Honkai: Star Rail (Chinese: 崩坏:星穹铁道; pinyin: Bēnghuài: Xīngqióng Tiědào; lit. 'Honkai: Star Dome Railway') is a role-playing gacha video game developed by miHoYo, published by miHoYo in mainland China and worldwide by Cognosphere, d/b/a HoYoverse. It was released on April 26, 2023, for Windows and mobile devices; a port for PlayStation 5 is planned with a release date of October 11, 2023, while the PlayStation 4 version is still yet to be announced, as revealed at the latest Summer Game Fest with a trailer.[2] It is the fourth installment in the Honkai series, drawing on characters from Honkai Impact 3rd and gameplay elements from Genshin Impact.

Honkai: Star Rail
  • CHN: miHoYo
  • WW: HoYoverse
Producer(s)David Jiang[1]
  • Cui Hanpu
  • Cui Wei
  • Lin Yifan
  • Gong Qi
  • Wang Kexin
  • Wang Yujue
  • Wen Chi
  • Windows, iOS, Android
  • April 26, 2023
  • PS5
  • October 11, 2023

Gameplay Edit

A battle in Honkai: Star Rail, showcasing its turn-based combat system

Honkai: Star Rail follows the gameplay style of classic Japanese role-playing games: players build up a lineup of characters, and control a team of four in turn-based combat.[3][4] Elements of open-world and dungeon exploration are present, with multiple mechanics, including the gacha system, carried over from HoYoverse's previous action RPG Genshin Impact.[3]

Story and setting Edit

The game is set in a science-fantasy universe in which humanity and other sentient beings follows the paths of beings called Aeons. The player character, the Trailblazer, whose name and gender are chosen by the player, awakens without their memory aboard a space station and discovers that they are imbued with a Stellaron, a disruptive cosmic entity. They join a band of adventurers, the Trailblazers, traveling from world to world aboard the Astral Express, their space train.

The Trailblazer wakes up and meets two members of the crew, March 7 and Dan Heng. Both are traveling on the Astral Express, a large cosmic train that travels the universe along the eponymous "Star Rail". After eliminating the remaining threats, the Trailblazer meets Himeko, the Astral Express's navigator, and Welt, an interstellar traveler from the Honkai Impact 3rd world. In an attempt to discover their origins and eliminate the threats of the remaining Stellarons, the Trailblazer departs with the Astral Express crew.

Their first destination is Jarilo-VI, a planet that has been mostly ravaged by the Eternal Freeze, an uninhabitable winter due to the power of a Stellaron. As the crew nears the capital city of Belobog to resolve the Stellaron affair, they are declared fugitives by Supreme Guardian Cocolia due to a mysterious voice from the Stellaron, and escape underground where they learn of the peacekeeping Wildfire and their ongoing conflict with Svarog, the leader of the robots, who has repeatedly rejected peace talks. After settling their differences, the crew returns to the surface to face Cocolia, who merges herself with the Stellaron. The crew defeats her, and Bronya, Cocolia’s adoptive daughter, takes her place as the new Supreme Guardian while announcing plans to bridge the two areas.

Following the conclusion of the Jarilo-VI storyline, the crew receives a signal from Kafka, who wants the crew to settle a Stellaron incident on the Xianzhou Luofu (Chinese: 仙舟:罗浮; pinyin: Xiānzhōu: Luófú; lit. 'Fairy Boat: Luofu'[5]). As they arrive, they are not permitted to assist in Stellaron affairs but are instead tasked by Cloud Knight general Jing Yuan to weed out Kafka and her Stellaron Hunter cohort Blade, as their presence on the ship is deemed a threat. Upon the crew finding Kafka, she revealed that her job was finished the moment the Trailblazer arrived on the Xianzhou Luofu, an action foreseen by her boss, Elio. With the Disciples of Sanctus Medicus and Lord Ravager Phantylia now out of the shadows, Dan Heng reveals his Imbibitor Lunae lineage and assists Jing Yuan and the rest of the Trailblazers in fighting her, resulting in her temporary retreat. After the end of the conflict with Phantylia, Jing Yuan formally creates an alliance between the Xianzhou and Astral Express, gifting a jade abacus as a symbol of their mutual friendship. Dan Feng's imprisonment edict is annulled by Jing Yuan, giving Dan Heng his freedom onboard the Luofu.

