoolmate and everything was going to be alright.

“What can I do for you?” Lisa asked. She put a bookmark in an old book and slowly closed it.

“I need your help back in Sumeru,” Qaddriyah asked calmly. She knew how eager Lisa had been to leave Sumeru and she suspected the mage would not want to return. Still, she had to ask.

“Ooh,” Lisa said with a frown. “That might be difficult to manage but if you really need help, I do have the perfect person for you to meet. They have been very helpful around here.”

“Should I go fetch The Honorary Knight?” Amber asked.

“I think you should,” Lisa said. “I’ll pour the tea. Come, Qaddri, let’s catch up.”


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