Genshin Impact vs Honkai Impact 3rd: Which HoYoverse game is better?

Andrew Amos
Genshin Impact's Fischl and Keqing in Honkai Impact 3rd crossover

HoYoverse’s two hit titles Genshin Impact and Honaki Impact 3rd share more similarities than just a name. However, there are still key differences between the open-world RPG and its sci-fi ARPG predecessor. So, which is better? Let’s break it down.

HoYoverse has their hands on two mega gaming hits now. While 2016’s Honkai Impact 3rd came before the 2020 release of Genshin Impact, the two now boost each other up paradoxically as players transition from the latter to the developer’s other titles.

Genshin Impact put HoYoverse on the map with its vast open-world RPG mechanics, interesting story, great graphics, and of course: gacha. However, they were doing most of that already in Honkai Impact 3rd ⁠— with some key differences.

So, if you’re playing one and want to try the other, is it worth making the jump? And just which HoYoverse game is best? Let’s break down what makes Genshin Impact and Honkai Impact 3rd tick.

Fischl in Honkai Impact 3rd crossover
Genshin Impact and Honkai Impact 3rd have some things in common, but plenty of key differences.

What does Genshin Impact do better than Honkai?

For the uninitiated, here’s a quick debrief on Genshin Impact. It’s a free-to-play, open-world RPG. Taking place in the fantasy world of Teyvat, players start the game as the “Traveler”, recruiting allies along the way through gacha as they journey through the seven nations.

The open-world aspect is a big drawcard of Genshin. You’re not forced into linear missions like most other gacha-based RPGs ⁠— you are free to smell the roses and roam the world. As far as being better than Honkai, this is Genshin’s biggest selling point.

However, there’s a few other things. Combat is a divisive topic, but for those coming from a PC background, Genshin Impact’s combat mechanics will feel more normal. There’s less emphasis on individual character combos and more on synergies, but there’s little tech on each character you can master. Plus, the Elemental Reactions add a nice visual touch.

The graphics are also a huge plus. Genshin Impact feels a lot cleaner to play, especially on PC, with the small touches really shining through on higher-end machines versus the capped performance of Honkai.

Genshin Impact Raiden Shogun , Zhongli, Venti, Aether, Lumine, and Paimon
Genshin Impact’s open-world design is a huge tick.

How Honkai Impact closes the gap to Genshin

However, for all the good Genshin has, there’s some things Honkai Impact 3rd does better. HoYoverse’s debut title is a free-to-play action RPG with a hack-and-slack feel that sends you right to the arcade. And yes, there’s gacha.

That last point is big though. As far as gacha goes, Honkai Impact 3rd’s is a bit more forgiving. Sure, it’s been criticized for being deceptive in the past, but there are easier ways to earn new characters (called Valkyries). Because of all the various elements gated behind gacha (Stigmata, weapons, etc), it can feel rough, but at least you can get new content frequently without having to dip into your savings.

There is also more to do in Honkai than Genshin. It’s still lacking a bit in endgame content, but the advantage of being a game with a four-year headstart is there are just more things, period. The story is more developed, there are plenty of missions to do, the list goes on.

Plus, if you’re a fan of anime or manhua, there’s extra content like that to dig into.

March 7th waving in Honkai: Star Rail
Honkai Impact’s depth of content gets the win over Genshin.

The verdict: Genshin is better, but both are good

It’s been a very quick run through the two games, and you can only really make this decision for yourself after playing both. However, in our opinion, you cannot look past Genshin Impact when comparing it to Honkai Impact 3rd.

Genshin Impact just feels a bit more polished in all aspects, from general graphics to music and art. Call it experience, or maybe the difference between a game developed with PC in mind versus just mobile, but it’s unshakeable.

The rock-paper-scissors style of combat in Honkai Impact 3rd between the three types might be of interest to some players, and so too the numerous button-mashing combos, but it’s got that mobile game feel some players will be put off by. That being said, it’s one of the better mobile games of its kind on the market.

However, it really comes down to personal preference. If you love bullet hell games like Touhou and hack-and-slash, Honkai Impact 3rd will be perfect for you. Prefer to explore a more open-world story? Genshin Impact is your bet.

Raiden Shogun Weekly Boss Fight
Genshin Impact gets our pick, but don’t be afraid to try Honkai Impact 3rd for something different.

Both are available on PC and mobile, with Genshin Impact having the added benefit of also being on PlayStation (and soon to be Switch). So, if you have access to any of these platforms, give both a whirl and see what takes your fancy before you throw too much money into the gacha.

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