Friday, December 1, 2023

Mobile Friday - Honkai: Star Rail - A Good Console Game On Mobile, But Not A Good Mobile Game

For Mobile Friday this week is i tried out Honkai: Star Rail on my iPhone 14 Pro. This game from miHoYo and Cognosphere  is also out on Android, PS5, and  PC.

Honkai: Star Rail is Apple 's iPhone game of the year for 2023 so as i'm thinking about my own top 5 games of the year, i was keen to play this game that i somehow missed when it first came out.

But, you must play the first hour of this game on Wifi as there are TWO content downloads you must do to play the game. there's a small, in comparison to the second one, download before the game starts and there's a second that's 12GB in size before we've even finished the first tutorial part of the game! I'll be clear, this means the game won't be my Number 1 game of 2023 as these additional downloads mean the game isn't designed for mobile players. Such things are from MMO's on PC and Consoles and are tolerated there because they have an online connection. but on Mobile where people have data caps, it's not acceptable. 

Something else about how the game plays makes me think that the game was developed first on consoles and/or PC first is how the camera works, especially in comparison to how the character moves. the camera is much slower to move, often requiring greater thumb movement, whilst the player character moves much faster. In this video you'll see and sometimes here how i have to move my thumb on and off the my phone to try and keep up. This makes playing the game handheld a little less stable. there's no Bluetooth controller support either.

Something we see more and more on current gen consoles and that has existed on PC for a long time are graphical options. they're here, too. But implemented in a much poorer way. there's no information provided as to what changes each option does to the game, how much performance is lost or gained, or even what's recommended for the phone you're playing it on. So far, all these things make the game feel like a so-so port of Honkai: Star Rail from console and PC to iPhone.

I'll be the first to admit than an hours look at this game isn't enough. i don't know if there are other additional downloads, for example, nor do i know if the game's story improves over the issues i had with it in the beginning. One of the things that stood out the most was how the games describes what's happening to the station we're on whilst what i saw didn't match that. the station is under attack, there are enemies and fights, and i just saw a couple of enemies hanging out. there seemed to be no damage to the station, no alerts or alarms, and no real haste from the characters. This issue came up near the end when one character says they're going to check up on another. we later meet up and they tell us the situation with that character. then we meet that character and how it looks in-game doesn't match the description and then it goes on to act like this is it's first time meeting any of us. It's like the story telling and the designers aren't talking to each other, or it could be a translation issue. what ever it is, it took me out of the game.

The game does look amazing. the heat on my phone gives the impression that it is being pushed somewhat hard by this game. the music is good, too. the design is bright and clear, and the UI is generally smart if a little small at times. the game does make great use of the screen and the dynamic island never got in the way of things. So there are many positives about this game, but if i was given the choice of playing this on phone or console, i'd go with console. 

(Version 1.5.0 Played)