Honkai Impact 3rd (崩坏3rd) is a free-to-play 3D action role-playing game (originally a mobile exclusive) developed and published by miHoYo, and later ported to Microsoft Windows. It is the spiritual successor to Houkai Gakuen 2, using many characters from the previous title in a separate story. The game is notable for incorporating a variety of genres, from hack and slash and social simulation, to elements of bullet hell, platforming, shoot 'em up and dungeon crawling across multiple single and multiplayer modes. It features gacha mechanics.
In addition to the game, the storyline of Honkai Impact 3rd spans multiple supplementary media including an anime series, multiple manhua series, and promotional videos.
Honkai Impact 3rd is set in an alternate version of Earth, plagued by catastrophes resulting from "Honkai" (in Chinese translates as "Chaos", while in Japanese, it is said "Houkai".). Honkai is largely viewed as a malevolent force with a will of its own, able to corrupt humans into undead creatures, manifest itself in the form of various monsters, and select various individuals known as "Herrschers" to imbue them with god-like powers able to trigger apocalyptic events. The Honkai is a cyclic phenomenon, returning to end civilization on Earth each time it gets too advanced - the Previous Era ended 50,000 years prior to the game's start, after the 14th Herrscher defeated humanity.
In the present day, various global factions exist to combat or take advantage of the power of Honkai. These include "Schicksal", a European-based peacekeeping organization that deploys human warriors known as Valkyries to combat the Honkai; "Anti-Entropy", formerly the North American branch of Schicksal that objected to the use of human soldiers in favor of mechanized robots; and "World Serpent", a shadow organization manipulating events since the end of the Previous Era.
Prior to the story's start, three Herrscher awakenings (or "Impacts") have occurred in the Current Era: the Herrscher of Reason who became the leader of Anti-Entropy instead of fighting humanity, the Herrscher of the Void who was defeated by Schicksal and Anti-Entropy in 2000, and the Herrscher of Thunder who was prevented from fully awakening and sent to train her powers as a Valkyrie at Schicksal's St. Freya Academy.
Honkai Impact 3rd has players control a team of up to three characters, known as "Valkyries", in real-time combat against various enemies. During battle, players may freely move their character around the battlefield and switch between their three deployed Valkyries in real-time. Each Valkyrie has unique attack, evasion, switch, and ultimate skills, as well as a type. The three types Mech, Biologic, and Psychic are based on a rock-paper-scissors-based system where types are advantaged and disadvantaged depending on both the enemy type and their own type. Additionally, the two types Quantum and Imaginary exist and are disadvantaged over each other, neutral towards the above three types, and advantaged over themselves. Valkyrie stats and skills can be changed with various weapons and equipment, which can be improved by using in-game resources. New equipment (known as "Stigmata"), weapons, and Valkyries can obtained either through in-game crafting or through a gacha system.citation needed]
Single-player game modes include the "Story" campaign, consisting of stages punctuated by dialogue in cutscenes and full motion videos (FMVs), "Chronicles", a series of brief side stories that explore Valkyries' backstories or other aspects of the world, and "Open World", allowing exploration of several large open-ended fields to gather materials and complete various challenge tasks, coupled with their own storylines.
The game features various multiplayer cooperative and competitive modes such as "Co-op Raid", where players team up to progress through several stages and obtain legendary weapons and related rewards; "Memorial Arena", where players compete against a set of bosses for the highest score across the server; and "Abyss", where players attempt to progress as far as possible through a gauntlet of battles to compete for high scores against others in a small group. Players are able to join groups of other players, called "Armadas", which allow for more opportunities for events and rewards. Armadas allow for limited requesting of materials and resources from other players in the Armada.
Outside of battles, Honkai Impact 3rd allows players to interact with the Valkyrie and Stigmata characters through the "Dorm" mode. Upon completing character specific tasks, different characters may be able to move into the dorms, whereupon new character information and dialogues between those characters can be seen. Players can craft various pieces of furniture and design the layout of the dorm rooms to increase the "comfort" of the Valkyries and Stigmata therein. Greater comfort levels allow players to level up their dorm limits for more elaborate decoration. Players are able to visit and view each other's decorated dorm layouts.
Secondary gameplay mechanics include various minigames incorporating bullet hell, platforming, and shoot 'em up elements that allow players to gather various crafting and experience materials. Limited-time seasonal events may also include gameplay styles such as dungeon crawling and battle royale which are not normally seen in the main gameplay modes.