Tower of Fantasy has drawn many well-earned comparisons to Genshin Impact, another anime-infused free-to-play RPG on PC and mobile.
Large open world to explore? Check. Gliding and climbing? Double check. Characters, weapons, and upgrades all collectable via the game’s various gacha systems? Check, check, check.
All this blends into a concoction that looks, smells, and tastes remarkably like HoYoverse’s RPG. Tower of Fantasy may have a lick of sci-fi to differentiate its setting but its gameplay loop distinctly resembles that of Genshin Impact’s.
Yet those comparisons may finally end now we’ve seen Tower of Fantasy’s first major expansion: Vera. Its crown jewel? A mirrored, pyramid-shaped city floating above the desert. At surface level, it looks like inspired, high-concept cyberpunk. And beneath that surface, I’m hopeful we’ll find a new world of possibilities to match.
On the horizon, the Mirror City (aptly named Mirroria) is a sight to behold. An impossibly huge, intimidating pyramid of metal and glass that dangles above the sands like an angular Christmas bauble. Albeit one that was made for giants. The interior is similarly huge, stuffed with colossal buildings and Blade Runner-like neon signs. The inside of Mirroria is so vast, in fact, that it appears to have its own skyline.
There’ll be new heroes to collect, a Horizon Forbidden West-esque mechanical stag for a world boss, and other new creations inspired by Mad Max and Ghost in the Shell. But I’m hopeful that Mirroria will also be a natural environment for exploration.
There’s plenty of that in the base game, and I’ve enjoyed pootling around the map, ticking off exploration points and opening chests. But most of the existing world in Tower of Fantasy is rather flat, with few opportunities for vertical clambering.
It would be a huge missed opportunity if the Mirroria expansion doesn’t correct this, especially given Tower of Fantasy’s inclusion of climbing and gliding à la The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Minus the obnoxious slipping when it’s raining. Yeah, I said it.
The city is the perfect setting for a more dense and vertiginous playground, hiding winding alleyways and all manner of sidequests and goodies. Maybe an easter egg or two – the cyberpunk genre has no shortage of iconic moments that could be referred back to, after all, as Cyberpunk 2077 has aptly demonstrated.
I want to climb to the very top of the pyramid – both inside and out – and look down at the breathtaking vista below. I want to find unique interactions between characters that I only discovered because I went off the beaten path, down a rabbit hole that required some degree of effort to get to. It would be so cool to wind between crowds of NPCs just going about their day.
That may sound overly optimistic, given that the developer has told us little about what to expect once we walk through Mirroria’s gates. But when you’re presented with such a sprawling sci-fi megapolis to poke around in, isn’t it only natural to let the imagination run wild? It’s visual ideas like this that the likes of Genshin Impact and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 are never afraid to capitalize on. And I hope Tower of Fantasy gets the memo here, too.
Pre-expansion, Tower of Fantasy’s world has been fun to explore, but never truly astonishes. The game launched with vast craglands, grassy fields and snowy tundra – all biomes we’d visited before in Genshin Impact and Breath of the Wild. It’s a big world loaded with collectibles and activities, but one that plays things objectively safe.
Vera and the city of Mirroria are well-positioned to change that narrative, however, with a more striking, even dizzying, space to get lost in. Of course, all that fancy tech in the city might be nothing more than set dressing, but I sincerely hope this isn’t the case, as Tower of Fantasy’s first expansion could potentially be the big break it needs.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.