I haven’t done a post about video game music since June? God, 2020 fucking sucks. That’s the synopsis. That’s the main takeaway. Let’s fix that by talking about the music in Genshin Impact.
On the podcast, I made the bold claim that Genshin Impact might be better than the darling child of 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. “Might” is an important word in that sentence, especially as it relates to Genshin not being a finished product yet. But as the game continues to receive patches and new content, I fully believe that could end up being the case.
For those who are in the dark, Genshin Impact is sort of like Breath of the Wild set in an anime world inside of a pachinko machine. Its bright, vibrant colors look like a Tales game, while several mechanics have been developed in homage/ripped off from Zelda — like stamina meters, gliding through the air, cooking, discovering temples/shrines/dungeons, etc. It scratches a familiar itch, one that rewards exploration and wandering out in various directions on the map, all while building a gameplay loop that begs to check out just one more place.
Of course, the notable downside is the gacha nature of the game. This is a sharp double-edged sword: on one hand, the game is free to play, which is ludicrous for an experience that has been so finely crafted. On the other, Genshin’s currency system is pretty exploitative, and if you really want certain characters beyond what few the game provides, you could find yourself pouring hundreds of dollars into this for random chance — or resenting others who have the funds to do so.
Where does that money go besides into shareholders’ pockets? One obvious answer is the music, which is way better than it really needed to be. One of my biggest sticking points with Breath of the Wild was its underwhelming soundtrack; outside of one phenomenal track, most of the songs were atmospheric and largely forgettable. While Caelestinum Finale Termini is a standout for me, there are at least a half-dozen other tracks that have made an impact in my time with Genshin Impact, like the title theme, Liyue Battle, and A Storm, A Spire, and A Sanctum from the same part of the game as this song. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’d sit through a lousy game if it had great music, but this makes a difference to me more than it might for most.
Caelestinum Finale Termini plays in the fight against Stormterror at the end of the prologue, a fight that is repeatable once per week for pretty substantial rewards. It’s a fun encounter, especially once you learn the mechanics, enhanced by this track that features a lovely build-up of staccato strings that swells into more orchestral involvement, then adds haunting but beautiful female vocals around the 1:30 mark that really set the piece apart. Check it out below: there’s also a piano cover that I thought was pretty cool.
Genshin Impact — Caelestinum Finale Termini
Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.