Honkai Star Rail PS5 release date, gameplay details, and PC comparison

Here’s when the Honkai Star Rail PS5 release date was, as well as our take on how it fares against PC for those hoping to hop aboard the Astral Express.

Honkai Star Rail PS5 Release Date: a character can be seen

When was the Honkai Star Rail PS5 release date? Honkai Star Rail is already a hit on mobile and PC, and console players have been keen to get in on the action. The turn-based RPG was recently released on Sony consoles, but when exactly did the Honkai Star Rail PS5 port arrive? And how does it shape up against its PC counterpart?

Honkai Star Rail has followed a similar trend to developer HoYoverse’s last smash hit, Genshin Impact, in that it arrived on console a long time after its initial launch – we’re still waiting on the Honkai Star Rail Switch release. Now that the PS5 version has arrived, prepare for your sofa-bound adventure with your best PS5 gaming TV by bookmarking our Honkai Star Rail tier list, which we keep updated with the best characters. It even includes some surprisingly strong Honkai Star Rail free characters you can get, too.

Honkai Star Rail PS5 release date

Honkai Star Rail PS5 was released on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. The date was originally confirmed during the September 2023 State of Play, after HoYoverse previously confirmed a Q4 2023 window during Summer Game Fest 2023. According to the PlayStation website, there won’t be a PS4 release.

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The lack of PS4 release will certainly come as a disappointment to last-gen players. However, as ARPG cousin Genshin Impact continues to struggle on dated hardware, it makes sense that HoYo would want to sunset support for the console.

While it’s not an ideal alternative if you’ve yet to upgrade to a PS5 then we’d certainly recommend downloading HSR on your phone or PC if it can run it. You won’t get the big screen experience, but as progression is tied to your account you’ll be able to get going now, before picking up where you left off on console should you make the jump to current-gen.

Honkai Star Rail PS5 story

Honkai Star Rail is the fourth installment in the Honkai series but doesn’t require playing the previous games to understand its story. After the events of Honkai Impact 3rd, Welt Yang travels to an alternate universe on his own adventure.

The central character of Honkai Star Rail is called the Trailblazer, a human implanted with a Stellaron – a seed of ruin – by the God of Destruction. You’re rescued by the crew of the Astral Express and side with them on the adventure to find answers while sealing the Stellarons, reconnecting the pathways between worlds in the process (it’s giving Kingdom Hearts).

Of course, the crew of the Astral Express aren’t the only ones who have taken an interest in the Stellarons. The aptly named Stellaron Hunters, led by an enigmatic being known as Elio, have been living up to their namesake by collecting a number of Stellarons. It’s currently unknown what they want with the seeds, but we can imagine it’s nothing particularly good.

Like any live service game, the story continues to expand as updates arrive. So far there are three main areas you can visit: Herta Space Station, Jarilo-VI, and The Xianzhou Luofu, with the latter two being where the bulk of the story takes place. There’s also the Astral Express itself, which serves as a player hub – most importantly this is where the game’s mascot, Pom-Pom, hangs out. Pom-Pom’s the best.

Jarilo-VI is a frozen wasteland for the most part, having been subjected to a natural disaster known as the ‘Eternal Freeze.’ The city of Belobog alone survived and has since thrived despite the unforgiving environment surrounding it. But things aren’t entirely sunshine and rainbows in the city, as its bustling overworld hides a dark secret, and it isn’t the impoverished underworld.

The Xianzhou Luofu, meanwhile, will see you take to the skies aboard one of the Xianzhou Alliance’s six flagships. It’s giving futuristic Chinese fantasy, blending traditionalism, the supernatural, and modernity. Thematically, this makes sense seeing as the Luofu conducts plenty of trade and cultural exchange with various worlds, and will have perhaps been inspired to modernize through this process.

As for what you’ll get up to here, well, let’s just say that the Xianzhou Alliance doesn’t take kindly to those attempting to achieve immortality, and while aiding the alliance with its business you might just run into some familiar faces – ones you’re not particularly pleased about seeing.

Honkai Star Rail PS5 gameplay

The last of the Honkai Star Rail PS5 pre-launch gameplay arrived during the 2023 Tokyo Game Show. Here we can see Fu Xuan, Blade, Lynx, and Bronya making their way through the Herta Space Station.

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Similarly to other Gacha games, players are able to unlock new characters with their own special sets of abilities to use in battle. Characters are predominantly acquired through the Honkai Star Rail pity system and warping mechanic, giving players the chance to earn powerful featured Honkai Star Rail characters and weapons known as Light Cones.

From there, you will assemble your characters into a Honkai Star Rail team comp and join the fray in intense, tactical turn-based action as you journey to different planets during the story.

Leveling up characters and making Honkai Star Rail builds is a core part of the gameplay loop, so you’ll be taking part in different activities to gear up your characters. When you’re ready, you can take those characters and teams into endgame content like the Honkai Star Rail Forgotten Hall to test your strength.

Honkai PS5 devs have also released an interview diving into the process of bringing Star Rail to Sony’s console – you can check this out below.

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Is Honkai Star Rail better on PS5 or PC?

While there aren’t any version-specific differences between Honkai Star Rail’s PC and PS5 iterations, how the game looks and performs will ultimately come down to your hardware. For example, if you’re running a low-end PC, then Star Rail will undoubtedly perform better on PS5. Likewise, if you’re using one of the best gaming TVs for PS5 to display your game over a low-quality monitor, then it will certainly look its best.

With that said, there is a major setting consideration when playing on PS5 that you need to be aware of that could make HSR look worse than intended – auto HDR (High Dynamic Range). In the test below from ‘Dkmariolink’, you can see that HSR is washed out and lacks dynamic range on PS5.

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Contrary to what you might initially think, the PS5 used here is set to automatically convert Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) content like HSR to HDR, messing with the game’s visuals as it struggles to transpose it. What you’ll need to do to get it looking its best is to head into the PS5’s HDR settings – here’s Sony’s guide – and set it to ‘On When Supported’.

With that being said, we’ve never had an issue with this setting in our testing, and both options look exactly the same on our PS5 monitor. But if you are having issues, that’s probably the culprit.

When it comes to controller vs keyboard and mouse, there really isn’t much difference between the two. Unlike Genshin Impact which requires aiming on certain characters, and so comfort level definitely plays a part, there’s a natural fluidity going from one control type to the other in HSR. There aren’t any precise inputs that would leave you wishing you had a mouse hooked up, and combat inputs are just as intuitive on a controller as they are on a keyboard.

The final major point to consider when comparing the two is, simply, comfort. Unless your PC is hooked up to a TV, you’ll most likely have a much more enjoyable experience playing Honkai for long periods from the comfort of your sofa, rather than in one of the best gaming chairs.

That’s everything you need to know about the Honkai Star Rail PS5 release date, gameplay, and more. If you’re excited to hop in, then it’s a good idea to keep up to date with the Honkai Star Rail banner schedule so you know who is available next. Before you go, be sure to check out our best PS5 RPG games list for more great titles like HSR. Have fun, Trailblazer.