Does Wuthering Waves really take the place of Genshin Impact on PS5 and PS4?

Wuthering Waves came out all over the world during a global marketing campaign that is probably making the people in charge at HoYoverse sweat. The game has been heavily promoted all over Asia. You can see anime-themed ads for the release in every baseball commercial break, in most subway stations, and even on huge billboards outside of skyscrapers. It would be too mild to say that Kuro Games has put all of their money into this open-world gacha.

But since the PS5 and PS4 versions aren’t coming out for at least a few months, does it really have what it takes to beat Genshin Impact, which is clearly what it wants to be?

First thoughts on the PC and mobile builds are mixed. The game definitely has potential—the character designs are interesting, even though they don’t really set it apart from other games of the same genre, and there are heroes you’ll want to root for. With his long gray hair and furrowed brows, Calcharo (who is basically Sephiroth in every way except name) looks scary, while Chixia’s red bob, freckles, and black bow make her look much cuter.

The game’s fantasy world exudes a darker and more somber atmosphere compared to Genshin Impact, which actually works in its favor. The early city location in HoYoverse’s hit game is on a much larger scale than Monstadt, the introductory town. It gives off a more immersive and vibrant atmosphere, making it feel like a bustling and lively place. The vast landscapes seem slightly more bustling, adding to the sense of immersion. Exploring the open world feels more satisfying in these initial moments compared to the initial release of Liyue.

The exploration mechanics have been significantly improved, which greatly enhances the overall experience. In 2024, Genshin Impact may come across as somewhat lacking in fluidity, as stamina is restricted unless you have gathered a sufficient number of specific items to enhance it. In Wuthering Waves, the energy system is much more forgiving, giving you the freedom to easily reach your desired destinations. The addition of a grappling hook and an improved glider enhances the navigation experience, turning it into an enjoyable activity.

The combat is exceptional. Although it may not reach the level of complexity found in games like Devil May Cry or Stellar Blade, this title does offer more depth than Genshin Impact, particularly when it comes to its initial characters. The dodge mechanic plays a crucial role in the game, requiring players to strategically cycle through teams of three in order to trigger “outro” events. These events can replenish health, enhance combat abilities, or provide other essential utilities.

Additionally, players have the ability to absorb echos from enemies they defeat. Wuthering Waves has its own version of artifacts, which offer statistical boosts to enhance your favorite characters in important aspects. One interesting aspect is that these characters can be collected and utilized in battles, allowing you to temporarily transform into different creatures, such as a gorilla to deliver powerful ground pounds or a giant turtle to boost your defensive capabilities.

This game manages to provide some entertainment, but unfortunately, it lacks originality in most aspects. This bears a striking resemblance to Genshin Impact, so much so that one might question its originality. The gacha system functions in a similar manner, and a number of the currencies can be directly compared to those found in HoYoverse’s game. Although the onboarding process is more convenient for existing fans of the game, it is still uncertain what unique ideas Kuro Games brings to the table, apart from the mentioned Echoes system.

The developer has also incorporated elements from Genshin Impact, including the storytelling, which can be confusing with its abundance of generic proper nouns that may challenge even the most dedicated player to keep up with. This fiction is incredibly overwhelming with its excessive lore, making it a disappointing experience. It’s puzzling why this continues to occur in all Chinese-developed titles of this nature.

Without a doubt, it’s challenging to make a direct comparison between Wuthering Waves and Genshin Impact due to the significant advantage the latter has with its four-year head start. Given the immense amount of time and effort players have poured into their accounts, it’s hard to fathom how Kuro Games will manage to attract and retain their attention.

Maybe the true upside of this will be the impact it has on HoYoverse. In a move that shows a keen awareness of its competition, the latter has already made it known that resin restrictions will be tightened in its upcoming major update. Some fans have expressed their disappointment with Genshin Impact, especially when comparing it to Honkai: Star Rail. They feel that the game has lost its focus on player engagement. Given the emergence of a potential competitor, it may be necessary for the developer to step up their game in order to retain their fanbase.