Breath of the Wild on PC? Just play Genshin Impact, it’s basically the same thing.

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Chinese developer miHoYo seems to have taken a little more than pure inspiration from Nintendo’s incredibly successful open-world experience.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was, surprising absolutely no-one, a huge hit when it released two years ago. It’s use of emergent gameplay systems and an open world that truly defined the “See that mountain? You can climb it” cliché that developers love to throw around. It’s no surprise then that others would start to learn some lessons from what BotW did so well and that seems to be exactly what Chinese based studio miHoYo has in mind with their latest game Genshin Impact. Except, maybe they’re a little too committed to following in Nintendo’s tracks…

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Just from the outset, it’s clear how much of this game is a blatant clone of Breath of the Wild. You got the climbing, the gliding, the stamina meter that empties over time for both activities, the giant robots shooting lasersHell, even that soft-toned cell shading and colour palette are remarkably close to Breath of the Wild. This has stirred up some controversy around the Chinese game industry, with many saying that there needs to be a greater emphasis on original concepts rather than imitations. In response to allegations of plagiarism, miHoYo has issued a statement saying that they merely took inspiration from The Legend of Zelda and other successful open world games.

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Look, Genshin Impact looks similar to Breath of the Wild, and there’s no doubt that at least some of its symptoms were inspired by Zelda, but in its defence, it looks like a more party-based, narrative-driven action RPG than an open-world sandbox. I’ll leave the trailer here and let you make up your mind on whether this is a case of copied homework or an attempt to grow the formula.

Last Updated: June 27, 2019

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