Review: ‘Honkai: Star Rail’ marches through a stellar release


Sophia 'Gummy' Sunbury

The journey begins with the Trailblazer (Stelle or Caelum, depending on the gender option you pick) partner up with Dan Heng and March 7th and travel alongside them to various worlds, meeting new people and getting into trouble along the way.

Amid all the games that have come out this year, it can be challenging to stand out amongst the crowd. Still, “Honkai: Star Rail” is already starting to make a name for itself just a few weeks after its initial release. 

Releasing globally on April 26, the game opens with the main antagonist, Kafka, awakening the Trailblazer, the protagonist, by inserting a Stellaron, a device full of cosmic power, into their body. The Trailblazer cannot recall anything prior to meeting Kafka. Still, all is quickly set aside as we are introduced to our first teammates Dan Heng and March 7th (yes, that’s her name), and the journey begins.

As for the gameplay, while it retains some elements from Hoyoverse’s other title, “Genshin Impact,” with the ability to switch out which character is interacting with the world around them – whether that be a snow-ridden planet of Jarilo-VI or the fantastical Herta space station, or solving puzzles and open chests for varying rewards. The most unique feature of “Star Rail” is its turn-based combat system. This system means rather than switching between characters or relying on elemental reactions to stay afloat. I enjoy this type of combat much more than other combat systems; it is easy to get used to and makes you think about what strategies to use during combat. 

While this kind of combat can become tedious, you can always set the combat to auto mode, meaning the characters will attack and use their skills automatically. This is especially useful during domains like the Simulated Universe, which gives you rewards based on completion, and while doing Calyx runs, which provide you level-up items for both your characters and Light Cones, which act as your character’s weapons and provide them with special bonuses to stats like attack or defense.

 If you don’t want to set the combat to auto mode, you can always speed up the battles; these features make combat quick and easy and helpful if you’re occupied with something else or have to step away from the game for a few minutes. It’s a solid system that I’ve found helpful when going through certain quests and combat-oriented events. 

In short, “Star Rail” is on a roll with its release with impressive banner sales, a compelling storyline, and unique combat and characters. If you enjoy turn-based games like “Persona 5″ or are looking for a new free game, this might be the right game for you.