Genshin Impact Honkai Star Rail

The differences between Honkai Star Rail & Genshin Impact, explained

The Hoyoverse grows

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The latest entry in Hoyoverse’s expanding library of games is here. Honkai: Star Rail leaves the station on April 26, bringing rolls and RPG battles to the stars.

But for those who have already spent a lot of time with Hoyoverse’s other live service titles, especially Genshin Impact, you might be wondering what the differences and similarities are. While some things carry over, these are two different games. Here’s how.

Is Honkai Star Rail an open world game?

A big difference between Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail is in its world. Genshin Impact has a large open world, with different areas and zones you can enter for specific content. While there are certainly segmented-off areas, the overworld section is expansive, with traversal options and everything.

By contrast, Honkai: Star Rail does not appear to be open world. There are areas in the game that allow free-roaming and exploration, but early beta players have likened it to more “open area” than open-world in the way Genshin, or even something like Breath of the Wild, is.

You are able to roam around various maps and levels, exploring along the way, but not in a fully open world like Genshin‘s. A good comparison point would be many modern RPGs, from something like Final Fantasy VII Remake to Tales of Arise. There is not a contiguous, open area.

Other differences between the two

Those comparisons feel apt because Honkai: Star Rail is a turn-based RPG, as opposed to Genshin Impact‘s real-time action-RPG fights. Battles take place in a strategic, turn-by-turn system in their own little world, rather than fighting in real time, out on the open world.

Also, while Genshin is a more classic fantasy setting, where any technology is specific and a little more limited in its use. Honkai, by comparison, is science fiction, with a star-faring train and more prevalent, advanced technology.

What do they have in common?

Well, both games are made by Hoyoverse. Genshin and Honkai both share an anime-inspired look, with characters that pop off the screen. And, coincidentally, both are free-to-play games with gacha-style systems, where you can “roll” for new characters.

So while there are some significant differences, there is still some overlap between Honkai and Genshin, for those who enjoy free-to-play live service games and gorgeous characters to collect.

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Eric Van Allen
Senior Editor - While Eric's been writing about games since 2014, he's been playing them for a lot longer. Usually found grinding RPG battles, digging into an indie gem, or hanging out around the Limsa Aethryte.