I am pretty sure that by this time, everyone who has read most of the stuff I wrote, already know that I am a big fan of anime and things related to it. For today I will be talking about the other game I am currently hooked in aside from Fate/ GO, and that is Honkai Impact 3 or HI3 for convenience's sake.
I guess it won't come as a surprise that the art style is reminiscent of the style used in Japanese animation because this game is openly admitting that it is a game for anime fans and related people. If you are thinking that I am only playing this game for the Waifus then you are not off the mark if we are talking about my motive when I first started playing it however let me share to you other things that made me stay in this game for around 9 - 10 months now.
Buckle up for I am going to take you now into the world of Honkai Impact 3!
Those are some nice hip movements... * ehem * I mean that's some nice animation right? And if you are thinking that this may be a case of false advertising wherein the actual product is substantially lower in quality than what's being shown in the promotional video, then sorry to disappoint you but you will feel silly for thinking like that after seeing the gameplay of this one.
You don't believe me?
Okay you can close your mouth now, I guess you believe me now right? So now that I got your attention let's talk about the game mechanics in detail.
Honkai Impact 3
Developer: miHoYo Limited
Platforms: Android, iOS
I know that there are tons of hack and slash games available now in play store/ app store , too many to keep count in fact so you might be asking what makes HI3 special? To answer that, I listed the things that I, as someone who played the game, think makes HI3's gameplay a cut above the rest.
1. No Character Lock
This is one of the first thing I noticed when I played this game. There is no character creation part which puzzled me that time because all of the Action RPG's I played before this one started with that.
But after finishing the tutorial I finally got the answer, you need not create a character because you can use all the characters (provided you own them of course). So what does this mean? It means that you can experience all the available play style there is and find the suitable one for you and if you want to try a different play style then you can easily do so anytime you'd like. That's a great improvement from the traditional style where you will be stuck to your role unless you start raising a new one which is going to cost a lot of time and effort.
There are different servers for the game and I am playing in the SEA server and currently there are total of 30 Valkyries released in this server (CN and JP are a little bit ahead but SEA and Global are catching up) so imagine the variety of style one can experience without needing to raise a new one totally from scratch.
You can check the link below to see some of the Valkyries available (this video was uploaded on 12/17/2017 so it is a bit outdated)
2. Team Building
This is not the team building you think it is, the Valkyries doesn't go on a vacation and play games to improve their social interactions. What I mean by team building is that you are allowed to use 3 Valkyries in almost every instance and it is not a simple thing like put all the strongest together and problem solved. The game is a bit tricky and added mechanics that makes choosing a suitable team a vital matter that prompt players to carefully think before pushing through.
First thing to consider when building a team is checking out the attribute chart.
Note: Pink = Psychic, Orange = Creature, Blue = Mecha
Distinguishing a monsters' attribute is quite simple since the color of their type is also the color scheme of their design and you can check the enemy attribute before entering a stage. For the characters, their attribute can be checked in their information but it can also be easily inferred from the color of their character cards' background color.
Next thing to consider is the compatibility of the Valkyries. Since players are allowed 3 Valkyries at most it doesn't mean that you will just switch your characters to counter an enemy type, there are multiple Valkyries to activate Switch Skills and Quick Time Event (QTE) Skills and also to create a set of combo to effectively utilize each Valkyries' potential. Currently, Valkyries are divided into Damage Dealer, Sub-Damage Dealer, Support and Crowd Control (CC) making team building a fun game of mix and match to suit the players' own style.
You can check out these videos to know more about the importance of building a good team and the mechanics of triggering QTE skills.
I am pretty sure that many Action RPGs already have a dodge function as well but most of the time it is a negligible part because you can play on auto mode and just be done with it, which means that you can dodge or not and still get the same result. Dodging in HI3, on the other hand, is more than just about saving your HP, there are different effects that comes with successfully evading an enemy attack like a global time slow, a single time lock on an enemy, summon clones, ignite an enemy and many other fun effects that can be chained to trigger other team members' QTE skills which brings me to the next point - Combo Chaining.
You can check out the importance of dodging in the game in this video.
4. Combo Chaining
This is the best selling point of the game for me, it reminds me of the play style of Dragon Nest (the PC version) where you can chain combos and juggle enemies into the air. The variation of combos one can use in this game is further increased by having 3 Valkyries in the party so there's a lot one can try.
The video below demonstrates the different combo skills that one of the game's character can perform.
To even things out, I won't be talking about the positive side of the game only. Although I am a big fan of it there are also aspects of the game that are generally considered as a downside (some does not apply to me but for the sake of impartiality I opted to list them) by many.
This comes up most of the time as a primary concern for F2P players (like me) because people love to play on equal footing but the power of money disrupts that balance almost every time. This game is no exception to the "money beats hard work" policy because it involves Gacha, that is, needless to say, the enemy of F2P players since time immemorial.
