After 8 years, the Genshin Impact developer is revitalizing its first hit RPG with a massive update aimed at new players

Bear with me on this one: The Genshin Impact developer's original Honkai RPG—not Honkai: Star Rail—is getting a massive overhaul this week.

Honkai Impact 3rd, MiHoYo's sci-fi action RPG that came way before Genshin Impact, is launching its "Part 2" update on February 29. Part 2 launches a new storyline set on Mars with three new characters and a new male or female protagonist—just like in Honkai: Star Rail.

Similar to MiHoYo's upcoming fourth RPG, Zenless Zone Zero, Honkai Impact 3rd's focus is on extremely fast-paced combat with a linear storyline. Part 2's new characters will use the Astral Ring system, a meter that builds up over time and, when activated, buffs your team and changes how their abilities work. 

In the other Honkai game, Star Rail, there are characters who can similarly transform their skills. It's why screenshots never do the game justice. Every character has three abilities, but they can change based on their passive. Jingliu, for example, is the best DPS character in the game because her basic attack stacks up a buff that eventually causes her to deal ridiculous AoE damage. Honkai Impact 3rd looks deceptively simple at first, too, but I imagine players will find some devastating uses for the Astral Ring system with time.

MiHoYo will have a bunch of limited-time rewards for logging in when the update drops. As much as I love some of Genshin Impact's characters, I could never get over how loose its combat felt. Honkai Impact 3rd is the complete opposite, so it might be time for me to give it a shot as I wait to play more Zenless Zone Zero.

Part 2 won't remove your ability to play the original story centered on main character Kiana that released in 2016, but the graphical updates and new protagonists seem made to appeal specifically to new players who might not even know Honkai Impact 3rd exists. You won't need to know what happened before to enjoy the new stuff.

I hope people check it out, mostly because I've spent the last few years going mad as people discover the most popular character designs in both Genshin and Star Rail originated from this older game.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.