Hoyoverse’s All New Honkai Star Rail
Hoyoverse’s All New Honkai Star Rail
Hoyoverse has done it again, they’ve delivered another gem of a game with their all-new Honkai Star Rail game. Fans of Genshin Impact and the Honkai Impact 3rd will both see lots of elements from their favorite games as well as some new gameplay for them to sink their teeth into.
We recently gave it a shot over the weekend on the REDMAGIC 8 Pro and so it’s time for us to pitch in and tell you our first impressions of it.
First thing first, how is it on the REDMAGIC 8 Pro? It runs amazingly, that’s how. Just like Genshin, this is a beast of a game that will push everyone's smartphone to its limits with its max settings. After marathoning the game it did warm up the phone but nothing serious enough to stop us from playing hours more. Occasionally we had a stutter here or there but that could have been our Wi-Fi. Overall, the REDMAGIC 8 Pro crushed it though giving us a beautiful gaming experience for a beautiful game. And it is a beautiful game, just like the games from Hoyoverse, so it deserves to be played at max settings.
Honkai Impact 3rd and Genshin fans can think of this game as something to play alongside their favorite action adventure game, cause this is not an action adventure game. Honkai Star Rail is instead, Hoyoverse’s first turn based RPG and it feels a lot like a Persona game. There is world exploration, but nothing like Genshin. Instead of a massive world with loads of secrets, you are given small but very detailed maps to play and run around in. In these maps are still little secrets for you to find like chests, destructable items, puzzles, and little notes and books with additional game lore for you to read. Primarily though you will be running through the maps looking to complete your quests and to fight monsters and opponents. While the maps have stairs and stuff, you can’t jump or climb when exploring them, so your experience in the maps is very two dimensional.
Starting a fight you run up to the monster and select your attack action, the same action that destroys debris and stuff, to hit the monster. If you do this with a team member that weilds and element the monster is weak against then you can start the fight with the enemy nerfed in a number of different ways and damaged. So it’s good to try and do that when you can. When you’re out of combat your team mates also have access to their non-combat ability that can range from buffs, healing, or nerfs to the enemy.
Like in Genshin, you can run a team of four characters at once. They have different team roles and element types but unlike Genshin Impact, the element types play less of a synergising role than the character’s team role and their abilities. You have all the classic character types you’d find in an RPG, like healers, tanks, single target DPS, group DPS, buffers, nerfers, etc… Each character has a basic attack, a speical attack that uses one of the team’s energy tokens and an ultimate that charges as the character does actions and takes damage. The team’s energy tokens allow you do their special ability and doing a basic ability gives you a token. These tokens are shared among the team so you have to chose who does what when based on how many tokens you have and how many you will have for the characters with the special abilities you want to use. The ultimates dont’ have this limitation and can even be played out of turn order. If you have played a card game like Magic The Gathering, the Ultimates are like an instant ability, they have no care about the turn order can even all be stacked instantly upon availability or whenever you use to use them, even in your opponent’s turn.
What abou those elements you’re wondering? Well, they are focused more on breaking the “toughness” of your opponents. Your opponents have a white bar above their health, this is their toughness and above that is a list of element symbos that show what they are weak against. Use those elements to hit that opponent and you not only do increased damage but you also damage that toughness bar. Deplete their toughness and you get significantly increased damage and you stun the opponent for a turn or two. Some characters also have a passive ability that trigger when an opponent loses all their toughness bar and have a “toughness break”. The first trial character you get will auto attack the whole group of opponents after three of these breaks and it’s OP as all hell.
The Main Character Uses A Baseball Bat?!
And some how they made a baseball bat look awesome! When the main character first picked up the baseball bat the first thing we wanted to do was find a different weapon for him, which sadly is impossible. As everyone will quickly learn the weapons characters use in this game are called “Light Cones” but they do not change the way the weapons look on the characters, so they arem ore like weapon buffs. So we’re stuck with a baseball bat till the end of time for as long as we use the main character. But somehow, they made this baseball bat really really cool and now our marketing team is determined to find a glowy baseball bat with LEDs.
