Genshin Vs Wuwa Tale of the Tape – Which is for You?

Written by Lyn Kyoumei

June 25, 2024

I remember when Genshin was compared to Breath of the Wild in terms of being an open-world game. Nowadays, people hold Genshin up as the poster child for beating the copied game allegations, of course, Breath of the Wild was a big reference to Genshin Impact, as stated by its own developers. Although I feel like the tides are changing and people are now kind of up in arms when a new open-world gacha game is announced as nothing more than a Genshin rip-off, though I am torn as I feel like most anime gacha open-world games take inspiration and some elements from Genshin, but they’re not exactly one and the same when you start playing.

Take Tower of Fantasy for example, Tower of Fantasy was heralded as a Genshin killer because it was also an open-world game but with MMO elements thrown into the mix, they had raid bosses and a central hub from the time I remember playing it. When it was shown, most people said it was going to be the one to dethrone Genshin, the one to make MiHoYo/Hoyoverse quake in their boots, but when it was released? Most people just had fun with it for a while, and the Genshin players went back after the honeymoon period ended.

Now comes the newest challenger to the supposed open-world gacha throne, Wuthering Waves. Developed by Kuro Games, the creators of Project Grey Raven, WuWa doesn’t seem to me to be all that related to Genshin Impact. Sure, it’s taken both the best and the worst parts of it, but I feel like they want to make it their own and use Genshin as a foundation rather than a blueprint of what they wanted.

I want to make sure that I’m comparing these two fairly. Genshin is already in Version 4.7, whereas Wuthering Waves is still in Version 1.0 or I would call ‘Open Beta’, with all the bugs that players have been experiencing.

 

Gameplay

Combat

As I’ve played both games myself, I wanted to share what I found most important about them, which is the combat system. In Genshin Impact, the combat system is split between three buttons: your basic, skill and ultimate. The same can be said of Wuthering Waves, where there are four buttons: basic, skill, ultimate and an echo button. While that’s how you’d simply attack, Genshin lets you strategically build your team with elemental reactions in mind. Elemental reactions are basically how the seven elements of the game interact with each other. Whenever you pull off an elemental reaction combo between your four characters, the game rewards you with huge damage. In Wuthering Waves meanwhile, they focus more on the technical skill of the player. They want to test if you understand when is the right time to dodge and parry the attacks enemies throw at you. They reward those who can dodge and parry reflexively by giving them an opening to whale onto the opponent.

Exploration

It’s harder to compare exploration, as I love how Wuthering Waves makes it fun to explore with your characters being trained acrobats and Brazilians who can double jump. I’d say that Genshin’s more developed world would easily win it for me. In Wuthering Waves, you could basically climb anything and everything like a goat, which helped you reach objective spots or parts of the map faster than walking. I should also mention that Wuthering Waves felt more natural to move around in than Genshin. It was less clunky to fight while moving or to distance myself when I knew I couldn’t win a fight. However, the movement is only one part of the exploration. What matters most to me is the world we’re playing in. Even in Version 1.0, Teyvat was full of secrets and things to do with both Mondstadt and Liyue. In contrast, Sol-III and Huanglong of WuWa feel a bit empty in terms of secrets and non-story secrets to explore with. However, it has only been two weeks since Wuthering Waves had launched, so take it with a grain of salt as I have not explored the full region just yet.

 

Story and World

Narrative Style

Wuthering Waves’ story is pretty weak and doesn’t really pick up until the sixth act of the first chapter. Compare that to Genshin, who had a better-paced prologue in Mondstadt and act one in Liyue. I wouldn’t say that pacing is the only issue with Wuthering Waves, though it does feel like it’s trying to cram in a lot of technical terms in the first few minutes/hours of the game. It felt more like an exposition dump than a main story quest at times. I can think of the first chapter of Wuthering Waves as closer to how the Aranara quest in Genshin felt, though much worse as it wasn’t a slow burn.

