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Honkai: Star Rail has been hinting at an April 26th release date for months, but now it's official. The free-to-play, turn-based Genshin Impact spin-off will be available for pre-download from April 23rd and will be available via its official site and the Epic Games Store come the 26th. A presentation streamed yesterday also revealed its first two banners.
Here's the full presentation, which is in Chinese (minus some English language voice acting) but with English subtitles:
Much like Genshin Impact, Honkai: Star Rail is a gacha game, which means they hope you will invest time and money in unlocking in a growing roster of characters with which to fight in battle. Some of those characters are accessed via time-limited "banners", the first two of which for Star Rail will give players a chance to unlock the five-star characters of Seele and Jing Yuan. (Our own Honkai Star Rail tier list places these characters as A- and B-tier, respectively.)
When not trying to unlock characters, Honkai: Star Rail is about riding an interstellar train through space, visiting various science-fantasy worlds, and having turn-based battles. That makes it substantially different from Genshin Impact, which had real-time combat (and Zelda-like climbing and gliding) or even the similarly real-time Honkai Impact 3rd. Despite the change of genre, Ed found Star Rail had a very similar energy to Genshin Impact when he played the closed beta last month.
I had fun with Genshin Impact, which had a beautiful world to explore and was generous enough as a free-to-play game that I never felt the need to spend money within it. I'm looking forward to giving Star Rail a try when it launches. If you're keen, you can pre-register for access via the official site, or I guess head to the Epic Games Store page and hit refresh a lot.