Honkai Impact 3 (崩坏3, Bēng Huài 3), first released in China by miHoYo in October 2016, is a 3D action RPG initially developed for mobile devices with subsequent releases for other regions and platforms in the following years.
The story revolves around three protagonists who are part of an organization that trains its members, Valkyries, into soldiers to fight against the Honkai beasts threatening human civilization. Valkyries are special in that the marks on their bodies grant them supernatural abilities and resistance against the energy of Honkai. The game starts off with Kiana, Mei, and Bronya on a mission to investigate a flying battleship, whose contents sparked the conflicts to propel the protagonists through cataclysmic events. Many parts of the full story however are absent from the game and are instead present in other media such as manga or animated shorts.
Honkai Impact 3 sports a team-based hack-and-slash gameplay in which players create a team of three battlesuits to take on challenges. The battlesuits are versions of characters within the story, so a single character can have battlesuits that each have unique attacks and abilities. Within the challenges, players control one battlesuit to fight on the field and swap them out with other battlesuits in the team to chain their attacks together in quick succession. As such, team crafting is a major aspect to succeeding in the game as an improperly built team will have no synergy between the battlesuits and lead to failing missions. Adding further complexity are the weapons the battlesuits can equip; for example, a weapon can increase a battlesuits’ damage temporarily but decrease their damage for the rest of the fight, so it becomes a good idea to swap them out rather than having them stay on the field. The slow strategizing about which battlesuits to pick in order to maximize efficiency, followed with hectic swapping and attack mashing constitutes the charm and enjoyability of Honkai Impact 3‘s core gameplay.
Reception was overall positive as Honkai Impact 3 garnered a million downloads within eleven days of its release in Japan in 2017 and thirty-five million downloads across all regions in 2018. Profits were also high due to its gacha nature—spending real life money for a chance to gain in-game commodities—which miHoYo reinvested back into the game by hiring famous voice actors for multiple languages, continuing the manga series, and creating more animated shorts to flesh out the story. Combining the above points with stellar graphics and tight action gameplay resulted in a game of particularly high quality (and file sizes) when compared to the other low budget mobile gacha games on the market at the time. miHoYo’s work with Honkai Impact 3 gave them enough experience to create even more popular games, one being Genshin Impact 3.
IGN Studios. “Honkai Impact 3rd: Big in Japan, Coming to America.” IGN, 28 Mar. 2018, https://www.ign.com/articles/2018/03/28/honkai-impact-3rd-big-in-japan-coming-to-america.
Harris, Iain. “New Mobile RPG Honkai Impact 3rd Racks up 35 Million Downloads.” Pocketgamer.biz, Steel Media Ltd, 12 Apr. 2018, https://www.pocketgamer.biz/asia/news/67912/honkai-impact-3rd-racks-up-35m-downloads/.
Měi Rì Yóuxì Jūn. “Bēng Huài 3 shàngxiàn liǎng nián lǎo wánjiāmen de píngjià jíjǐn.” BìlīBìlī, 11 Sept. 2018, https://www.bilibili.com/read/cv1141716/.
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