Honkai Star Rail Final CBT Review – The Astral Express is Almost Ready


Honkai Star Rail‘s held its final Closed Beta Test when it also opened up for pre-registrations, giving fans a final chance to try out the game before its release later this year. We got to try the beta once more, this time with more features unlocked, and it was even playable on PC which is the platform we tried it on this time.

This beta had a lot of new additions, but far too many to go through in one article. So instead we’re focusing on the newest area the Xianzhuo Luofu, the game’s current interface, character balance, and progression. This is a pretty good time to look at those aspects since the game’s probably going to launch soon, so it’s unlikely that these aspects of the game will change much. All in all, though, Honkai Star Rail is as expected still incredibly fun and this just makes us even more excited for the title’s official launch.

If you’re looking for a more general look at Honkai Star Rail, you might want to check out our previous review of its beta test, as most of the game’s core systems are still the same here, and are just as fun, if not even more so with the new inclusions.

*Honkai Star Rail’s final beta was played on a PC with an RTX3070 GPU, and i7-10700KF CPU. Elements of the game are subject to change when Honkai Star Rail officially launches.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 19

Honkai Star Rail Final CBT Gameplay Preview

The 2nd Destination: The Xianzhuo Luofu!

New to this beta is the Xianzhuo Luofu! This gigantic flagship of the Xianzhou alliance appears as the 2nd stop in the Trailblazers’ adventure and while it’s a ship, it’s even larger than Jarilo-VI!

In Jarilo-VI your goal was to help unearth a conspiracy while bringing hope back to a country that’s been ravaged by monsters and political strife.

This time you’re given a tip from a dangerous individual about a Stellaron eruption on the fleet, and when you arrive at the Xianzhuo Luofu things are not as they seem. As the clock ticks on a disaster ready to wipe out millions, you slowly piece together that there seems to be much more than meets the eye behind the scenes.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 1

The Xianzhuo Luofu is a marvel to look at. This is HoYoverse’s take on a futuristic Chinese civilization: a massive floating vessel that moves across space, with trade as its main source of income. The area has a completely different aesthetic from Jarilo-VI with futuristic ports and advanced technology blended in with traditional Chinese structures, which is a breath of fresh air from being down underground for so long.

Outside of it looking gorgeous the game has its own unique set of puzzles, and thanks to Honkai Star Rail’s smaller map segments, finding these are easy enough with solving them being the main fun, though they do start off very simple in the beginning.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 103
Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 104

This area also offers a new enemy type called the Mara-struck, which will rise back up immediately after you take them down. You’ll have to account for that when dealing with these foes and plan around your ultimate usage a little more carefully to avoid taking damage.


The Xianzhuo Luofu is a great region in general and a prime example that if Honkai Star Rail can shift gears from a snowy planet with a Russian influence, to a planet-sized Chinese fleet floating through space, whatever lies next in the trailblazer’s journey will surely be a treat.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 84

HoYoverse’ Most Refined Interface Yet

In most RPGs, you’ll usually spend a lot of time upgrading, customization, and monitoring character progression, and there’s nothing quite as annoying as a bad interface.

Thankfully Honkai Star Rail is the complete opposite of that, and while it doesn’t feature the same gameplay as Genshin Impact, because both games also feature a 4-player team composition with similar upgrade mechanics and dailies, it’s worth highlighting a few changes that fans of that game may appreciate.

■ Technology is great! Access everything from your phone!

Since the characters in this universe use a phone, everything is accessible through the menu. This means dailies, farming stages, upgrades, and even sending characters out on assignments can be accessed instantly. You can even fast-travel to all of these farming locations on your phone without looking for them on your map, provided that you’ve unlocked them.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 53

This is in stark contrast with something like Genshin Impact, where to dispatch characters to collect materials, you have to teleport to a nearby town, then walk to the adventurer’s guild then collect your daily rewards and dispatches. You can just do all of this from where your character is standing, which saves a lot of time.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 52

■ Smaller Maps with loads of content, and short walks.

Because the maps are generally much smaller, Honkai Star Rail loads really fast. Even with smaller maps, the game will place fast travel points in several areas and thankfully will also place quest givers very close to the teleport point, making handing in quests, and accepting them take only seconds.

Star Rail Beta Map Example

■ More Scraps More EXP

The salvage system is also another welcome addition. Rather than needing to constantly hit the “auto add” button to recycle light cones for EXP, you can use the salvage function to instantly turn all of them into experience point items to stockpile for later. It’s fast, easy, and cuts down on the time you’d spend otherwise repeatedly hitting auto-add, then confirming to level up a light cone.

It’s also nice that lower rarity light cones give quite a good chunk of EXP, and salvaging can be done the same menu as enhancing, so you don’t have to go out of your way to access the inventory, salvage, and then go upgrade your light cone.

star rail salvage system

World Shops Offer Even More to Look Forward to

World shops are another feature shown off in this beta. Here you can trade in your progress earned from exploring, and completing missions on certain planets and zones to collect materials for upgrades, EXP, money, gacha tickets, and even upgrades for the Trailblazer.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 37

Rather than make you run around for hundreds of random collectibles Honkai Star Rail opts for a different approach. All you have to do is complete side quests and explore the map, which are things you’ll normally be doing anyway in an area.

