Game Design Analysis – Genshin Impact


Genshin Impact is a free-to-play action role-playing game developed and published by miHoYo. The game features a fantasy open-world environment and action-based battle system using elemental magic and character-switching, and uses Gacha game monetisation for players to obtain new characters, weapons and other resources.

Four Basic Elements

  1. Story
    A pair of twins who travel across the stars and visit different worlds arrive in Teyvat but are separated by an unknown god, who takes one and seals away the other. Some undisclosed amount of time later the sealed twin, referred to as the “Traveler”, awakens and meets Paimon. The pair travel to nearby Mondstadt to start their search for their missing twin. On the conquest of finding the other twin, the Traveler has been closely involved with the occurrences in Teyvat
  2. Mechanics
    Genshin Impact is an open world game which lets you travel to areas in the map that you have unlocked.  The mechanics taught at the beginning of the gameplay includes:
    a. Exploration and unlocking different locations
    b. Solving puzzles to get rewards
    c. Completing Domains and Quests
    d. Obtaining characters, weapons and artefacts and levelling them up.
    e. Collecting recipes to cook food with different ability buffs and materials to further improve characters and weapons.
  3. Aesthetics
    Mihoyo has definitely hit the sweet spot on designing the game’s environment.

    There is no doubt that the city of Monstadt and Liyue has captivated gamers.

    Monstadt’s architecture and characters  are inspired by Germany Medieval buildings were common, with the character names originating from Monstadt coming from German descent.

    Liyue’s architecture, history and characters are inspired by China. In version 1.3, they are releasing an event that coincides with Chinese New Year, decorating Liyue in festive atmosphere.

  4. Technology
    Engine: Unity
    Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and 5, Android, iOS and Nintendo Switch

Lens of Freedom

The game has an open world concept where you are free to scour every inch of the unlock-able areas in the map to search for items, solve puzzles and redeem rewards. Every area is unique and there is an in-game metric to show you what percentage of the map you have explored.

The game makes use of stamina which enables them to scale walls, glide through the wind and swim on water. Players have to strategically conserve their stamina in order to reach different locations.

Lens of Accessibility

  1. Cross Platform
    Genshin Impact enables real time gameplay between users from Windows, iOS, Android, Playstation, X-box and Switch. They have managed to reduce the latency such to give the best gameplay out there.
  2. Free-To-Play
    You can download this game for free and complete the story line without paying a single dollar. The game rewards you with in game currencies to unlock new characters and weapons. However due to the ‘Gacha’ system, the characters and weapons are randomised, which means that you are encouraged to purchase their in game currency to increase your chances of obtaining your favourite characters.

    Overall you will still be able to get good characters depending on your luck as they also have a pity system which guarantees you a high tier character / weapon after a few ‘Gacha’ rolls.
  3. Supported Languages
    Supported Text Languages:
    French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Thai, Traditional Chinese and Vietnamese

    Supported Voice-Over Languages:
    English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean

    This enables people from different parts of the world to understand and play the game.

Lens of Time

You can spend hours playing the main story line in this game and even exploring with your friends. They regularly release events and which means that the gameplay possibilities only continues to expand.

Although Genshin impact is free-to-play game, it has one system that tries to limit how quickly players can progress. This system is called the Resin

The resin is used to unlock and obtain special materials from different domains and challenges. These materials can be easily obtained  without using resin on the first few part of the games, but as the materials you need scale with your level, you will find yourself relying on resin to grind for such materials.

On average, your game resin will fully regenerate every 16 hours, so you have time to explore different story lines and world while doing so!

Lens of Character Traits

Each characters were carefully designed to match their overall aesthetics abilities and story line. New characters and weapons are added to their arsenal every update, enabling players to ‘Gacha roll” the season characters during specific events.

They also have their own unique elements and weapons as follows:

Elements:  Pyro, Hydro, Dendro, Electro, Anemo, Cryo and Geo

Weapon Type:  Swords, Claymores, Polearms, Catalysts and Bows


There is so much more that meets the eye in Genshin Impact. With its beautiful environments and characters filled with their rich back-stories it is hard to believe that this game and its future updates are free. It is an immersive game that will definitely make you lose track of time especially during exploration or just fightings mobs with your friends. The ability to play it in any device, including your smartphone enables you to play it anywhere, with the option of being able to play a more dynamic and high resolution version of it in other consoles. Perhaps the Gacha and resin system are implemented in order to compensate for its free-to-play nature.

Game Analysis: Slay the spire

Slay the spire is a rouge-like card game, with heavy focus on random generation, strategy and synergy.

