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Honkai: Star Rail on PS5 feels ready to go

HoYoverse is on course for another happy landing
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HoYoverse was one of the big fish at gamescom 2023, their booth in Hall 6 of Kölnmesse being a crowd favorite around the clock and their enormous merchandise bags being omnipresent. It helped, of course, that the Chinese developer brought a quartet of titles to the convention – the hotly anticipated PS5 version of Honkai: Star Rail being among them.

I had the chance to spend some time with the build and was impressed by how smooth all of the controls worked. One button press brings up the phone menu, from where you can reach every other function, or three shortcut wheels, which offer another easy way to navigate to the tab you currently have need of. Exploring Honkai: Star Rail’s maps feels very natural with a controller, which shouldn’t really be a surprise – it’s not exactly a mechanically complicated area.

Honkai: Star Rail PS5 version artwork.

Honkai: Star Rail's PS5 version feels ready for release.

What I thought would be more of a challenge is the combat, but the solutions found here seem to be pretty good. Targeting and firing off your Basic Attacks and Skills works quite well and you can pause combat during anyone’s turn by pressing one of the bumpers, allowing you to interject an Ultimate at any point. Checking the status effects and stats of your characters and the enemies works with one button-press as well.

I’ve made a few mistakes due to my lack of familiarity with PlayStation controllers, as I’m used to using Xbox gamepads these days, but that’s hardly anything I can hold the game culpable for. If there is one thing that was a little frustrating about the controls, then it was that some features were too easy to activate – namely the auto-combat, which is activated with the right bumper. I pressed against it a bit too hard sometimes and erroneously activated auto-combat, which of course began firing off Ultimates immediately, so that’s not ideal.

Navigating the map, party screen, and character menu all felt very smooth as well. The build that was available seemed to be based off of the first half of version 1.3, so I had the opportunity to try out that update’s treasure hunt event mode, which was also simple to navigate. The Simulated Universe worked without a hitch, too, showing me all the information I needed about the effects of Blessings at a glance.

However, you shouldn’t expect a similar graphical jump for Honkai: Star Rail’s PS5 version in comparison to the other platforms as was the case for Genshin Impact on PS5. Genshin Impact’s PS5 version was built from the ground up, while Honkai: Star Rail’s very much feels like a sibling from the same generation as the PC edition.

Honkai: Star Rail is set to be launched on PS5 in Q4 of 2023 and is already available on PC as well as iOS and Android. We’re in the last hours of pre-registration for the final test on PS5, for which you can sign up here. For more coverage from gamescom 2023, please check out videogames.si.com.