Honkai: Star Rail's gacha animations have no right to go this hard

Honkai Star Rail's 4-star banner pull animation.
(Image credit: HoYoverse)

Look, I know gacha games are bad for me. They're bad for everyone! But there's nothing like finally saving up enough currency to do a big pull, rolling the dice 10 times to see if I can nab a rare character or item. There are the odd rituals I perform like only pulling in specific locations, the silent prayer for my favourite character and the hesitation before finally clicking the Pull 10 button and sealing my fate. Then I eagerly await the animation, trying to figure out its subtle differences to see what rarity I've been lucky enough to get my hands on.

Honkai: Star Rail guides

Honkai: Star Rail Silver Wolf

(Image credit: Tyler C. / HoYoverse)

Honkai: Star Rail codes: Redeem for free currency
Trailblaze EXP farming: Easy ways to level up
Trailblazer builds: Strengthen your main character up
March 7th builds: Power up the pink archer
Dan Heng builds: Sharpen that spear

I've seen plenty of banner pull animations in my eight-ish years of playing various mobile and PC gacha games. They're designed to be dazzling, ramp up the anticipation and get you excited for your potential rewards. I'm a sucker for them, and Honkai: Star Rail's is one of my favourites to date.

I genuinely don't know what I was expecting the first time I pulled from Honkai's banner. My only frame of reference for HoYoverse gachas is Genshin Impact. That game's pull animation is nice enough, sure. Shooting stars rain from the sky, with one shining more brightly than the rest. That star signifies whether you have a 4* or a 5* character or weapon awaiting you. It's pretty, and feels real fitting for the game. I was expecting something similarly chill for Honkai: Star Rail, but nope. It goes hard.

Launching the waifu-wishing train ticket into the stratosphere, hearing the music swell up while trying to catch a glimpse of that sweet five-star rainbow trail. Trying to remember if this music is the four-star song or the five-star victory fanfare. The way the space train roars in with adorable mascot Pom-Pom ready to welcome you to your latest goodies, or be blasted away by the sheer power of high rarity. In reality, it's only around a 10-second sequence separating you from the fruits of your in-game grinding (or depleting your bank balance), but the whole thing is so bombastic and exciting that for me it almost feels like the main event. 

It's a fun, quirky little animation, one that I feel speaks to how much more personality-driven Honkai: Star Rail is compared to HoYoverse's previous games. I love Genshin Impact, but Honkai feels like its cooler aunt who has a super interesting life with buck-wild stories to tell. Everything is ramped up on the wacky scale, while still grounding itself in a genuinely interesting story. The tone feels more friendly and more familiar with heaps of charisma. 

The chemistry and interactions between the protagonist, March 7th and Dan Heng is believable and relatable, and I've found myself laughing aloud more than a few times at the text message interactions with the rest of the case. While it's a little unfair to compare the two games too closely—one being a more linear, turn-based RPG and the other being an open-world Breath of the Wildesque action—it really does feel like HoYoverse has come a long way in just a few short years. Even things as small as a lively gacha pull animation are proof of that.

It's a rad hype-up mechanic, but I feel like I should add a big old footnote here to say don't let it influence your spending habits. Watch videos of pulls on YouTube, and check out free gacha simulators that can help get the urge to pull out of your system before you go reaching for the wildly expensive currency packs. While it may be my favourite gacha animation, it's not one worth breaking the bank over. Enjoy it within reason, and I hope the RNG gods are forever on your side.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.