Another complaint about Wuthering Waves is that I didn’t like the way the characters interacted. It felt good to be suspected at the beginning, and I liked that I wasn’t immediately friends with everyone. The air of distrust was gone in a few seconds though as the story seemingly demanded it. I didn’t like how it was executed here rather than how it was with Genshin. In Genshin, Mondstadt was already a peaceful place where travelers from all over the world were welcome. So, doing what was said to be the bastion against Echoes didn’t make sense to me. I felt out of depth with how they handled it. It felt like a Deus Ex scenario rather than a natural progression, like having Suicide Squad be a good game.

Aesthetics

Oh, can a pastel girl be in love with a dark fantasy boy? From my own experience, I can say that the answer is yes. The aesthetics of both games are almost night and day as Genshin Impact has a bright, modern anime style, while Wuthering Waves has a darker fantasy aesthetic with natural colors and vibrant tones that clash against the natural environment. I prefer the way Wuthering Waves handles their colors, but I can’t deny that Genshin is almost breathtaking and stunning with its aesthetic, especially under the right conditions.

 

Progression

Gacha and Character Building

The pay-to-win and grind aspects. To be honest, they’re so similar in this regard that I can’t even joke about it. Wuthering Waves and Genshin Impact both have the same focus when it comes to banners, a Limited Run Weapon and Character and the Standard Weapon and Character banner. Genshin lacks the Standard Weapon banner, but it’s a small enough difference that it makes no difference whatsoever to the banners you want to pull with. The only difference between the artefacts and echo systems is that to get echoes, you have to explore the open world, while for artefacts, you have to grind in the dungeon to hopefully get what you want.

Another point of contention is that it’s difficult to assess the free-to-play viability of Wuthering Waves, as we’re somewhat in the ending period of the honeymoon period. However, given the size of the world and the generous events that provide pulling currency, I believe Wuthering Waves offers more rewards to players than Genshin. Pulling for characters and weapons is quite different from building them as well, but I’d approximate that Wuthering Waves is better in this regard too. You only need to use your stamina for the ascension materials, and for the echoes, you can just decimate the local wildlife to hopefully get the main stat you want. Rather than repeatedly running through the same dungeon and spending your stamina for the same chances of getting a good main stat, you can just do it once.

Genshin Impact is more accessible to non-gamers as it has a simple but deep battle system that lets everyone try out their skills and explore the more developed world of Teyvat. Wuthering Waves is more challenging and appeals to those who want to test their skills and reflexes. It rewards those who understand and execute their reflexes and mechanical prowess. Both are really easy to get into, though Genshin is more developed and WuWa is more geared toward gamers with lots of quality-of-life aspects to make the grind a bit more bearable. There’s no restriction on playing, you can play one, play both, just as long as you can get past the brain rot and second mortgage you’d take out of your house for that character that rarely comes back into the gacha rotation [Albedo].

 

While some might be a little more invested in older games like Genshin Impact to the point that they can’t let any other game successfully compete against it, I think it’s a good thing that Wuthering Waves is indeed trouncing the former in some aspects. Showing deeper combat encounters, faster gameplay, better quality-of-life functions, and most important of all, being able to skip non-consequential cut scenes. Kuro Games has certainly made themselves known and carried the lessons that many gacha games have taught them, including their own.

It shows that smaller developers can still stand toe to toe even with industry giants, which should keep them from being too complacent with their audience. They can’t just keep being a miser when it comes to rewarding their player base’s loyalty. It also guarantees that the current gaming scene still has room to improve, innovate, and be more friendly towards customers. We’ve seen the same happen in even other genres, like MMOs and fighting games. So whether you like either or both, I think is a good thing. The fact that we have a good game to compare the world’s most popular gacha game to, is going to benefit the public.

So rejoice, as the power of choice is returned to the public once again. Or if you impulsively buy for an attractive enough anime girl, well, good luck!

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