There's an undeniable buzz around Honkai: Star Rail, some of which come from its audiovisual appeal and hilarious dialogue. You may even be a part of Genshin Impact's player base that often jokes about Honkai: Star Rail being the game with every optimization you've been begging for in Genshin Impact from Hoyoverse.

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But does Honkai: Star Rail have what it takes to take the crown from its predecessor, which has been the leading gacha game for over three years? Comparing what these two games have will lead you to an objective answer in the end.

11 Combat Mechanics – Genshin Impact

Physical Trailblazer Ultimate from Honkai: Star Rail and Itto's Burst from Genshin Impact

What makes Genshin Impact's combat system fun is its take on elemental reactions. It's not the first game to tinker with the elements, but elemental reactions in this game are a core part of its combat. It's almost impossible to survive off of physical damage alone, even with the strongest physical damage dealer in the game.

You can bash your way out of many situations in Genshin Impact, and play with damage numbers further down the line through elemental reactions. Honkai: Star Rail is limited in turn-based combat, which has its own appeal, but often drags into longer fights even at times two speed.

10 Farming Mechanics – Honkai: Star Rail

Domain of Guyun from Genshin Impact and Golden Calyx from Honkai: Star Rail

There's no way Genshin Impact beats its successor in this category. Farming is frustrating when ascension materials are only available on certain days, and resin is capped at 160 resin. When you reach the endgame, leveling up your characters and their weapons becomes harder because specific resources are confined to certain days.

Related: Genshin Impact: Changes That Would Make Artifact Farming Less Frustrating

All of these problems are fixed in Honkai: Star Rail, making farming the necessary calyxes available daily. If you're in the mood to level up whatever light cone or character you have, you'll be given the liberty to do so whenever you want, with an increased cap of 180 trailblaze power.

9 Exploration – Genshin Impact

Gliding around Mt. Aocang in Genshin Impact

If you love open-world games, Genshin Impact's big world is a joy to explore. Sumeru has lush rainforests and endless dunes; Liyue has peaks to climb and stone forests to wander upon. You've probably spent hours exploring the game and have stuck around through multiple patches. Exploration has become increasingly convenient and somewhat challenging throughout each region's release.

You can swim around, jump, and interact with many structures. Genshin Impact's regions are large, with variations in environment, oftentimes having underground locations and lost civilizations to be uncovered.

8 Game Dialogue – Honkai: Star Rail

Sampo from Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai: Star Rail has never fallen flat in dialogue. It has the perfect blend of humor, snappiness, and character depth, which makes it easily win over Genshin Impact's dialogue. Not everybody becomes automatically nice to you just because you're the main character, and this is proven time and time again in Honkai: Star Rail from your first interaction with Seele, and up to your meeting with Yukong, who politely declines your help.

Related: Honkai: Star Rail - Best Builds And Light Cones For Seele

This doesn't mean that Genshin Impact's writing is mediocre, but it's hard to beat the hilarious trashcan and streetlamp dialogues and the organic reactions the characters around Caelus and Stelle express based on their own personalities. In fact, even NPCs have distinct personalities and dialogues in Honkai: Star Rail, which is far more memorable than most Genshin Impact NPCs.

7 Lore Expansion – Genshin Impact

Skyward Blade Genshin Impact

This has everything to do with the lack of space for exploration, though Honkai: Star Rail does its best to expound upon myths and legends through unexpected interactions with the world, its objects, and its people. Genshin Impact's ability to scatter bits of lore throughout Teyvat can motivate you to explore further—if not for the allure of chests.

Though there is a lot to improve with the way the game expands on its lore, such as avoiding expansion through time-limited events. However, the way every item, from artifacts to plants, holds a shred of Teyvat's and the god's secrets is still a fun way to learn about the world you're in.

6 Storytelling – Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai Star Rail Bronya Looking At Window

Story quests in Honkai: Star Rail don't drag, but they're memorable. There are really fun character hangouts in Genshin Impact, and it does a good job of explaining a character's origins and lore even further. But not all characters get the same treatment, with some story quests and hangouts being significantly better than others.

