HoYoverse released Genshin Impact in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly three years ago, and it has become a major hit in the gaming industry. This free-to-play anime RPG from China allows players to explore the vast world of Teyvat as a traveler separated from their twin in another world and interact with — as well as play as — a wide variety of characters whose combat moves are based on elements, like earth, wind, fire, water, and electricity.
Although the story is about a traveler (male or female, depending on your choice) working to find their sibling, Genshin Impact becomes more about exploring the seven nations of Teyvat, learning of their cultures and customs, and fighting the monsters that reside in those nations and less about the eventual family reunion. This game has won numerous awards (including Player’s Voice at The Game Awards 2022) and spawned loads of fan art and animations.
But for those who want to take a break from Genshin Impact and play something similar, here are 10 games you can check out.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild is the one Zelda game that kicked off a generation of open-world games outside the series that were inspired by its gameplay mechanics and/or art style, and Genshin Impact draws plenty of inspiration from it. Link wakes up after a century of slumber with no memory of anything that happened to him, and is tasked with saving Princess Zelda and stopping Calamity Ganon from destroying Hyrule and the world.
Nintendo gave players permission to complete the game’s story in a nonlinear fashion, giving them ample room to explore the vast landscape on the ground and in the air and experiment with various gameplay elements.
Immortals Fenyx Rising
In Ubisoft’s interpretation of Greek mythology, Typhon has escaped from his imprisonment in the underworld and robbed the Olympian gods of their powers and essences, causing Zeus to flee to Prometheus, who he chained to the mountain as punishment, for help to defeat him. Prometheus makes a deal with Zeus that if a mortal can beat Typhon, he will be freed from his imprisonment, thus he tells the story of Fenyx, a mortal who must stop Typhon after escaping the underworld in order to save their brother.
Fenyx gains the powers of the gods as the game progresses, such as Ares’ Wrath, and can upgrade their weapons. The one gameplay element that makes Immortals Fenyx Rising stand out from Genshin Impact is the player’s ability to change Fenyx’s gender (Fenyx is female by default), voice, and appearance. Genshin only allows you to choose characters of different genders. Aside from that, players need to monitor their stamina during combat so that they don’t get exhausted after repeated attacks.
You might think that Sonic Frontiers is leagues apart from Genshin Impact, but the lovable blue hedgehog’s latest outing couldn’t be any more different. Sonic and his friends get sucked into Cyber Space via a wormhole en route to Starfall Islands, and he manages to escape while they’re stuck in the digital world, hence why they appear to Sonic in pixelated form when he rescues them.
Frontiers is similar to Genshin Impact in that Sonic has the stamina gauge next to him every time he boosts or goes underwater, is able to climb up structures, has a skill tree, and experiences the day-cycle, and has a navigation system that leads him the desired destination. Not to mention that the puzzles and challenges he completes reveal more locations.
Final Fantasy 14
Final Fantasy 14 takes place five years after the events of the original 2010 game, which was a critical and commercial failure for Square Enix. The gods bless the player character to time travel five years into the future in order to escape the destruction of Eorzea caused by the primal dragon Bahamut, and must face the threat of invasion from the Garlean Empire as they are working to rebuild the land.
Unlike Genshin Impact, FF14 is an MMORPG where players interact with each other but still allows them a great deal of open-world exploration. However, the one thing the game has in common with Genshin is that it has a games-as-a-service model that contains gacha items for people to spend real money on if in-game currency doesn’t cover it. FF14 has also received four expansions in the last 10 years: Heavensward (2015), Stormblood (2017), Shadowbringers (2019), and Endwalker (2021).
Developed by Atlus, Persona 5 centers on a high school student under the pseudonym Joker who, after transferring to a new school after being falsely accused of assault and placed on probation, manifests a Persona along with some other students, prompting them to become vigilantes known as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. They dive into a supernatural realm created by humanity’s subconscious desires called the Metaverse and steal malicious intent from the hearts of adults.
Persona 5 allows players to go into dungeons within the Metaverse called Palaces, formed by the hearts of corrupted adults that represent their distorted perception of a real-world location, to fight them and their shadows (which are their true selves). Outside of that, they get to perform part-time jobs and fulfill requests from NPCs.
Tchia is set in a fictional archipelago heavily inspired by the Pacific Island nation of New Caledonia, where the titular 12-year-old heroine goes on a mission to rescue her father after he gets kidnapped by a tyrant and his army of paper warriors. Tchia explores her island home by sea (in her raft), by air (with a glider she builds herself), and by ground. She also gains a unique ability called soul-jumping, which allows her to possess and assume control of animals and inanimate objects in order to perform certain tasks, such as a dog or a coconut, to travel to new areas, solve puzzles, and defend herself against enemies.
The characters speak entirely in French and Drehu, two languages that are dominant in New Caledonia. Soul-jumping is also inspired by New Caledonia’s folklore around shapeshifting.
Honkai Impact 3rd
Honkai Impact 3rd is HoYoverse’s sci-fi version of Genshin Impact that takes place 50,000 years in the future in an alternate version of Earth that has been plagued by catastrophes caused by Honkai, a powerful entity that corrupts humans and endows certain people called Herrschers with god-like powers to cause an apocalypse every time a civilization gets too advanced. Three Global factions were made to combat or take advantage of the Honkai: Schicksal, which deploys Valkyries; Anti-Entropy, which uses human soldiers instead of mechas; and World Serpent, which has been manipulating events since the end of the previous civilization.
Honkai Impact 3rd incorporates multifarious genres, including bullet hell, platforming, shoot ‘em up, and dungeon crawling in conjunction with gacha mechanics that offer new weapons and characters. It also hosts limited-time seasonal events that offer gameplay elements not seen in normal gameplay modes.
Honkai: Star Rail, the sequel to Honkai Impact 3rd which takes place in space, is available now on iOS, Android, and PC via Epic Games Store.
Tales of Arise
The 17th entry in the Tales series, Tales of Arise revolves around a Dahnan slave named Alphen, a slave with no memories of his past, and Shionne, a Renan girl with a curse that makes thorns erupt from her body if anyone touches her, as they form a bond during their journey to end the Renans’ oppression of the Dahnan people.
This game has no multiplayer like its predecessors, but most of its gameplay emphasizes evasion, countering, and other character interactions in combat.
Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
Set hundreds of years after the events of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom revolves around a young Grimalkin (part-human, part-cat) named Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, who gets deposed on his coronation day in a coup following the untimely death of his father. He sets out on a journey to build his own kingdom and unite all the world’s nations.
Players can freely explore the open world of Ni no Kuni 2, but they have to complete quests in a linear fashion to move the story forward. In battle, players can switch between three other characters at any time. There is some world-building involved, as they have to manage the workforces within the town to provide materials for weapons and armor in the shops.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a Wii U-exclusive Xenoblade title that takes places on the planet of Mira, where some of humanity flees to following the destruction of Earth by alien warfare. The player character, who suffers from amnesia after being rescued from their escape pod, becomes a member of BLADE and joins the mission to defend their new world against the Ganglion coalition — and explores their environment walking in their mechs.
Players can customize their character’s gender, voice, build and facial features at any point in the game. Just like Mondstadt serves as the hub world of Genshin Impact, New Los Angeles serves as the hub world for Xenoblade Chronicles X. Completing quests, most of which are divided into story quests, grants players experience points, elevating their stats and class.
Cristina Alexander is a freelance writer for IGN. To paraphrase Calvin Harris, she wears her love for Sonic the Hedgehog on her sleeve like a big deal. Follow her on Twitter @SonicPrincess15.