Preview Honkai Star Rail: More than a futuristic Genshin Impact? Our first impression of the Japan Expo!
During the 2022 edition of Japan Expo, we had the opportunity to get our hands on Honkai: Star Rail, the highly anticipated next game from Mihoyo, known as Genshin Impact. While the project moves away from the action side to focus on turn-based combat, does the new free-to-play mobile role-playing game have enough to replicate its old success?
- An upcoming title as important as Genshin Impact?
- A game system that is too limited to last over time?
Since its announcement in October 2021, Honkai: Star Rail has already attracted Japanese role-playing game fans and anime-style fans. It has to be said that if we knew we had seen Mihoyo at the head of the project, there was reason to be impatient ” ‘. Launched in September 2020, Genshin Impact has become a major title in the video game scene that continues to make a lot of money every year. As proof of its success, at the Japan Expo, the stand dedicated to the game was one of the busiest, with impressive queues of players lining up to collect exclusive items. Despite this hype, it’s Hokai: Star Rail that interests us right now, as we’ve finally been able to play it after several closed betas with relatively difficult access.
An upcoming title as important as Genshin Impact?
If you haven’t already followed the activity on this project, we remind you that Honkai: Star Rail is not a simple clone of Genshin Impact in a science fiction universe. Instead of action game play and an open world à la The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the title takes the form of a semi-open world where combat takes place at every turn.. During our short game session, we were able to explore the main city that serves as the hub, but most of all set out on a mission to finally try out the game.
Concrete, we walk in vividly fully 3D environments where we encounter enemies that you can hit to have a combat advantage. The confrontation then takes place on a turn-by-turn basis where up to four characters can be aligned. To defeat your opponents, each member of your team has three skills of their own: a basic attack, a special ability and an end.. If the final charges while taking damage, in order to use a special ability, you must use basic attacks to fill a “stacks” gauge. In addition, each unit has talents and other unique passive bonuses to be earned as the level increases.
A game system that is too limited to last over time?
The first thing that hit with the launch of Honkai: Star Rail was that the title was even more beautiful for a mobile game (which can also be played on PC for that matter). With the beautiful cel-shaded style, we often find the paw creating the charm of Genshin Impact, with a character plot that is always successful, if we like the anime style, of course. This visual aspect is all the more visible with the highest skills with very impressive animation that puts the characters ahead. In addition, the latter is constantly recharged, which means we always benefit from it. Some of the cinematics we’ve seen have also benefited from this smooth translation and an effective game that reinforces this strange visual aspect for a mobile game.
If the fights are dynamic, the fact that each character has only three different skills, including one last that is not permanently available, raises some questions. For example, wouldn’t the battles be all the same and go round and round right away? This question is legitimate because in the same kind of experience, i.e., free-to-play role-playing mobile games, we are always entitled to much more capacity to provide more variety during fights. Inevitably, we’ll wait for the launch of the title to find out what it really is and it’s obviously hard to answer it after a short game session of a few ten minutes.
With even more impressive output for a mobile game, Honkai: Star Rail has what it takes to be Mihoyo’s next hit. If the title has common Genshin Impact points like its anime aesthetics and successful character designs, it deviates from its predecessor with turn-based fights that make it dynamic despite their more relaxed appearance. It remains to be seen if the limited number of skills per fighter is less of a brake on the joy of the game to make Honkai: Star Rail one of the new essential free-to-play mobile games.