Honkai Star Rail has launched to enormously positive reception – so much so that developer Hoyoverse is throwing a little weekend party to celebrate and give out 10 free pulls – and one recurring bit of praise is that its main character, the Trailblazer, is head and shoulders above the Traveler protagonist in Genshin Impact.
One of the hottest posts on the Honkai Star Rail subreddit argues that "the absence of a Paimon-like companion makes this game so much better." Because the Trailblazer always participates in conversations themselves, rather than through a proxy, their dialogue brings a lot more personality to the table. Beyond that, the writing style in Star Rail is also more colorful than Genshin, which often plays it safe.
"Watching the MC being sassy and just being a goofball makes the character interactions and the overall story much more enjoyable for me," writes Kiretsu.
"I despise how we're lucky in Genshin if the Traveler gets to speak even one line during an event. The Trailblazer actually having multiple speaking lines is a breath of fresh air," adds Dragore3.
"Paimon felt like a child that had to explain things to an even stupider child sometimes, it was so rare for characters to just interact like people in Genshin, even in casual group hangout scenes," MillionMiracles points out.
"I also love his/her flavorful choices of dialogues, ranging all the way from thoughtful and humble to silly and straight up a-hole sometimes," tonyshark116 says of Honkai Star Rail's Trailblazer.
Plenty of players have held up specific lines that, uh, characterize the Trailblazer. There's a bit where the scientist Herta asks you to come visit her, and your options are: "Yes, ma'am" or "Beg me then." Other moments provide fun fourth wall breaks, and this kind of stuff can actually make you eager to see more dialogue options. Amusingly, Paimon's penchant for warning you of off-limits or unfinished areas in Genshin even gets a nod. There's also a truly precious interaction about hiding in a hotel wardrobe which has gone on to inspire fan art.
Personally, I've been writing the Trailblazer to be an honest and good-natured dingus who doesn't know her own strength or understand much of anything about the world. She is an amnesiac newly born from space magic, after all. And I have to say, it is surprising how well the dialogue supports this approach. You could wring Genshin Impact's Traveler dry over a funnel and barely collect an ounce of personality – and that's after noticeable improvements to their writing in more recent patches – whereas Honkai Star Rail is an RPG with the capacity for actual role-playing.
You only have three days left to claim 10 free pulls in Honkai Star Rail.