Chilling in the Megastructure
- Nov 12, 2018
Official Website: Home | Honkai: Star Rail official website | May this journey lead us starward
PC release Date: April 26th 2023
Platforms: PC (Standalone Launcher), Android, iOS, PS4 & PS5 (after release, date tba)
Honkai: Star Rail is a free-to-play (yes, it’s gacha) turn-based RPG that takes players on a cosmic adventure across the stars. Hop aboard the Astral Express and experience the galaxy’s infinite wonders on this journey filled with adventure and thrill.
Honkai: Star Rail is not an open-world game, instead it’s closer to traditional JRPGs with zones you can walk around in to interact with NPCs and objects, solve puzzles, find treasure chests and come across enemies. Combat will start when making contact with these enemies.
In combat you will field a party of four. Characters and enemies will then act in turns based on their Speed stat (characters with high Speed can get multiple turns before characters or enemies with low speed get a turn).
Every character has 3 actions available per turn. A Basic Attack, a Skill and an Ultimate.
Skills need Skill Points to be used, which are shared by the entire party and capped at a maximum of 5. Skill Points are primarily generated by using Basic Attacks.
Every action and defeating enemies also generates Energy for the Ultimate ability. Once the Ultimate is ready it can be used anytime, even out of turn order (think S-Breaks in Trails games). If the Ultimate is used during the character’s turn, it does not end the turn.
In addition to that, each character has a passive Talent that triggers if the correct conditions are met and a Technique that can be used in the overworld and gives you an advantage when it is used to initiate combat with an enemy.
Strengthening a character unlocks Traces, which are additional smaller passives that are either straight stat boosts or again conditional.
Enemies have 2 bars. The red bar is their Health and the white bar is their Toughness. Health reduces whenever an enemy takes damage. Enemies have multiple elements they are weak against, but do not take extra damage when hit with such an element, instead their Toughness is reduced. If their Toughness hits 0, they enter a weakened state in which they take extra damage and get a debuff based on the element that reduced the Toughness to 0. These debuffs are various flavors of damage over time and turn delays. Toughness fully regenerates on the next turn of the enemy.
There are 7 elements in the game. Each character corresponds to one:
- Destruction (General DPS)
- Hunt (Single Target DPS)
- Erudition (AoE DPS)
- Harmony (Offensive/Utility Support)
- Nihility (Debuffs)
- Preservation (Defensive Support/Tank)
- Abundance (Healer)
As a gacha game, Star Rail has a wide roster of playable characters available at release, with more to come.
Here are some of them, the crew of the Astral Express accompanying you on the journey:
The playable character. You can choose Male or Female at the start of the game.
An enthusiastic girl who was once saved from eternal ice by the Astral Express. She now travels with them, always bringing her camera in the hopes of capturing a memento from her past.
The cold and reserved train guard of the Astral Express. Wielding a spear named Cloud Piercer, he joined the Astral Express crew to escape his secluded past.
A seasoned member of the Express Crew. The passion buried in his heart burns anew as he enjoys this fresh adventure. Occasionally, he would sketch the experiences in a notebook.
An adventurous scientist who encountered and repaired a stranded train as a child. She now ventures across the universe with her train currently named the Astral Express, operating as its navigator.
More characters on the webiste or the wiki.
It’s a gacha game. Most of its systems are pretty much directly lifted from Genshin.
It has premium currency used to gamble for characters and Light Cones (weapon equivalents), a pity system that guarantees you a 5 star after a certain number of pulls, a 50/50 chance of that being the thing you actually want and a real guarantee to get what you want the next time in case you fail that.
Premium currency will be earnable in-game by playing the game and participating in events.
It also has a monthly pass granting additional premium currency every day, and a Battle Pass which grants additional resources and a selectable exclusive weapon.
Q: Do I need to have played Honkai Impact 3rd in order to understand the story?
A: No. Star Rail is set in the same multi-verse and Welt is a character from Honkai Impact, but the actual story is separate.
Q: Does this have multiplayer?
A: No. There is no PVP or co-op. The only multiplayer functionality currently in the game is a friends list and you can borrow one character from a friend.
Q: How free-to-play friendly is this?
A: Since it’s not out yet, the real answer is that it’s impossible to say at the moment. However, since it shares a lot of its systems with Genshin Impact, there’s a good chance it will be pretty casual and free-to-play friendly, but not collector friendly, especially at the start. And while spending money is most likely not gonna be necessary to experience all of the content, the game will most definitely give you a lot of avenues to spend regardless.