Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Clash of the gacha games: Genshin Impact vs. Honkai: Star Rail

An+image+of+a+Genshin+Impact+character+and+one+of+many+breathtaking+landscapes+from+the+game.+Genshin+Impact%E2%80%99s+open-world+format+gives+you+the+freedom+to+travel+and+explore+as+you+please.+Photo+courtesy+of+Flickr.
An image of a Genshin Impact character and one of many breathtaking landscapes from the game. Genshin Impact’s open-world format gives you the freedom to travel and explore as you please. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Genshin Impact has been the leading gacha game since its release in 2020. That is, until another gacha game, Honkai: Star Rail, followed suit three years later. Both boasted similar systems, such as character designs and lore.

A gacha game is a video game with a mechanic that attracts players, earning them trade in-game currency and the ability to receive certain rewards. These rewards might include rare characters and weapons. This aspect, along with other features, such as open-world exploration, contributed to both of their success, sending their popularity skyrocketing among gamers. 

 These, and other similarities, have led people to critique the games, scrutinizing each aspect before deciding on which one is better. In this article, we’ll dive into the opinions of avid gamers and see what they think about both games.

One similarity between the two games is the endless amount of characters. Although both games’ characters are popular with fans, Honkai’s characters seem to stand out even more.

An advertisement in China for Honkai: Star Rail on the side of a train seat, displaying several characters. Honkai: Star Rail’s popularity is made evident through not just advertisements, but also the 25 million players, as of August 2023, despite releasing several months earlier. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

“Honkai: Star Rail has gotten my attention since the very beginning,” Sacred Hearts Academy freshman Chloe Tsukayama said. “The character designs are lovely, and the general game has much more humor to it than Genshin Impact, which I enjoy immensely.” 

Tsukayama isn’t alone in her opinions regarding the characters, as other people seem to agree as well. 

“I like the characters’ personalities,” junior Gennellea Amasol said. “Some of them are annoying…that personally is what I look for in a character. Their personality also makes the plot 10 times better, which is what I like best about Honkai.”

However, Genshin Impact has several spectacular features of its own. One such feature that’s often held in high regard is the amount of lore and story found within the game.

“Genshin Impact definitely has much more lore and storytelling than Honkai: Star Rail does,” Tsukayama said. “I’ve gotten pretty invested in the lore and the characters which–in my opinion–makes it more appealing than Honkai: Star Rail.”

Even for people who haven’t played the game, the praises sung about Genshin’s plot have made their way to them as well.

“I haven’t played Genshin Impact, but from what I heard from a couple of friends, what they liked about Genshin, is the plot and how interesting and satisfying it is to unlock it once they level up,” Amasol said. “I think Genshin Impact’s storyline is interesting. Some parts of the story keep me interested in the game along with the characters.”

Despite the two games’ similarities, there is one major difference between the two: the combat system. Genshin Impact has an open-world environment for you to explore, meaning that you can go wherever you want and fight whatever monsters you find. However, this also means that you have to focus all your time and attention on the game to avoid getting killed and dying. 

On the other hand, Honkai: Star Rail has a turn-based combat system, and while this particular combat system runs the risk of boredom, there are people who appreciate it, along with the added benefits that come with it.

“Honkai: Star Rail really appealed to me because of how easy it seemed,” Tsukayama said. “It has an automatic battle system, which makes it so much easier to farm for materials. It is because of this that I haven’t necessarily gotten ‘burnt out’ yet.” 

“Farming” is a term where players repeat in-game actions to gain something valuable, such as money, experience or items. This in-game method is widely embraced and exploited by players, as some students have mentioned.

“I like how we can put fights in the simulation world on autopilot to just farm levels for your characters,” Amasol said. 

Additionally, both games provide incredible worlds for you to explore. Genshin has several nations for you to traverse through on your journey. Honkai: Star Rail has several planets you can visit during your missions, along with space stations and spaceship fleets as well. Although both worlds are breathtaking to behold, one clearly stands above the other. Genshin Impact not only has several different nations for you to discover, but the open-world exploration aspect of the game allows you to visit them in any order you desire.

“I really enjoy the open-world exploration and gameplay,” Tsukayama said. “Even though Honkai: Star Rail is also sort of considered ‘open world,’ there are many more restrictions regarding where you can travel…So I suppose Genshin Impact is superior in that aspect.”

Despite all the pros and cons of both games, the final verdict ultimately comes down to the opinions of not just the interviewees, but also other players within the Academy as well. In order to get a fair answer, I created an online poll comparing which one is better and asked several Academy students in my Journalism class to vote. This resulted in a total of 7 responses, with 4 (57.1%) interviewees voting for Genshin Impact, while 3 (42.9%) voted for Honkai: Star Rail. With the information gathered from this poll and the interviewees above, it’s understandable as to why Genshin has more fans. In addition to being released three years earlier than Honkai, Genshin also has several features that appeal to players. Multiple players like the storyline and lore, as well as the open-world exploration in the game and the freedom that comes with it.

An infographic showing the results of a poll debating the two games. Many factors resulted in Genshin Impact’s victory, such as the game’s storyline and open-world format. Photo courtesy of Bailey Leong.

“My original thoughts on Genshin impact were that it was bound to be a messy and overall chaotic game because of the fact that I played other anime type of games that were of low quality,” Academy freshman Clay Nguyen said. “Once I tried the game and actually went through the whole plot… it caused my thoughts on the game to change. I believe it is one of the highest quality games that is accessible to everyone. It also supports all types of players whether they are hardcore or on the mellow side.”

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About the Contributor
Bailey Leong, Reporter
Bailey Leong is a first-year Journalism student and a sophomore at the Academy. She hopes to further develop her unbiased writing and also hopes to improve her socialization skills while talking to others. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, playing video games, and watching a variety of TV shows, including anime, crime dramas, and sitcoms. One fun fact about Bailey is that she once wrote a letter to President Barack Obama when she was younger and received a reply from him.

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