Rouge-likes such as slay the spire are increasing in popularity, such as those of Spelunky, Binding of Isaac and Darkest Dungeon. Rouge-likes test the player on their game knowledge such as the ability to predict enemy movements, synergy between items etc. Rouge-likes are amazing in the sense that (almost) no two games are similar – your encounter is randomized and so are your rewards. RPGs reward players by strengthening their main character with systems such as skill trees or levels. However, slay the spire takes a different approach of rewarding players by unlocking more cards and even characters, adding on to their potential arsenal. This increases the replayability of the game and motivates players to see more content as they spend more time on the game. We see something similar in another rouge-likes such as One step from Eden and Binding of Isaac

One key feature of the combat in slay the spire is cards. Cards are crucial in fighting encounters. Cards present a potentially deep strategy in general such as those we see in trading card games and board games that we are usually exposed to, but i’ll just name a few. Cards present randomness: having more copies of the same card increases the chance of you getting the card when you really need it. At the same time, having more cards in your deck makes it harder for you to draw other cards that you might have fewer copies of. Another concept of card games is synergy. In this game, cards synergies with each other, as well as the collectible relics you get along the way. An example of a synergy could be having a relic that deals more damage as you play more cards and having cards that generate draws and lower energy costs, allowing you to essentially deal more damage while lowering the resource costs.

Slay the Spire review – an electrifying sense of chaos | Games | The  Guardian
Types of cards you expect to see in slay the Spire.

Lens 2: The lens of essential experience

I believe that all rougelikes, just like Slay the Spire, aim to give the player a unique experience every time they play the game. Despite having the same rules, mechanics, enemies and themes, it never gets boring as no 2 encounters are the same.

Essentially, it is the same rules, themes, enemies and elements, but the cycle of repetition is broken with its unique encounters every time a new game is made.

Lens 4: The lens of surprise

Some rooms in the dungeon are unknown to the player. Possible outcomes such as a random marketplace, events and taking gambles to improve or worsen the player’s core stats are hidden from the player. The player may choose to enter the rooms or pick a different route.

Furthermore, enemy encounters and their respective rewards are not shown to the player prior to the encounter. It is up to the player to take the risk to either fight against a stronger encounter for a better reward, or weaker encounters for standard rewards. Also, rewards are randomised and players are given a choice to choose one that fits their current run or playstyle. Players might also be surprised to see rewards and enemies not encountered before on previous runs.

Lens 8: The lens of problem solving

As a rougelike that plays out like an RPG, Slay the Spire plays out very differently in terms of how it presents enemy actions to the player. In some RPGs, enemies have some sort of “windup” to pre-amp the player when the enemies are about to make a certain move. This is more common in games such as Dark Souls and some MMORPGs, where figuring out the actions of the boss through animations are core gameplay elements. In slay the spire, you essentially can see what action each and every enemy will definitely be performing after your turn, allowing you to play the cards you currently have in your hand to the best of their advantage.

Lens 27: Time

An average game of slay the spire will not go over 1 hour. The game ends when you defeat the final boss and you unlock the next difficulty of the game. This way, it puts a final stop to any systems you have probably abused through synergies. Also, it will not make the game too repetitive from letting the player abuse the same synergies for the entire game.

Also, time can refer to number of turns in this game. Some enemies get stronger as you spend more time during that encounter, forcing the player to be more aggressive and think of how to fit their current cards and relic to overcome the encounter.

Outscaling the Time Eater : slaythespire
One aspect time is used in this game: Number of turns. This boss “Time Eater” will do massive damage if it is not defeated fast enough.

Lens 36: Chance

As with the elements of all rougelikes, all encounters are based on chance. Chance dictates the cards you will get, rooms and enemies you will encounter, what the market sells and the cards you draw from the deck. Of course, chance is something that is up to the player to manipulate to some extent. Players can fight with a thick deck, allowing them to have more tools in their arsenal to fight different kinds of enemies, however, players may not be able to draw the cards that they want at the appropriate time (That may be mitigated by draw engines but that’s another topic for discussion). Players with a thinner deck can expect to draw the same cards. However, that can be a good if the player’s strategy uses the same cards to abuse a particular synergy.

In summary, Slay the spire is game with many mechanics that blend well together. Many different elements allow the players to comeback from a bad run. Conversely, it can also worsen a player’s run if they do not take note of these other elements. Through randomly generated runs, players can expect to see the same enemies, same cards and same relics while having a different experience every time.


All in all, slay the spire presents itself as an unknown labyrinth of characters, bosses, hidden synergies and cards that players will see as they progress through the game. I would highly recommend this to any person who is a fan of card games and rougelikes in general.

