Honkai: Star Rail is a free-to-play Sci-Fi JRPG game developed by HoYoVerse, the same team behind Genshin Impact. Since its release on April 26, 2023, the game has been compared to the popular JRPG series Persona, and it’s not difficult to see why. In this post, we’ll explore why Honkai: Star Rail might be the perfect game to keep you busy while waiting for the release of Persona 6.
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Image: Epic Games
What’s it about?
Honkai: Star Rail takes you on an interplanetary adventure throughout the universe, where you board a mysterious space train alongside your fellow passengers. The game has a huge emphasis on story, with a crazy amount of lore to uncover for those interested. The game is aesthetically gorgeous with its stylized art style, vibrant colors, and effects. The soundtrack adds to the overall game feel and helps you feel truly immersed in the universe. The UI designers for this game deserve a quick shout-out too, as the menus, borders, backgrounds, and overall UI elements are beautifully designed.
The combat feels great!
One of the areas where Honkai: Star Rail features similarities to Persona is through its combat system. Like Persona, Honkai: Star Rail has an ambush mechanic that allows players to sneak up on enemies and initiate combat. If you manage to ambush the enemy successfully, you’ll start the combat scenario with an advantage. However, if the enemy detects you before you attack, you’ll be at a disadvantage.
Image: Attack of the Fanboy
Once combat is initiated, you control a party of four characters and are forced to battle your way out. The combat system is relatively simple, with a limited pool of actions available. You’ll only have two attack options at a time, in addition to ultimate abilities. The complexity in combat comes from utilizing your party’s strengths and taking advantage of the opponent’s weaknesses rather than purely mechanical skill. Enemies have weaknesses that are essentially elements, which are crucial to consider if you want to win your combat scenarios.
Combat in Honkai feels easy to learn but hard to master, with simple mechanics that offer incredible depth once you get into it. Ability variety, ultimate abilities, weaknesses, toughness breaks, shields, managing skill points, and much more add to the simple concept of combat and make for some truly interesting combat scenarios, some of which are quite challenging.
An interesting aspect of Honkai’s combat is that each character has its own ultimate ability that charges up over time. You can activate your ultimate at any time, even when it’s not your turn, assuming it’s fully charged. This makes for some interesting decisions as you’re able to spend your turn setting up for an ultimate, knowing you can trigger it before your opponent gets the chance to attack, taking a risk for a high reward.
The overall combat loop feels quite similar to Persona’s combat, which is all about strategically choosing your attacks and targets based on your opponent’s weaknesses, keeping your party healed and protected, and feeling just as fun with its incredibly vibrant and visually stunning animations.
So many characters
Like the Persona games, Honkai: Star Rail features a plethora of different characters, all with their own personality, style, and combat abilities. You can receive texts from in-game characters on your in-game phone, making your relationship with them feel much more personal, similar to the instant messaging system in Persona. The characters are well-designed and have interesting and unique styles and aesthetics.
To stay relevant in combat, you’ll need to level up multiple characters since different battles will require different strengths. Each character has a combat type, which is essentially their element, but with a little more
Does it feel like a “Pay To Win” game?
As mentioned earlier, Honkai: Star Rail is a free-to-play game, but like most mobile games, it does have a monetization system in place. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the game doesn’t feel overly monetized, at least not in the early game.
There’s a gacha system in place, which allows you to spend in-game currency or real money for the chance to unlock new characters or weapons. However, the game gives you plenty of opportunities to earn in-game currency, and there’s even a pity system in place to guarantee a certain level of reward after a certain number of failed attempts at a gacha pull. Additionally, the game has a battle pass system, but it’s completely optional and doesn’t feel like it’s necessary to enjoy the game.
Overall, Honkai: Star Rail has a fair monetization system, especially when compared to some other free-to-play mobile games out there.
Is it worth playing?
In conclusion, Honkai: Star Rail has a lot of similarities to Persona, but it’s not a direct clone by any means. It’s an excellent game in its own right, with a fun combat system, an interesting story, and a cast of likable characters. The game is also visually stunning and has a great soundtrack.
If you’re a fan of Persona and looking for a game to play while you wait for Persona 6, or if you’re just looking for a new free-to-play game to try out, then Honkai: Star Rail is definitely worth checking out. It’s available for PC, as well as iOS and Android, so you can easily download it and start playing today.
Overall, I highly recommend giving Honkai: Star Rail a chance, especially if you’re a fan of JRPGs like Persona.
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