Genshin Impact - The Wind and the Star Traveler

Yu-Peng Chen

" There's much that deserves appraisal "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the download only release

Genshin Impact is an open-world role-playing game developed by the Chinese studio miHoYo. The game is to be officially released on various systems somewhere in the fall of 2020. The music is composed by Yu-Peng Chen.

The game allegedly copies The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2017 video game, including the music. Now, I do know the Zelda score, but cannot really form a well-based opinion by comparing it to the short music release of Genshin Impact, small bits of game footage, missing out on at least a few hours of music and my inability to experience it in the game.

In the Zelda game, sound designer Hajime Wakai along with composers Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata, and Soshi Abe, radically changed the musical approach to the series, providing a more passive and ambient sound design score with a lot of sparse (thumb) piano and short phrases, even often no music at all, allowing the open world to breathe on its own. On a side note, the series previous most memorable musical change was in Ocarina of Time; the player had to learn and play a series of melodies on the ocarina, an interactive musical feature by which you could make progress. From a small video covering the recording of Genshin Impact's music, the composer explains that for a designated area, during the day, shade and night, he wrote different variations on the same theme. This is perhaps the closest music resemblance to Zelda, as the composer uses the same thumb piano, but I cannot confirm how far it reaches in the end results. Also, given the musical legacy of Zelda, everything is toned down, even the expressive musical themes, still used for several places in the game, they are different from before, whereas Yu-Peng Chen's music is largely expressive in its orchestral scope.

The composer uses the full strength of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, solo performances by cello, tin whistle, acoustic guitar, and a female wordless, to create a very expressive and even quite memorable work. Peng Chen's music is exquisitely lively and divers, emphasized by a remarkably light Hisaishi-an overtone. There's much that deserves appraisal, while there's also an unfortunate feeling that it sounds too much alike notable works by composers who have scored several other role-playing game series, which is a shame given the overall likeability and excellence in writing. Also, the Celtic influence by the Enya-inspired female voice, unlike the penny whistle, is a bit uninspiring.

It is not unheard of to release some of its music so soon (19th of June 2020), but with no official release date in sight, I find this kind of strategy somewhat peculiar. In time, the music to Genshin Impact will likely be released in an expanded or complete version. For now, it is a pleasurable introductory.

1 Genshin Impact Main Theme 1:46
2 Pure Sky 1:05
3 A Sweet Smile 0:58
4 A Storm, A Spire, and A Sanctum (Dvalin's Nest) 3:24
5 Rite of Battle 4:20
6 Knighthood Excellence 1:33
7 The Wind Catcher from a Foreign Land 1:48
8 Lone Sojourner 0:50
9 Happy Journey 2:32
10 The Edge of the Prairie 1:10
11 A Day in Mondstadt 0:59
12 Dream Aria (Genshin Impact Main Theme Var.) 1:38
13 Dawn Winery Theme 1:08
14 Caelestinum Finale Termini 3:28
15 A Tale of Two Dragons 2:04

Total duration: 28:43

(click to rate this score)  
(total of 6 votes - average 4.83/5)

Released by

miHoYo (download only release 2020)