A story of balance
Balance between allowing the miHoYo dev team to prepare for what is sure to be a massive Genshin Impact 3.0 (maybe by summer 2022?) while not boring/losing their player base in the meantime.
Also spoilers ahead, but I probably didn't need to warn you about that.
Anyway do you like Ningguang and want to run fetch quests for her? Then Genshin Impact's 2.4 update is for you. The main content of this update was mostly frontloaded, so once you play through rebuilding the Jade Chamber and exploring Enkanoymia there really wasn't much left to do other than wait for daddy Zhongli to come home (he was in the second half of banners for this update).
Update 2.4 definitely started with a bang in Enkanoymia (the newly added region), but the 2022 Lantern Rite in the second half was more of a whimper across the finish line.
Don't worry - We can rebuild (the Jade Chamber)
As soon as the 2.4 update dropped, I wanted to do everything I could to get to Enkanomiya- the new area advertised to be just as large and deep as Dragonspine. So I sped through the Jade Chamber quest thinking I had to complete it in order to reach the new area. Turns out the entrance to Enkanomiya is in Inazuma (not Liyue) and has nothing to do with this quest. So with that said, I found the actual story of Ningguang rebuilding the Jade Chamber to be fairly boring. It's more or less a fetch quest with an incredible ending.
Ningguang sends you out to find the materials required for her Jade Chamber 2.0, but it's really the parts with newcomer Shenhe that are most interesting. Along your journey to fetch Ningguang's materials you learn Shenhe's backstory via an opera that Yunjin (the other new character of 2.4) will soon be performing.
The reason that you are helping Ningguang build a new Jade Chamber? The traveler thinks she can provide information on your missing sibling... Which to be fair characters such as Zhongli know more (apparently) but are bound by contract not to reveal such important plot information... How convenient. As I've already mentioned the fetch quests aren't terribly exciting, but I did enjoy learning about Shenhe's homicidal nature which she is constantly trying to repress. Her depressing backstory involves her father who lost someone he loves and puts a curse on Shenhe because he thinks it will help bring that person back. Unfortunately Shenhe becomes shunned from society after being cursed, although to be fair she is adopted by a magical bird and given a cryo vision so I'd argue it isn't all bad.
Ningguang's Jade Chamber 2.0 quest ends in a closing cinematic that comes out of nowhere and is incredibly badass. For some reason the sea monster of Liyue really hates the Jade Chamber and you end up taking the battle underwater to defeat the beast for a second time. Why does the sea monster hate the Jade Chamber? Maybe it's protesting against fetch quests. Either way I was not prepared for this fight at all because there was nothing to hint it was coming, but miHoYo really does know how to display sheer production value at times. We also get to hear Yunjin's opera at the end which is written to sound like traditional Chinese opera. Anything that miHoYo can throw in to accurately represent the diverse cultures of the game's regions is great in my book (eastern Europe, China, & Japan).
For anyone who had already pulled for Shenhe thinking this questline would lead to her ascension materials, I did appreciate that the quest rewards included a small amount for her but it's not really enough without getting to Enkanomiya and defeating the new boss. Still I really hope that miHoYo continues to include character ascension materials in quests that involve those characters.
Welcome to Enkanomiya which is definitely not just Castlevania
The questline that leads to Enkanomiya shows up in your list of side quests, so I feel fairly confident that I'm not the only person who didn't know how to reach the new area at first. Once you do get there however, Enkanomiya leaves a lasting impression.
Enkanomiya does not look like anything that Genshin has offered thus far. If anything I'd say Enkanomiya looks closer to a Castlevania game than the rest of Genshin Impact, and it's great to have this variety. Enkanomiya is a relatively large area to explore with tons of new chests and side quests to work though. The new region also brings a new game mechanic, similar to The Legend of Zelda's dark world, where you have to switch between light and dark versions of the world to solve puzzles.
The overall aesthetic is phenomenal and, as usual, the music is absolutely incredible. Say what you want about Genshin's writing, but whoever is in charge of the music and art design is basically carrying this game. Well that and waifu money.