After the Trailblazer and March return to the Express, Himeko tells the Trailblazer that their next stop is Penacony, the Planet of Festivities. Formerly known as a prison planet used by the IPC to exile criminals, it had fallen under the control of Xipe, the Aeon of Harmony sometime ago, radically transforming the planet. Himeko explains that the Family at Penacony issued formal invitations to many galactic factions for the first time in history and among the invited factions were the IPC and the Astral Express. Meanwhile, Luocha confronts Jing Yuan at the Shackling Prison alongside Jingliu, proclaiming that they will put the Abundance in their grave.

Development Edit

Honkai: Star Rail was revealed in October 2021 at the end of the Honkai Impact 3rd online concert, Starfire Sonorant, then later on the game's official YouTube channel.[6]

The game entered its first closed beta testing later that month.[7] A second closed beta test was held between May and June 2022.[8] A final closed beta test was held in February 2023 and prior to the release of the game.[9] In April 2023, HoYoverse announced having 10 million pre-registered users.[10]

Reception Edit

Honkai: Star Rail received "generally favorable reviews" according to review aggregator Metacritic.[11]

Eurogamer recommended the game for its "delightfully goofy humour, charismatic voice cast, and truly magnificent combat", despite the writers' tendency to "give one sentence explanations for important details, yet spend eight paragraphs overexplaining the simplest plot twist".[12] Rock Paper Shotgun called the game "still in its early stages but (...) incredibly good fun to play", comparing it to "Star Ocean, but if everyone was hotter and you could gamble". The reviewer praised the combat system for being deep yet approachable, and noted that, like in Genshin, spending money was not necessary to progress, as all content in the game could be cleared with the characters players receive for free.[13] PC Gamer appreciated Star Rail's "impeccable visual style and strategic depth" and its "elastic tone, which fluctuates from the heroic optimism of a space opera, to the dark comedy of a Nier game, with a lot of Final Fantasy 14's soap opera storytelling mixed in". To the reviewer, the game's main draw was its "sheer creativity" and that it "distills what's most satisfying about turn-based RPGs: tactical, team-based decisions."[14]

References Edit

  1. ^ 崩壊:スターレイル [@houkaistarrail] (March 24, 2023). 【プロデューサー対談 近日公開!】 『崩壊:スターレイル』プロデューサー David Jiang とあの名作 RPG のプロデューサーによる対談が実現! ゲーム開発の裏話と想いを開拓者の皆さまにシェアします!お楽しみに! (Tweet) (in Japanese) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Romano, Sal (March 24, 2023). "Honkai: Star Rail launches April 26 for PC, iOS, and Android, later for PS5 and PS4". Gematsu. Retrieved March 24, 2023. Followed by PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 at a later date.
  3. ^ a b Diaz, Ana (March 24, 2023). "Genshin Impact developer's new game will be released in April". Polygon. Retrieved April 10, 2023.
  4. ^ "Honkai Star Rail". Honkai Star Rail. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  5. ^ 《崩坏:星穹铁道》全面公测!五星希儿限时UP | HoYoverse银河冒险RPG. 崩坏:星穹铁道. Retrieved May 29, 2023.
  6. ^ Shinha, Ravi (October 8, 2021). "Honkai: Star Rail Announced – New Strategy RPG Coming to PC, iOS, and Android". GamingBolt. Retrieved April 27, 2023.
  7. ^ Agossah, Iyane (October 27, 2021). "Honkai Star Rail Beta Characters, Voice Actors, First Hours of Gameplay". DualShockers. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  8. ^ Lada, Jenni (June 9, 2022). "Honkai: Star Rail Second Closed Beta Ends Next Week". Siliconera. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  9. ^ "Honkai Star Rail beta release time, dates, and how to access the final closed beta". Eurogamer. February 10, 2023. Retrieved April 27, 2023.
  10. ^ Blake, Vikki (April 15, 2023). "Honkai Star Rail isn't out yet but already has 10 million users". GamesRadar. Retrieved April 16, 2023.
  11. ^ a b "Honkai: Star Rail for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Archived from the original on April 29, 2023. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  12. ^ Orr, Jessica (April 26, 2023). "Honkai: Star Rail review - more than Genshin Impact in space". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved April 30, 2023.
  13. ^ Coles, Jason (April 26, 2023). "Honkai: Star Rail review: a slick, anime-infused RPG bursting with potential". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved April 30, 2023.
  14. ^ Colp, Tyler (April 26, 2023). "Honkai: Star Rail review". PC Gamer. Retrieved April 30, 2023.

External links Edit