The Elders Scroll V: Skyrim

1) Introduction

The purpose of this first assignment is to learn how to have a proper observation of an existing game and deduct things we have learned from this process. The observation will be done twice by me and my friend so that we then can have a comparison from two different points of view. For this exercise, my chosen game is ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’, an action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game trailer can be found here.

What makes Skyrim special is its gigantic open-world, hundred of quests and activities and large community of modding. Hence, for each player, they can have different approaches to this game such as following the great and epic story of the game, continuously installing different mods to enhance the graphic and gameplay of the game or just wandering around to explore the world of Skyrim. This is also the important factor for me to use Skyrim for observation as it will be common to have different play styles among players, which will make comparison be more effective.


2) My experience

Lens of essential experience: The reason that I was first attracted to Skyrim was due to its enormous resources of mods, which allows us to configure and modify the game freely and extensively in various aspects like graphic, textures or gameplay. Hence, the vital element in my experience is the endless process of testing and selecting mods. I can never get bored of trying new mods as the game is continuously changing after each newly installed mod.

Lens of elemental tetrad: the main elements were mechanics and aesthetics of the game since it was possible to completely modify these elements to suit to my preferences. For example, I can change completely all of the textures in the game such as mountains, water, armor, weapons, characters or NPCs. Moreover, I can enhance the graphics by adding different visual effects such as bloom, ambient occlusion or dynamic depth of field. With these graphical mods, the world of Skyrim is redone completely and its graphic performance can definitely compete with every latest graphic-killer games. On the other hand, the gameplay of Skyrim can also be overhauled thoroughly like adding various new bosses and enemies, providing plenty of new quests or improving the realistic experience in world of Skyrim.

A complete overhaul in graphics of Skyrim

Lens of fun: by installing mods, it increases the enjoyment and quality of the game. Each mod will have various impacts on the look and feel of the game, which helps players enjoy the game much more than before.

Lens of curiosity: the large variety of mods in Skyrim keeps me being curious and interested in exploring many more mods. After each enhancement, I would have the desire to find more mods to improve the game more.

Lens of control: in Skyrim, you can replace and modify anything in the game with mods. The control of the game is totally in the hand of players and they are free to configure whatever to their needs.

A complete overhaul in gameplay of Skyrim

A complete overhaul in gameplay of Skyrim

Lens of projection: by using mods, players can customize their character to their preferences. This helps players feel that they are really immersed in the game and one of the many citizens in the open-world of Skyrim.

Lens of challenge: there are plenty of mods which can increase the difficulty significantly which can make the game much more challenging. By having these mods, players can have boss fights which can last several hours.

3) Friend’s experience

Lens of essential experience: On the contrary with my hobby of modding, my friend was totally immersed in the story of Skyrim and its legendary era. He spent most of his time conquering the large amount of diverse quests and the humongous and episodic history of Tamriel continent – the world in the whole series of The Elder Scrolls. Instead of customizing the game, he tried to focus on enjoying what the game provides originally.

Lens of elemental tetrad: the main elements were mechanics, story and aesthetics of the game since these are the important factors contributing to the large diversity in gameplay and quests.

Conquer the epic adventure quests in Skyrim

Conquer the epic adventure quests in Skyrim

Lens of suprise: Each quest can bring surprises to the player from its consequences. These hundred of quests will allow players to understand more about this era and discover the open-world of the game.

Lens of projection: Every choice that player makes in the quests will affect many following events and even reshape the whole world. This makes the players feel that they are really living in the world of Skyrim.

Every choice player makes might lead to different consequences

Every choice player makes might lead to different consequences

Lens of rules: the big system of skills and upgrades in the game can keep players playing for hours to test their skill builds and find the most suitable one with their preferences.

Lens of challenge/ Lens of skill: the strength of the monsters and bosses would always adapt to the player’s current level and skills so the difficulty in the game will always be challenging and requires the player’s technique to be stable continuously.

4) Conclusion

After analyzing from two points of view, we can draw these conclusions:

  • A game may have different styles of gameplay and it depends on the players to realize which one is the most suitable for him
  • The game may sometimes have its strength from the community instead of only the maker
  • Each player might have different lenses contributing to their experience
  • Each lense might have different meanings for each player depending on their play style
  • The process of analysis will help us realize which factors of the game appeal us and realize how to improve the enjoyment of our experience with the game more
  • By observing gameplay from others, we will also be able to know other unknown strengths of the game so that we can try them in the future

Bui Trong Nhan