With the possible exception of Gwent, mini-games inside open world RPGs tend to suck. They're often poor imitations of much deeper and exciting board and card games you can play in the real world, offered as an unwanted break from the monsters I've come to stick a sword through. Will Genshin Impact's upcoming Genius Invokation TCG buck that trend?
Probably not, no, but we'll know for sure when the Version 3.3 update lands on December 7th. There's also a new quest that takes place after the game's main storyline, a couple new playable characters, and a Breakout mini-game. Ah. I do actually quite like Breakout.
I've got very little idea what was going on in the first half of that, but I did enjoy the extended shots of Faruzan the enigmatic machinist wailing on a mushroom.
You'll be able to play Genius Invokation against both players and NPCs, defeating the latter to redeem new cards and skins. The aim is to defeat your opponent's three character cards, namely by swapping your own characters around "to trigger Elemental Reactions" while "applying buffs and effects with Action Cards". Mirroring the character-swapping and element-comboing from the main game's combat is a neat idea, though the glimpse of the card game in the trailer above looks mighty dry. We'll see!
The new "Archon Quest Interlude Chapter" is called "Inversion of Genesis", and sees you head off "to Irminsul with the Wanderer". The Wanderer's identity seems too spoilerful for me to lay out here, but I can tell you he's a playable five-star Anemo catalyst wielder, and that he's joined by Faruzun, a four-star Anemo archer. I cannot tell you what most of the means.
There'll be a few more mini-games, too, including a "brick-breaker" Breakout copycat and some timed balloon-collection trials. Hide-and-seek game "Windtrace" and the "Misty Dungeon" combat challenge will also return with new updates.
On a personal note, I spent the last 6 months sweating in Thai classrooms, pleading with 13-year olds to stop playing Genshin Impact on their phones. I hope their stupid card game turns out rubbish.
You can download Genshin Impact for free here.