Related: Genshin Impact: All Character Hangout Quests, Ranked

Though not all character-related stories are created equal, what about Genshin Impact's archon quests? It's undeniable that the story of Genshin's world is what kept you playing for years, but there are criticisms to be had with the way a lot of chapters were resolved.

5 Character Design – Honkai: Star Rail

Lumine from Genshin Impact and Stelle from Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai: Star Rail has character designs that would look like limited skins if placed in Genshin Impact. They've done so well with character outfits in Honkai: Star Rail that it made Diluc's Red Dead of Night outfit look just alright, and many other characters in Genshin Impact appear underdressed.

But even without the playable characters, the NPCs look much more varied. You really wouldn't be talking to the same person twice, since there are different character designs for NPCs—even if they don't outclass playable characters, there are still noticeable variations. In Genshin Impact, you'll meet two people who look like Madame Ping, three kids who look like Timmie, and five other guys that look like Timaeus.

4 Character Presence In The Open World – Honkai: Star Rail

Serval in her workshop from Honkai: Star Rail and Xiao in Wangshuu Inn from Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact is a big game, and it's bound to get bigger as more regions drop in the foreseeable future. But would it really eat that many gigabytes up to see playable characters in the open world? It would be great to see Jean, Lisa, and Kaeya somewhere near the HQ of the Knights of Favonius.

Related: Genshin Impact: Secretly Important NPCs

Diluc tending to grapes in Dawn Winery, or the sight of Beidou in The Crux shouldn't be too hard to implement so that the open world feels more alive. Even if these things do happen from time to time, they only do so in time-limited events. This leaves the world of Teyvat a little bland, whereas Honkai: Star Rail has playable characters in their supposed locations, making their world a bit more realistic.

3 Gacha System – Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai: Star Rail Warp and Genshin Impact Wish

You probably won't feel a sense of loss in Honkai: Star Rail, not with the gacha being extremely generous when you're new to it. It practically gives you a free five-star character on its beginner banner within 50 warps, the standard banner guarantees you your five-star character of choice after 300 warps.

Forget getting one copy of Tighnari and have a C6 Diluc instead. This doesn't mean that standard banner five-star characters in Genshin Impact are horrible, but the gacha system isn't the most merciful. Even as a new player, the only guarantee you have is Noelle. No five-star character is guaranteed to you, so you'll be playing on pure luck with Genshin Impact.

2 Animation – Honkai: Star Rail

Ayato's burst from Genshin Impact and Dan Heng's ultimate from Honkai: Star Rail

"I will have order," "lament," and "now you shall perish" are iconic lines, and the burst animations that follow them are stunning. But they can't compete against Honkai: Star Rail, whose animations are unique to each character—even four-star characters have visually appealing ultimate animations and iconic lines.

Related: Genshin Impact: Character Elemental Skills Better Than Their Elemental Bursts

You were probably surprised at Dan Heng's sanctuary when you first used his ultimate, left breathless at Jing Yuan's lightning lord slashing all of your enemies, or drowned in a sea of butterflies with Seele's ultimate. Even without considering burst or ultimate animations, the physics of walking and running looks far more realistic in Honkai: Star Rail than in Genshin Impact.

1 The Verdict – Honkai: Star Rail

Stelle, Dan Heng, and March 7th in Fight Club from Honkai: Star Rail

Genshin Impact is a great gacha, open-world game. Although Honkai: Star Rail prevailed over the former based on these comparisons, you already know that these are still two very different games with distinct experiences to offer. If your heart belongs to adventure and some button mashing, Genshin Impact is likelier to bring you more joy.

If you find comfort and happiness in turn-based combat games, Honkai: Star Rail is going to be the natural choice for you. Even if Honkai: Star Rail excels in so much more than its predecessor, trying both out to see which story and gameplay appeals to you more will help you decide which game is better for you to invest your time on.

Next: Changes To Make Honkai: Star Rail Go From Good To Great