After putting it off for over a month, I finally bit the bullet and started playing Genshin Impact. I’m usually not a fan of gacha titles – hence my hesitation – but everyone’s in love with Mihoyo’s Breath-of-the-Wild-inspired creation, so I figured it was worth a download. I whipped out my phone, snapped it into my Razer Raiju Mobile… and was shocked to find out it doesn’t have controller support on smartphones.
Mihoyo’s official stance on the matter is that we should “stay tuned for future announcements,” but launching without controller support is a huge miss. I ended up playing Genshin Impact for several hours on my PC – after giving up on using my phone – and, I have to say, it really is a fantastic game. From character development and voice acting to combat and exploration, Genshin Impact does everything right. I don’t even mind the Summon system used to pull new heroes. But skipping out on controller compatibility for smartphones doesn’t make a lot of sense. Genshin Impact is a true console experience in the palm of your hand – trying to play it with a touch screen is a disservice to both the game and its fans.
What makes it even more bizarre is that controllers are already supported on both PS4 and PC, so why couldn’t this carry over to smartphones? Trying to maneuver the camera, battle enemies, activate special abilities, evade attacks, and toggle between party members is a bit much for touch controls to handle. It’s still a great game on the small screen, but I’ve found the experience isn’t nearly as enjoyable as it is when hunkered down in front of my computer with a controller in hand.
To be fair, navigating menus is significantly easier on smartphones. With so many sub-menus and long lists of options, simply touching a button with your finger is much faster than scrolling through them with an analog stick. But the core of Genshin Impact, the combat and exploration, is hindered on mobile by its lack of gamepad support. Update 1.1 is scheduled to bring a few changes to the control scheme later this month – here’s hoping we get gamepad support added to iOS and Android.
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Jon Bitner is an Associate Editor for TheGamer. His passion for gaming started with his first console (Sega Genesis) and he hasn’t stopped playing since. His favorite titles include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Team Fortress 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Pokémon Sword & Shield, Old School Runescape, Skyrim, and Breath of the Wild. He can usually be found playing the latest RPG, FPS, or some obscure mobile game. Before working as Associate News Editor, Jon earned a Biology degree and worked in the Biotechnology sector — experiences that taught him how to put words together and make sentences. When not playing or writing about the gaming industry, he enjoys sleeping, eating, and staring at birds.
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