Developer: miHoYo Limited
Publisher: miHoYo Limited
Since its debut in the SEA and Global servers in 2017 and 2018 respectively, Honkai Impact 3 has become one of the biggest anime-style RPGs in mobile gaming (I say “anime-style” because the game was made in China). As of this writing, there are over 5 million active users every month, all thanks to the high-quality presentation and gameplay that exceeds other competing games.
So, what is so special about Honkai Impact 3 and why is the community so strong? Is it any good? Are the gacha rates generous? Is the gameplay worth your precious time?
I’m here to you know all about the hype within a few words on this Honkai Impact 3 quick review.
The story revolves around the never-ending battle between the alien forces known as Honkai and the human resistance called Schiksal. The game takes place in the future where humanity is on a 3rd war against the Honkai after centuries since their first and second encounters.
To break it all down, it’s just cute girls fighting an alien horde who are hell-bent on destroying planet Earth. The story is quite confusing to understand, especially if you never read the official manga or never played the prequel game, Gunz Girl. There are a total of 14 story chapters (with some expanded segments on the later chronicles) but the first 5 chapters can get very convoluted.
To be honest, the event stories are easier to digest. Then again, you don’t play a gacha RPG for the story, right?
As a guy who plays multiple gacha games while maintaining a non-whale etiquette (most of the time), Honkai Impact 3 is arguably the most active and most action-packed gameplay in a gacha RPG. I could say it implements the formulas from Devil May Cry, the original trilogy of God of War, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and even a bit of Dark Souls. What you get is one of the most prolific mobile games ever made, making it welcoming even to hardcore gamers.
Controls are fairly easy too, letting you pull off cool combos and make sweet tag attacks as you unleash your ultimate move. Dodging enemies is simple enough since you get a warning before a target attack – pretty much like the combat from the Batman Arkham series. Dishing out your ultimate is just one button away and swapping Valkyries on the fly is easy enough.
Each Valkyrie includes different kinds of attacks, resulting in a robust system where you will need to invest a short time to understand the mechanics of each girl. There may only be 13 girls to play as of this writing, but, unlike other gacha games that have over more than 100 characters to collect, Honkai Impact 3 only has 47 Battlesuits.
Battlesuits are different outfits for each girl that includes various playstyles that make every Valkyrie feel unique from each other. For example, Kiana Kaslana – the poster girl and main protagonist – has over 5 different Battlesuits including White Comet, Knight Moonbeam, and Divine Prayer. White comet feels like a brawler type of combat, Knight Moonbeam is great for gunplay against a group of enemies while the Divine Prayer is a support type that can slow down time and heal teammates. Same girl, different playstyles. I could go on about this but I will leave you to try out the game yourself.
On top of the Battlesuits, they are either in 4 classes: Biologic, Psychic, Mecha and Quantum. These will distinguish which Battlesuits you will need to deploy in each mission since they have affinities against each other.
The best part about each lady in the game is that their fighting styles are significantly different. Kiana and Kallen Kaslana use akimbo guns in their own ways, Raiden Mei and Yae Sakura are sword wielders in which both have extremely anime-style katana moves, Bronya Zaychik is a ranged-based Valkyrie that uses cannons, rockets, lasers and miniguns, Rita Rossweisse and Seele Vollerei specialize in the scythe, Murata Himeko uses a giant greatsword, Liliya and Roza Olenyeva are crazy tag team sisters who are also fun with greatswords, Theresa Apocalypse uses a giant battle cross, Fu Hua is a master of martial arts and Durandal wielding a lance. Put them in a 3-man (or woman in this matter) party and experiment with different tandems and combinations.
Of course, you can equip each girl with different weapons based on their required equipment. It can range from 2-star weapons to very rare 5-star arsenals. Every weapon has different stats and active skills, giving you more reason to collect them. You will also need to upgrade and invest your time to make them better too by gathering resources and lots of gold.
Aside from the weapons is the Stigmata: perks that you can add to your waifu in order to give them better firepower such as better elemental damage scaling, lower cooldowns and higher maximum health. You can assign up to 3 stigmata for each girl.
The only major complaint I have about the gameplay is the targeting system and the camera issues. As a player who has spent more than 1500 hours in the game, I still hope that miHoYo would improve these areas since they are crucial for time-based levels and the Dirac Sea.
Honkai Impact 3 is the best-looking anime-style RPG for a handheld. You cannot change my mind. And with its recent PC release, the game even looks more beautiful than ever before.