I much prefer this to how some other games handle this kind of shop, because this just gives you more incentive and rewards for something you’d already be doing, instead of making you do more busy work. It doesn’t suddenly take you out of the game to do a checkmark of “run around 100 random spots”, and just helps scratch that itch of being a completionist, without taking you out of the core loop.

Jarilo VI world shop star rail

Team Diversity Over Rarity

While Honkai Star Rail does have character rarities, it follows a design principle where there aren’t characters that are just straight up “better” than everyone, rather there are those that fulfill niche and varied roles in the same class.

Let’s take two characters from “The Harmony”, the game’s support class, Tingyun, and Bronya. Bronya is a very strong team player, as she can buff everyone’s total damage, and help an ally act sooner while buffing their damage for 1 turn. Her own damage though is rather lackluster, and because of that, she struggles with applying elemental breaks to enemies.

On the other side, Ting Yun can buff 1 ally at a time and can deal some decent electric damage herself, as she buffs a lightning character’s damage significantly for longer durations, while also letting them use their ultimate more often. On top of that, she also gets a nice buff to her own damage, based on 30% of her buffed ally, letting her still be decent at her role as someone dealing lightning damage.


The most important factor in combat is definitely having the right characters against elemental weaknesses, so even though 5-stars can be incredibly powerful, they aren’t as useful if no enemy is weak to them, and this is especially the case later into the game. So rather than worry about having your favorite 5-star, you should definitely focus more on having characters of all rarities, as causing an elemental break is the real priority.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 76

If all of this talk of 5-stars makes you sad because you feel like you’re unlucky, the beta introduced a mechanic which lets you pick a free 5-star character after having done 300 warps. 300 warps aren’t exactly cheap, but since (as of writing) Honkai Star Rail has a pity giving you a guaranteed 5-star every 90 rolls, this just helps with you completing your roster or getting your favorite character. Whether this mechanic makes a return at launch though is still up in the air.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 22

Progression is Easy, but a Little Slow

Keeping up with the stage progression in Honkai Star Rail is pretty easy at first. Most characters don’t need that much EXP to level up and the materials are pretty plentiful and can be picked up quite easily from Calyx stages. This is also made easier thanks to Honkai Star Rail’s auto-battling system as you can just assign your team to farm materials repeatedly at the click of a button without any input. You can even borrow a friend for this if you’re missing a key character.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 80

After completing Jarilo-VI though progression seems to be put at a bit of a halt, as you start needing much more EXP to level them up. As an example, once you complete the first Trailblazer difficulty mission, you get to do Difficulty II of the EXP stages. Each session of this can net you about 24 Adventure Logs, and you need about 42 to go from Level 30 to Level 40 on a character.

This means every two days, you can get about three characters from 30 to 40, and it takes even more EXP at higher levels. Thankfully though a good chunk of the content can still be completed if you’re slightly under-leveled, as your tactics and team play a much bigger role.

The other roadblock in the progression is character ascensions, as each character needs two types of materials to level up. Character ascension materials, and materials you get from defeating enemies roaming around the world. As an example, Welt Yang needs two materials to ascend. Golden Crowns of the Past Shadow, and Silvermane Insignias, both being rarity 3 materials. You would assume you can convert Silvermane Badges into Insignias as it’s the lower rarity version of that item, but you can’t. Instead, you need to turn other Rarity 3 materials into the Insignia at the Synthesizer if you can’t find them in the world.

Star Rail Progression 0 5
Star Rail Progression 0 6

I found this baffling, as this means all of the badges you pick up will become mostly obsolete because they can’t be turned into their higher rarity counterpart unless you have them planned for someone else. Take what I just mentioned with a grain of salt, as these are subject to change on release, but as it stands expect a bit of a grind when it comes to the game after the first map.

If you’re smart about how you play Honkai Star Rail though, I don’t think this will be too much of an issue when it comes to making story progress.

Honkai Star Rail is Still a Top Contender

After playing Honkai Star Rail’s final beta for several hours and reaching the end of the story content available, my opinion of the game hasn’t really changed. This is still an incredibly entertaining game, and if anything this beta made me even more excited for Honkai Star Rail’s full release, even if I’ll end up having to play through these areas and quests again.

Progression in Honkai Star Rail looks like it could be fairly smooth in the early goings, though with the game having every material stage unlocked from the get-go, this likely won’t be the case as I expect these stages to be only available at certain times of the week. And even that is something we can only confirm at the launch

Honkai Star Rail Photos 3

Whether you’ve played HoYoverse’s previous titles or not, Honkai Star Rail will be one of the best turn-based RPGs to come out on mobile, and I can’t wait to continue playing it even in its unfinished state.

Star Rail Final Beta Screenshot Screenshot 94

Read More

Honkai Star Rail CBT Review – A Trailblazing Tactical RPG Experience

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Honkai: Star Rail COGNOSPHERE PTE. LTD. Rate: 4.4 Install