Well it is not as bad as Fate/ GO's gacha because they at least offer guaranteed rare pull every 10 times of opening supply boxes and they segregated Equipment Supplies from Character Supplies so the chance of getting the item one desires is increased significantly. But the bottom line remains the same, more pulls = more stronger characters and gears.
2. Hard Grind
If you want to play this game then be prepared to at least allot around 3-4 hours of your day to clear the bare minimum that includes clearing story/extra stages, coop stages, dailies, events, raids, open world (opens thrice a week), memorial arena and abyss (opens twice a week).
There are a lot of things to do in the game that it is tiring at times especially when events overlap (because SEA server is catching up to CN and JP servers) but as a F2P player this is the only way to bridge the gap from paying users. Grinding will give you a considerable amount of crystals to pull supplies and obtain powerful gears and characters.
3. No PVP
I know many players want to beat the lights out of each other but unfortunately this game doesn't offer that service. The way the skills were designed in the first place makes PVP impossible since the mechanism of time slow will automatically dictate the flow of the battle and it will become character dependent than player skill dependent. The best example to demonstrate how unfair the PVP system will be is the character called Knight Moonbeam that can trigger the time slow without the need to dodge, that is to say, at the beginning of the battle this particular character can just trigger its time slow and then proceed to massacre the opponent. Too OP plox nerf!
4. No Male Characters
I know that treating this as a disadvantage is totally up to one's disposition but just to be safe I will I put it in here (though I personally don't mind it) to avoid backlash from people that seriously want to play as bulky muscular character that looks like characters straight out of JoJo.
I am pretty sure I covered the game's best selling point at this point which is its gameplay and I also listed the bad stuff so from this point onward I will just be adding other things that might be of interest to some of you.
I am not sure where to put this so I will start this section with this one. If you are wondering if there is a Honkai Impact 1 and Honkai Impact 2 game then the answer is no, there's none. The game is called Honkai Impact 3 because in the story this is the 3rd time that the Honkai attack hence the title. Though it is interesting to note that there are previous games that the company (miHoYo) made that already featured the characters from HI3 so some speculates that these games are connected in some ways.
Back into the topic, the story revolves around an organization called Schicksal and the girls under its command called Valkyries that are fighting against monsters called Honkai and their rival organization Anti Entropy. It is basically a type of "fight to save the world" kind of story that is ever popular and has already been utilized in numerous works already. Though a bit generic the game still managed to be entertaining with their extra stories that allows players to explore the origins of some characters and even bring the players into the distant past and learn things during the previous era (2nd Impact) and the main story has unexpected twists making the wait for the continuation worth it, to make things better the accompanying CGI are really well made that will give even notable animation studios a run for their money.
Breaking the 4th Wall
I think it is just my thing but I love works that can break the 4th wall and make me laugh like an idiot blankly staring at my phone's screen (even if sometimes it weird out the people around me). Just like Fate/ GO it can deliver in game jokes and it even references anime and other games. The game also has a mascot character called Ai-chan (a.k.a. cabbage-chan) that blurts out funny lines in game and what's even funnier is that her persona is also being used by the people running the game's facebook page so talking to the page is a fun thing on its own (though I feel sorry for them when people start to troll them).
And the best one so far.
Community & Other Media
The game is targeted towards anime fans and related people so one can already imagine what kind of community this one have. There are a lot of fan arts, memes, squabbles about best waifu, saltiness about other people's fortune but overall a very fun and lively community.
Aside from the game there's also a manga being published though I hope an anime would be made seeing how well they can deliver on that field. There is also the 4koma series that parodies the game and was surprisingly being acknowledged by the page that they even use it in some of their own announcements.
They also held a fan art contest recently with real $ on the line and smaller contest about strategy writing that gives winners in game currencies.
You can check out the published manga, 4koma and other fan-made stories here.
IV. Final Thoughts
Honkai Impact 3 is a game made by Otakus for Otakus, that is the best way to describe this game. The people behind it know their target market and moves accordingly that is why the cast mainly consist of female characters. However no matter how much people can relate to the developer it will all be for naught if the game experience flops which isn't the case for this one, this may sound bias but on all the games I played online, I believe only the PC version of Dragon Nest tops this one but take note that this is a game on mobile so that much is to be expected.
Although it has a very strong gameplay experience it is still without flaws and the most common cause of complaint of course is the gap between paying users and F2P users. Despite having good gears though it is still important to have decent skills when playing this one because of the complex game mechanics of the game that will kill you no matter how much money you've spent gearing your Valkyries.
Overall Honkai Impact 3 is a very solid game with top notch animation not only during cut scenes and promotional videos but also when playing the game itself. The game is fun in ways more than one - gameplay, in-game dialogues, page admins, communities and other works related to it. This is a game I would recommend not only to anime fans but also to non-anime fans that are looking for intense action RPG on mobile.
Note: I am running the game at the lowest settings so the quality of these images are still not at its best (blame my potato phone for being unable to handle max settings lol).
That's it for this one. Hope you liked it and see you again on my next post!
Disclaimer: All images and clips used belong to their respective owners.