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Wuthering Waves and Genshin Impact can exist in harmony

I had the chance to try out Wuthering Waves during GDC 2024, and despite its similarities to Genshin Impact, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy and play both.

Wuthering Waves preview - three girls smile at the camera with a blue sky behind them

I love Hoyoverse games. I played Genshin Impact religiously until the launch of Honkai Star Rail, then moved on to play that game for over 500 hours in less than a year. I believe Hoyoverse has set a new precedent for what you should expect from a mobile game, for better and for worse, as it seems no matter how hard its competitors try, they don’t stand the test of time in the same way.

I had maybe unrealistically high hopes for Tower of Fantasy, calling it the next Genshin Impact to anyone who would listen. Unfortunately, it drifted in and out of my life very quickly due to its initially messy story and some wonky mechanics that needed a little more polish. But what about another big gacha game on the horizon? Well, I had the chance to sit down and try Wuthering Waves at GDC 2024 to find out if it’s truly going to be a Genshin killer or not.

Actually, scratch that. I’m here to lay down a different proposition – Wuthering Waves and Genshin Impact can exist in harmony. Each game in a specific genre doesn’t need to compete, gacha games that thrive feature unique (and sexy (wait, I don’t think I want to admit to that right now (pretend I said handsome))) characters, enthralling stories, and distinctive gameplay elements, and during my short time playing Wuthering Waves, these things really shone through.

There are obvious similarities between the two games, and I don’t want to be vague, so will elaborate further shortly, but the general vibe of WW feels like returning to somewhere I feel comfortable, with recognizable scenery and a similar art style surrounding me. However, this vibe soon shifts. I was sat with the incredibly lovely Lennon Li, Wuthering Waves’ overseas marketing specialist, who prompted me to use a grappling hook to speedily whip to the top of a nearby building.

Wuthering Waves preview - a woman floating over some water towards an island

This small leap instantly helps the game stand out, the grappling feature works really smoothly, and I’m genuinely excited to whip around again on the Wuthering Waves release date. I didn’t dwell too long on this point, though, as Li suggested I hop back down to the streets below and head out into the wilderness. Before heading out, I noticed a group of adorable kitties. I deeply sighed and told Li I wanted to pat the cats, “try it” he responded slyly.

You can pat the cats in Wuthering Waves. I unashamedly fill in every Hoyoverse survey with the additional feedback of “let me pat the cats!” whenever possible, and they never listen, but now my dreams have come true. Once again, this is something so small and inconsequential, but the little details really matter in these games, and if a game lets me pat an animal, it automatically gets a gold star in my books.

After a lot of pats, I finally ventured out into the familiar yet different world and had the chance to face an enemy. The combat system is action-packed and fluid, featuring some unique elements that help it stand out. My favorite aspect is the echoes, a monster-capturing system that allows you to suck up the soul of a monster and equip à la Genshin Impact artifacts.

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Li tasked me with traversing through a river to capture a creature, then gleefully requested I summon it so we could dance with the disco turtle. This experience was beyond cute, and really highlights what vibe to expect going forward. I only got to see a small fraction of this system, but I’m looking forward to seeing it fleshed out on release, and maybe even catching ‘em all.

I only got to play about half an hour of the PC version, then was also able to have a quick test on mobile as well, and I’m happy to report that the mobile version seemed to run well, as that’s going to be my primary method of play for obvious reasons.

I’m remaining positive about Wuthering Waves, but as I’ve only spent a very short time with it, I have nothing to be critical of just yet. When we hit May 22 and finally get our hands on the game, I’ll be interested to see how it’s monetized, if the story is as enthralling as the one found in Teyvat, and if you can really get a feel for how much love the developer put into this game.

Wuthering Waves preview - a man crouched in front of a spectre-like creatrure

Finally, to return to my proposition from earlier, I know everyone has a finite amount of time to spend on videogames, but there’s no reason why you can’t dabble in Wuthering Waves and continue an obsession with a Hoyoverse game, or even the other way around. WW doesn’t need to kill Genshin Impact, two good games can exist together in peace, and I hope mobile gamers can move out of this toxic frame of mind in the future.

If you’re excited to try the game next month, make sure you take a look at our Wuthering Waves characters guide to learn more about who you may encounter on your journey. In the meantime, you can also grab some Genshin Impact codes and Honkai Star Rail codes for some free stuff.