Much like in Genshin, you get to choose to play as one of two twins, either a boy or a girl, with a mysterious background and a mysterious power that is central to the story. You find yourself in a space station lab and saved by people who will be come your first team members. They may not be the god tier 5 stars you can get in the game’s gacha system, but they are strong in their own right and many YouTubers have said how you can complete virtually all of the game with them.
After joining up with your saviors you join them on the Astral Express where you travel from world to world doing good and saving people from disasters and monsters. Along the way you learn the mysteries of the game and yourself, fight monsters, fight in simulated worlds to get stronger, grind, and generally become the best that you can be. Since this is a live service the game the story is guaranteed to be fleshed out with more updates in the form of side stories and additions to the main story.
One weekend wasn’t nearly enough for us to get an in-depth look at the story but our short exposure to was apparently enough for the game to sink its teeth into our curiosity because we’re determined to learn more about it. As an added bonus that makes any story telling better, the voice acting in the game is extensive with nearly every line of dialogue voice acted and voice acted well. As an added bonus, there is no Paimon to constantly but into the conversation, dragging it on, something Genshin players are probably tired to death with.
The story and dialogue is also sprinkled with loads and loads of pop cultural references and jokes. The very first one is a hilarious Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy reference for example. We also caught a good Fight Club reference and a scary little scene referencing Stephen King’s “The Shinning”.
Genshin And Honkai Players Will Feel At Home
You’re to have noticed all of the mentions about how similar this game is to Genshin, and that isn’t just because they are made by the same studio. Besides the turn based combat, the limited map exploration, and the setting, this pretty much another Genshin game. The menus and game navigation as well as character progression are almost all the same. This is likely to be intentional since the target audience for this game are Genshin and Honkai Impact 3rd players. The learning curve for the game with navigation, character and team progression, and the gacha system all appear to be purposefully the same so it’s easy to get into this new game. Here’s some quick screenshots. The names may be different, but once you connect the dots of what boosts what and what levels what, it’s almost a 1 for 1 transition.
For Honkai players, there may be more learning to be done than with Genshin players, but they will get to see some familiar faces at least in game. That said though, Honkai Star Rail is not a sequel to Honkai Impact 3rd. It is a different story that takes place in a different universe, think Marvel’s multi-verse. Since the Astral Express in Star Rail travels the universe from planet to planet, there may be events where it crosses through Hoyoverse’s multi-verse that they are maybe creating to give stories based in their other games. This is toal speculation, but it would be cool no?
Is It An MMO? No, Not Really
A controversial take we know, but hear us out. Just like in Genshin, you’re mostly playing within your own self contained world and can totally play the game solo if you like. For those times you want to play with somone else, you can by joining their world or having them join yours. In Honkai Star Rail though, there is none of that. There isn’t event a chat system, though they are working on it supposedly. Instead the only way you can interact with other players is to friend them through the friend system and then share your team members so they can barrow them in their own team. This gives you some special currency and you can barrow other players’ team members the say way to defeat content. But that is it.
So no, this not an MMO, it is not even a multiplayer game at all really. Instead what this game is, is a live service single player experience. It is online, it has microtransactions and gacha mechanics, and it will continue to recieve more update in the future with more missions, systems, and characters. But it is not a multiplayer game. Thankfully Hoyoverse is very good at making single player games that feel alive and have engaging stories for us to enjoy as well as being fun to play.
It’s a great game, and it is definitely a game you will want to play.
But it isn’t going to be the game you replace Genshin or Honkai Impact 3rd with, and this is intentional. It’s easy for fans of Hoyoverse to get into the game because of the game mechanics but the differences in the gameplay itself means it is there to scratch a different itch, a different desire of play style than the more action oriented games they have. So this is definitely a game they designed to be played alongside Genshin or Honkai Impact 3rd after you have completed or dailes or if you want a break. It is also Hoyoverse’s first steps into a new genre, for a new audience of gamers. It’s a great play for them, and they have done it beautifully with this great game.
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