I enjoyed playing through the brief main story quest in Enkanomiya which uses Greek mythology for a lot of its inspiration. This update also introduces a new lizard enemy which can suck out your elemental energy. This is yet another way in which it appears miHoYo is trying to create enemies that circumvent shields. The anti-shield agenda carries over into 2.4's new boss as well, the Primordial Bathysmal Vishaps (try saying that name 10 times fast).
These "vishaps" are essentially just larger versions of the new lizard enemies with the same elemental energy draining mechanic. Honestly there isn't a ton of strategy to their boss fight which is a good thing as it doesn't take very long to defeat them and earn boss materials which are used for both Shenhe and upcoming Yae Miko.
There's no doubt in my mind that Enkanomiya is the star of update 2.4, although its place in the game is rather fleeting as it's listed separately from the rest of the world map.
Fleeting Colors In Flight... Fleeting is right
Speaking of fleeting, the second half of update 2.4 was focused on the "Fleeting Colors In Flight" event which sees you preparing for this year's Lantern Rite festival. It's pretty cool that this festival aligns so closely with the Lunar New Year, and it's as close as Genshin comes to celebrating events in the real world.
While this event provided a fun way to reunite with all of the Liyue characters, I found that none of them had anything particularly interesting to say. Once again we're completing tasks for Ninnguang (and Keqing) focused on 3 primary activities + a bonus at the end:
Smelting fireworks - A simple smelting mini-game that is similar to mechanics in a few other JRPGs. It's fun that you can launch your fireworks after you create them.
The great gathering - Boat mini-games. Navigating the boat through Liyue's Guyun Stone Forest to start each task was so annoying. Shallow water everywhere.
Wonderous shadows - Novel idea, but I'm glad that the game eventually just shows you the solution if you get stuck. Genshin has some unique symbols and shapes that I just wouldn't naturally think to look for. This got pretty frustrating towards the end of the puzzles.
Oceanic Defender - Surprise surprise, you have to defeat the sea monster 6 times and then you're done.
This event also included a story quest, but it's a story that Genshin Impact has told countless times before. Focusing on Keqing, the Fleeting Colors in Flight quest revolves around preparations for the Lantern Rite festival (mostly tracking down firework thieves). The story takes the idea of "an overworked superhero that doesn't allow anyone else to help" and bashes the player over the head with it. Have you learned about work/life balance yet?! How many times do we have to teach you??!?!
At least the closing cinematic is gorgeous and shows so many loving reunions between the characters.
The events of 2.4
Because some of the events don't have much to them, moving forward I'll simply write a few sentences for those that didn't require much attention:
A Study in Potions - A mundane event, and unfortunate that it was the first of update 2.4. You participate in fights where you can buff characters with potions, but you need to manage your potions through all 4 fights. I completed this quickly just to obtain the rewards.
Windtrace - The only event in Genshin that I've ever come back to play just for fun. This game of hide and seek is such a delight that it makes me wish there were more multiplayer modes available in Genshin.
Eight Locales Over Mountain And Seas - The most obvious filler content that I've seen. The tanuki is cute, but I never wished for a "skip dialogue" option in this game so hard.
The Final Verdict
Genshin Impact's 2.4 update started with a bang but it sort of ends on a more quiet note, which is ironic considering it ended with fireworks. Rebuilding the Jade Chamber had one insane cinematic moment and Enkanoymia provided a huge new area to explore, although I found that once I had completed the majority of the quests and found a sufficient number of chests there wasn't a good reason for me to return. It doesn't help that Enkanoymia is listed separately from the rest of the world map either.
The events of this update were mostly fleeting, although I do have to mention that the new character costumes for Keqing and Ningguang were so much better than the ones previously introduced in summer 2021.
Overall it feels like miHoYo is trying to stretch out as much content as possible to give themselves time to develop the next main areas - The Chasm and Sumeru. Sometimes that works, I did really enjoy the multiplayer shenanigans of Windtrace, but more often it didn't work in update 2.4 with weeks of meaningless events. Hopefully update 2.5 will provide something more meaningful for Genshin Impact.
Enkanomiya was incredible
Windtrace was hilarious (bring more multiplayer modes please)
Enkanomiya can only last for so long and is separate from the rest of the world
Stretched out fetch quests