Digital Journal

Honkai: Star Rail vs. Genshin Impact



Which is better depends on you.

Honkai: Star Rail is the newest game in Hoyoverse’s growing list of games under their belt. Though described as the sequel to Honkai Impact 3rd, it’s set in a parallel universe to which Welt from the previous game went. So, what can Honkai: Star Rail account holders expect from it?

While both games are made by the same developer, the games are vastly different from each other. Here are all the ways they’re different.

Combat/Battle System

Genshin Impact employs a real-time action RPG battle system. The player must dodge enemy attacks, use skills, and time their abilities. It relies more on reflexes, mechanical skills, and hand-eye coordination. In contrast, Honkai: Star Rail uses a turn-based combat system. Though characters from both games have regular attacks, skills, and Ultimates, the way those are used are wildly different.

In Honkai: Star Rail, attacks and skills can only be used during the character’s turn. Turns are determined by their SPD and can be influenced by specific skills. Ultimates, like in Genshin, can be used anytime when charged. Still, turn-based mechanics tend toward a more strategic and tactical style than hack-and-slash combat.

Genshin still has some strategy in team compositions, but it’s less punishing if you get things wrong. Having inefficient party members can make some battles unwinnable in Star Rail, making it slightly more challenging. In Genshin, if you’re in a pinch, you can teleport out, eat food, or kill enemies through attrition. In Star Rail, every battle is an all-or-nothing affair. You can’t even use items during combat!

Open World Differences

Genshin Impact has a seamless, wide-open world. You can run from one end of the map to the other without loading screens. However, you’re limited by your stamina, which determines how far you can sprint. It’s also used in climbing and swimming, which are other ways of getting around.

Honkai: Star Rail is also open world but more limited. You’re only given specific areas to explore. You can’t jump, climb, or glide but can run without worrying about stamina. Enemy engagement and triggering combat are also different.

In Genshin, you can just run up to an enemy and start beating them up. In Star Rail, you must consider the target’s weaknesses to get the most out of ambushing them. You can also get ambushed by enemies, but it’s more punishing in HSR.

Quality of Life

There are so many things players complain about in Genshin Impact. It’s so inconvenient to refresh expeditions, change gadgets, and daily commissions take some time to do. All of these things are more convenient in Honkai: Star Rail.

Assignments (the counterpart to expeditions) can be done right in the main menu. It takes only a few clicks with a ‘Dispatch Again’ option. The gadgets are a non-issue since they can’t be used in the game (yet). As for daily tasks, it’s more lenient in Honkai Star Rail.

You have a random set of daily objectives to do. They fill a meter with varying amounts, letting you pick and choose which ones to do. Also, you don’t have to do all of them to fill it to the maximum. It’s also one of the tasks you need to level up the Nameless Honor (Battle Pass equivalent).

Daily tasks are more straightforward in HSR than in GI, making them more attractive than Genshin Impact. Plus, you can teleport directly to Calyxes, equivalent to Ley Line Disruptions in Genshin. You can’t do that in Genshin.

Gacha Mechanics

This is mostly the same across both games. There’s a 90-pull pity where the chances to get a 5-star gradually increase, starting from 70 pulls. There’s also a limited, a weapon (Light Cone), and a permanent banner.

The starter banner for new accounts is different, though. In Genshin, you only have 20 pulls on the Beginner’s Wish, and the guaranteed character is Noelle, a 4-star. Star Rail’s Departure Warp allows for 50 rolls and has a 5-star guarantee on the 50th Warp. It can be any of the seven permanent banner ones: Welt, Himeko, Clara, Gepard, Bronya, Bailu, or Yanqing. They both have a 20% discount, letting you have 10 Warps/Wishes with only 8 Passes/Fates.

The 50/50 system is applied in Warps too. Players have a 50% chance of getting a permanent banner 5-star instead of the limited one. If so, their next 5-star pull will be guaranteed the featured one, which will carry over to the following event banner.

Also, Star Rail began with only one time-limited banner. Genshin started that way too, but it has since used a double banner feature starting from version 3.0. It has used the system since 2.6 but alternated with single ones. From the Sumeru update forwards, all limited banners were doubles.

Another difference is HSR’s one-time 300-pull 5-star choice. When Trailblazers reach 300 pulls on the standard banner, they can pick one of the seven permanent banner 5-stars to have. Genshin did not have such a mechanic.

What’s the Verdict?

Both games appeal to different players, though there is an overlap between them. They have different settings, with one game being a medieval fantasy with magic and the other being a futuristic space adventure.

Which one is better is up to your preference. If you like Genshin’s action-packed and quick combat style more than the slower, strategic, turn-based battles in Honkai: Star Rail, that’s fine. Others would enjoy the space adventure more than the fantasy. A minority would play both, having an HSR account and a Genshin Impact account.

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