Backgrounds feel alive as cities are brimming with traffic and neon lights, caves are covered in crumbling ceilings and roaming bats, fighting on battleships feel very action-packed as the wind blows while mechs keep on dropping to your area, and lots of mysterious places found within the abyss.
The characters look amazing thanks to their detailed designs as well as certain “physics” the developers put in the game. Even the enemies you encounter are brimming with details.
Special effects like beams, sword sparks, and different elements add more immersion into the game that makes Michael Bay feel lame with his dull explosions.
Another thing I would like to point out about Honkai Impact 3 is the beautiful colors. There is never an ounce of grey in the game as everything looks and feels alive whether it’s sunny, rainy or night.
Even the main menu Bridge looks polished compared to many RPG-based gacha. Fun fact: the weather and day time changes in the menu are based in real time. That means when it is night time in your place, it’s night in the bridge. If it’s cloudy or rainy, the clouds are thick with lightning through the Hyperion bridge window. Pretty neat, I’d say.
Okay, so this may be a mixed bag in my opinion. On one hand, spectacular, juicy and expressive. On the other, dull and generic. I am talking about the music and voice-acting versus the in-game sound effects.
Honkai Impact 3 saw a huge improvement in the music especially if you go onto the latest chapters from Chapters 5 and above. The music goes from usual f2p-Esque rock music to deep orchestra really freaking fast.
As for the voice acting, well, what can I say? If you are a weeaboo like me, you will definitely love all the voice actors in the game. You got Kugimiya Rie (Gintama, Toradora), Ayane Sakura (My Hero Academia, Charlotte) Yuuki Aoi (My Hero Academia, One Punch Man) and a whole lot more. No seriously, just check out the voice actresses.
As for sound effects like enemies, punching, thrusting, slicing, shooting and dodging all sound as they came from stock SFX. Hopefully, soon they’ll use better sound effects since this is one of the only few issues a lot of players have in the game.
The gacha includes 3 major elements to give you reasons to pull: the Valkyrie Battlesuit, the weapons, and the Stigmata. While the rates are certainly higher than in Fate Grand Order, it honestly seems harder to get what you want since in between the three major elements are miscellaneous materials that you get from each pull including upgrade materials and gold.
The only thing I can recommend you is to stock up 2800 crystals to do a 10x pull with a guaranteed 4-star material. It’s just that earning crystals tend to be hard unless you volunteer as a whale and buy one of the three currencies they have (which I also find ridiculous).
At least, there is a guarantee for each Supply pull. For example, the Focus Supply will ensure that you get a 5-star stigmata or weapon within 100 drops. If you still didn’t get what you want after, let’s say 58 pulls, then your chances of getting the up-rate 5-star material to become higher since you only need to take the chance within the remaining 42 pulls. Once you get the material featured on the gacha banner, the guaranteed drops reset to 100. It’s more complicated than done so just check it out yourself.
The game also has a Battle Pass but come on, a battle pass for a gacha game on top of their B-Chips and Crystals? Come on now.
Or maybe that’s just me because I am terribly salty that I still haven’t gotten my Oath of Judah for 3 years straight and I am not planning to shell out my money in order to place a bet on an item without any real life value. MiHoYo please.
Honkai Impact 3 is at its best when it comes to different game modes. You got the original story mode, Chronicles (replayable past events), Co-op Raid (3-player PvE), Open World (think Yakuza but with cute waifus), Challenge mode (Bosses, Hordes, Extra Hard Difficulties) and Event (which also serves up vastly different gameplay compared to the others but only for a limited time). They’re all fun and you could go on a day without ever getting sick of it.
Despite the questionable microtransactions, hard-to-earn gacha pulls that are tougher than FGO, Honkai Impact 3 manages to surpass even major triple-A games with its high-budget presentation, all-star cast, creative gameplay and a good balance between fan service and a decent story.
It still remains as one of my best gacha games even after 3 years of playing and it will take a lot for another publisher/developer to create a game that is as vivid and active as Honkai Impact 3. miHoYo even uploads anime short films in their channel which are much better than Berserk’s animation or most of the isekai shows today.
The best part about the game is that it never feels like a pay-to-win game since you can earn so many premium items by just investing your time in it. You can even score better than whales in the co-op PvE too. Trust me, I’ve played enough hours with the game to distinguish if it feels unfair for F2Players or if it feels perfectly balanced as all things should be.
There is no other gacha game like this.
Play the emulated version of Honkai Impact 3 on PC right here.
You can also get the official Honkai Impact 3 PC edition from their website too.