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The One Feature Genshin Impact Desperately Needs

Genshin Impact, the controversial action RPG from miHoYo, finally released in late September. While the free-to-play game has received positive remarks from critics, there's one aspect about the combat gamers are struggling to enjoy.


A quick glance at social media reveals that players are frustrated with the lack of a lock-on feature in Genshin Impact. Without it, combat becomes a lot clunkier. Some people have even complained about not being able to see or identify the enemy they're fighting, as they have no way of toggling the controls to focus on a particular bad guy. 

Lock-on functions have become fairly common in action games of this type. Final Fantasy 7 Remake even added one to its revamped combat system, making it easy to switch between enemies and lay the smackdown on swarms of bad guys. As one fan on Twitter mentioned, a majority of modern action titles feature some kind of targeting option, which makes the omission even more glaring.


The fact that Genshin Impact doesn't have a lock-on feature has been seen as a blemish on an otherwise solid game. Bella Blondeau of TheGamer wrote, "Here you have this exceptionally polished game with loads of content, but lacking in the tools that would make that content more compelling or easier to navigate. Not being able to lock onto something feels like a pretty gross oversight, and it's one that I can only hope is rectified in the coming months."

Genshin Impact turned out significantly better than most people expected. The title received a ton of flak following its unveiling, mainly due to its heavy resemblance to the beloved The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In fact, some saw it as nothing more than a Breath of the Wild clone. Fans of The Legend of Zelda franchise even protested at Genshin Impact's initial reveal during the ChinaJoy gaming expo, much to the surprise of the developers.

According to the team behind Genshin Impact, the game draws inspiration from Breath of the Wild, but does not ripoff its predecessor. Though the positive reviews appear to support miHoYo's claims, active comparisons to Breath of the Wild have led several users to zero in on Genshin Impact's shortcomings. Numerous gamers on Twitter have noted that the differences between the two games have made Genshin Impact's issues much more noticeable.


One Twitter user mentioned cycling between Breath of the Wild and Genshin Impact to compare the two. While they seemed to enjoy Genshin Impact overall, they couldn't help but long for some of the finer aspects of Breath of the Wild's controls and gameplay, such as the blocking, dodging, and yes, the target lock-on. Though Genshin Impact has proven strong enough to stand on its own, gripes from gamers about how the title differs from Breath of the Wild now rival those born from its similarities to the groundbreaking Zelda title.

Genshin Impact's lack of a lock-on function likely did not surprise those who followed the game's development. In an interview with Wccftech from earlier this year, product manager Jason Chuang fielded multiple questions regarding Genshin Impact's style and gameplay. Wccftech specifically asked Chuang if Genshin Impact would include a lock-on feature during combat. In response, Chuang said, "No, not at the moment. It's mostly proximity and directional focused."

Though it might have been advantageous for miHoYo to consider implementing a lock-on feature, doing so could have acted as something of a double-edged sword. It seems miHoYo might have anticipated that gamers would appreciate the addition of a lock-on function in Genshin Impact. It could have addressed one of the few glaring issues fans and critics have had with the combat system. However, given Genshin Impact had already come under fire as a "Breath of the Wild clone," there's a chance adding a lock-on function would have invited even more unflattering comparisons — or further accusations of theft. 


miHoYo has put a lot of effort into distancing Genshin Impact from the stigma of supposedly being yet another Zelda copycat; however, it may have to embrace more aspects of Breath of the Wild to win over additional players. Genshin Impact is available for PlayStation 4, PC, and mobile platforms, with a Nintendo Switch port expected to arrive sometime in the future.