Games Reviews

Honkai Star Rail — A Review

Honkai Star Rail — A Review

    Last Updated on May 2, 2023

HoYoverse is shooting for the stars with Honkai Star Rail, a sci-fi role-playing game (RPG) that has taken on turn-based mechanics similar to games such as Final Fantasy, Fate/Grand Order, and Persona 5.

It steers away from Genshin Impact’s open-world adventure and Honkai Impact 3’s hack-and-slash gameplay since you’ll follow a storyline through its tightly designed linear worlds. Star Rail still follows the same game mechanics where there are main and side quests. You are still set out on a journey of discovery and are bound to meet a colorful cast of characters on the way. Moreover, it also implements Genshin Impact’s pity system—it is still a gacha game after all.


Official Release Trailer - "Interstellar Journey" | Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai Star Rail may be a turn-based RPG, but its battles are incredibly fast-paced. With careful planning and strategy, your team will move around the screen, dodging and attacking as if you were controlling them directly.

To succeed in combat, you need to have a team with a mix of elemental types to match your enemies’ weaknesses. Much like any RPG, having support abilities to mitigate damage and debuffs helps a lot as well. Additionally, each character has basic attacks, skills, passives, and ultimate abilities allowing you to challenge various enemy encounters and yourself. 

The goal of every enemy encounter is pretty straightforward. You need to chain your party’s abilities together to starve the opposition of their actions. However, having the right elements is not always possible. You may have to deal with attacks that incapacitate, delay, or weaken your party.

If you’re not in the mood to strategize or you’ve already built your characters to hard carry you, simply activate auto-battle and watch the world burn.


If you make smart tactical choices, you can secure a quick victory. However, the real treat is watching the stunning anime-style battles unfold before your eyes. Each character has their own unique abilities that are visually stunning, from strumming guitars to electrifying enemies to time-bending scythes that crack the screen.

Their personalities shine through in their movements and acrobatics, making for a truly expressive experience. Even casting heals can be a visually immersive experience, with characters dunking the camera underwater to do so.

All in all, Honkai Star Rail looks exceptionally pretty. Hoyoverse’s cutting-edge engine renders are really on full display here! The engine renders high-quality character models and fluid animations like no other.


Star Rail is legitimately funny with its comedic lighthearted writing style. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and injects humor into the game by mocking your choices and providing humorous dialogue responses that dismiss the seriousness of the world’s catastrophic events. Like, you know, the Eternal Freeze, for example?

You might engage in silly actions. In one instance, you’re complimenting a violent sentient robot’s hairstyle. The next, you’re sitting on a teleporting toilet. There are also tons of lighthearted messages between you and many other characters through your phone, so take advantage of that.

Despite the use of familiar tropes and memes, the game’s writing maintains a sincere tone for its main characters and central themes. Better yet, the humor isn’t forced and some jokes definitely hit the mark. Even though you find yourself in a somber world or in the middle of a coup, small quips and comebacks are said at just the right time to avoid being awkward.

Is Honkai Star Rail Better Than Genshin Impact?

Honkai Star Rail Character

Although they share several game concepts (and developers), you can’t really compare the two. Genshin Impact is an open-world adventure RPG while you’re stuck following the storyline in Honkai: Star Rail. You’re free to control your characters in Genshin while you have to wait for your turn in Star Rail.

Star Rail’s battles reach their most climactic point when its combat takes on a look similar to Genshin Impact. When characters activate their unique ultimate abilities, they become the star of the game for a brief moment. An animation dedicated to them will cover the whole screen.

However, unlike Genshin, the characters in this sci-fi RPG are not merely key binds for their signature moves. Each character gets their moment to be the linchpin for a specific encounter. This makes it vital to build a diverse team and understand how they complement one another.

It’s not a matter of what’s the better game. At the end of the day, the better game is what fits your playstyle the most and the one you’re having more fun playing. If you’re more into following a specific storyline and the flashy Ultimate animations of Star Rail, keep playing it. If you prefer the open-world setting and the freedom to switch characters while continuously pummeling your enemies, there is Genshin Impact.

Honkai Star Rail Conclusion

Honkai Star Rail’s dedication to its characters, simulated universe, and mechanics is truly remarkable, allowing it to deliver a spectacular anime-style battle set to an electrifying rock anthem. The game also seamlessly shifts its tone from one mode to another, making it seem like the players are on a rollercoaster ride.

Where the journey takes us is a mystery, but its imaginative approach makes it an experience that you wouldn’t want to miss. Explore distinct worlds, discover many interesting secrets, and fight to your heart’s content. All that and more you can do in Honkai Star Rail!

Written By
Russell Tan

A writer by profession and hobby, she spends most of her time weaving words together to create relevant and informational content. She also grew up surrounded by gamers, and it's thanks to this that she developed a rather worrying addiction to gaming.

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