It’s finally happened. For the first time ever, after nearly a year of playing Genshin Impact, the new Tsurumi Island update forced me to look up a puzzle solution on YouTube. And the difficulty of the new puzzle isn’t an isolated incident. Whether you’re a fan of puzzles or run to wikis at the slightest whiff, almost everyone can agree that Genshin’s open-world content has grown considerably more difficult. And folks, I hate it.
The Inazuma region became available in July with Genshin Impact’s big update 2.0, which let players of a certain adventurer rank and story completion level travel to the Narukami, Kannazuka, and Yashiori Islands. While the puzzles in the previous regions of Mondstadt and Liyue were always quite similar to one another, Inazuma introduced new challenges which asked you to hit or rotate objects in a certain order, or to use electrical objects to complete a circuit. The new patch 2.2 event “Into the Perilous Labyrinth of Fog” even forced players to complete mandatory puzzles as a part of its main plot.
I’m not against the idea of difficult puzzles, but they should have a time and a place. I was okay with the rotating platforms in Liyue because they took place in isolated puzzle chambers. But when I’m exploring an open world, I don’t want to take more than 10 minutes solving a single puzzle. If I can’t figure it out within that amount of time, then I’m just going to move on and look for more resources to harvest.
This means that my map is now littered with unfinished puzzles and gated content. There are entire palace domains (Genshin’s dungeons) and quests that I haven’t finished because I don’t feel like going on YouTube. I’ll go look up solutions for a consecutive hour when I’m playing a tower defense game like Arknights. But Genshin? Nahhh. I’m too distracted by content that isn’t gated by the size of my brain.
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These domains contain additional puzzles, and they serve as fast-travel points. I usually try to unlock them as soon as possible so that I don’t have to keep running across the map. The only problem is, I have to finish the puzzles in front of the entrance to enter. Apparently, I’m not the only player who hasn’t unlocked them yet. RIP to fast travel:
The loot doesn’t match the effort required, either. The palace domains littered throughout Genshin’s world have always rewarded players with premium currency for completing their brainteasers. The simple puzzles in previous regions often yielded modest rewards, which was fine for the time and effort involved. But the more difficult puzzles in the Inazuma region tend to deliver the same lackluster loot. Some players are motivated by the satisfaction of being really skilled puzzle solvers. I am not that person. I require a very big carrot, and a few common weapon ores or whatever just aren’t cutting it.
The next region in Genshin Impact is Sumeru, which is ruled by the God of Wisdom. If Sumeru has even harder puzzles than Inazuma, then we might be spending as much time watching YouTube solutions as on the actual game.