Genshin Impact vs. Honkai Star Rail – Which Game Is Better

Which HoYoverse gacha game should sell your soul to – Genshin Impact or Honkai Star Rail? Let’s weigh the pros and cons of both.

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Honkai Star Rail and Genshin Impact, both gaming sensations, deliver distinctive experiences in world design, combat, protagonist portrayal, and storytelling. Genshin Impact, which debuted first, disrupted the gaming scene in 2020 during the pandemic. I’ve invested an embarrassing amount of time in it. I’ve learned to savor the game in shorter sessions through self-control and moderation.

However, when Honkai Star Rail debuted this year, I cautiously took the plunge, only to be trapped again. There’s a secret ingredient in the HoyoVerse formula that captivates me – but many may be wondering, which is better: Honkai Star Rail or Genshin Impact?

Related: Genshin Impact: How to Get Primogems

Honkai Star Rail vs. Genshin Impact: World Design

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Honkai Star Rail offers a zone-based design focusing on linear chest hunting and combat areas. This approach allows for a tighter and more structured game world. 

In contrast, Genshin Impact boasts an open-world design with extensive exploration opportunities, making it a favorite for players who enjoy vast, immersive landscapes. 

The choice between the two depends on personal preferences, really. Some of you may prefer focused, detailed areas like those of Honkai Star Rail. I love getting lost in the vast open areas and the freedom of exploration of Genshin Impact.

Honkai Star Rail vs. Genshin Impact: Combat

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Genshin Impact’s action-based combat system is a unique and engaging feature. However, it can be challenging to fully appreciate on mobile devices.

On the other hand, Honkai Star Rail’s turn-based combat is snappy and well-optimized for mobile play. It’s a different but equally enjoyable experience.

Related: Genshin Impact: How to Get Primogems

Both games have their merits in combat. Your preferences toward real-time and turn-based combat will also determine which you enjoy more. However, I’d say it’s reliant on whether you want a more relaxed or active experience. I’m a huge fan of strategic, turn-based combat, but I’ve more than once found myself playing HSR with my brain completely turned off. If you want a somewhat challenging combat experience that keeps you on your toes, Genshin Impact is the way to go. 

Honkai Star Rail vs. Genshin Impact: Main Characters

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Genshin Impact features the Traveler as its sole protagonist, a point of contention for some players due to the Traveler’s silent nature and limited character development. 

Honkai Star Rail, in contrast, employs an ensemble cast known as the Rail Warriors, who all have distinct character arcs and development. Each character in Star Rail gets its own questline and contributes to the overall narrative, which may lead to more satisfying storytelling for some.

In this regard, HSR clearly comes out on top. Hoyoverse has excelled in leveraging their standout feature: the adorable, gacha-bound characters. Whether you’re a fan or not, both games heavily emphasize their character roster. Honkai Star Rail indeed excels in making the most of this facet.

Honkai Star Rail vs. Genshin Impact: Story & Quests

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Genshin Impact is known for its open-world exploration and many quests. Still, the main story often takes a back seat to the exploration aspect. 

Star Rail, however, seems to prioritize its central storyline, with a clear focus on the Astral Express crew and their individual stories. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still loads of content worth exploring. However, the approach seems a bit more focused. This lets you get to know each character in detail and watch them individually develop as the story progresses. 

Because of how much time I’ve spent on it, Genshin Impact’s extensive world and lore make for a more drawn-out storytelling experience. Then again, Genshin Impact has been out for three years, whereas HSR only came out in 2023. With a bit more time, I’m confident that HSR will continue to evolve and create a more immersive experience we can all get lost in.

Which Game is Right For You?

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To determine whether Honkai Star Rail or Genshin Impact is better for you, you’ll need to consider your preferences.

  • Genshin Impact shines in its vast open world, real-time combat, and intricate world design. 
  • Honkai Star Rail offers a more focused narrative with well-developed characters and turn-based combat optimized for mobile devices. 

Each game boasts distinctive strengths; your selection depends on your preferred gameplay and narrative style. Yet, considering Genshin Impact’s extended presence, it currently appears as the superior choice, offering a stunning open world and setting.

Nonetheless, their advantages and drawbacks could change as both games progress and update. Therefore, it’s wise to reassess this verdict in the future.