Honkai: Star Rail Version 2.0: A dream trip for players

Hop aboard the Astral Express once again! For this time, one of, if not THE biggest update since launch has finally gone live for HoYoverse’s latest RPG — Honkai: Star Rail Version 2.0. With many new characters, a continuation of the main storyline, new puzzle mechanics, and more, there is a multitude of fresh experiences that you can look forward to in this latest update!

With the Trailblazers leaving the Xianzhou Luofu, they now find themselves preparing for a jump to Penacony next after receiving a personal invite from “The Family”. It’s a visit to a dream world where anything and everything is tailored to providing guests with an enjoyable stay — nothing could go wrong… Right?

We take a look at some of the things that Honkai: Star Rail Version 2.0 brings, but there might be some spoilers, so fair warning before reading on.

Trailblaze Mission: The Sound and the Fury

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: World
One of the many cutscenes of the Trailblazer going into the Dreamworld

Now, with our protagonists in Penacony, everything seems to be pointing toward a relaxing “dream” holiday, and everyone is excited. Penacony is, after all, the Planet of Festivities — boasting the universe’s biggest and fanciest amusement park. Plus, we’re right on the eve of one of their most important celebrations – the Charmony Festival.

But what exactly can you expect from the continuation of the main storyline? Is it worth playing right away? Well, after spending more than 9 hours exploring the new areas and completing the main story, I’m glad to report that I wasn’t disappointed.

Right from when Pom-Pom counts down to one before warp-jumping to the very end of the current story, you’re constantly left on edge through the story’s twists and shocking revelations, all while you constantly click your mouse to speed-read the dialogues between characters. 

Penacony and its many layers

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: Penacony
Penacony’s Main Street

I must admit, even though Honkai: Star Rail is not an open-world game like Genshin Impact, it still does a great job of making the world feel alive through its graphics time and time again. Penacony too, looks extraordinarily vibrant and eye-catching, almost reminiscent of nightlife in Times Square, New York, with all its neon billboards, flashing signs, and the lot.

Despite all this, the caveat is that most shops in Honkai: Star Rail Version 2.0 are inaccessible. Unfortunately, they are just window-dressing — similar to Jarilo VI, an earlier planet in the story. Still, there are other things to interact with, namely the multiple new puzzle mechanics around Penacony, like the Dream Ticker and Hanu’s Adventures, which also reward you with chests upon completion.

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: Dream Ticker
Dream Ticker, is a new puzzle where you have to guide Clockie to the gears

To top it all off, there is also a casino-like area where you can spend some of the new currencies – Aideen Tokens, to win prizes such as Light Cones, Ascension Materials, and Consumables.

But that was the street area; what about the others? 

On “Dream’s Edge”, you’re on the rooftops of Penacony; a noticeably more peaceful and quiet area, if you exclude the mobs roaming around that is. Apart from that though, I must admit, moving around here gets incredibly annoying after a while. As buildings are set far apart, there’s a need to repeatedly use the new mechanics to move around.

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: Dream’s Eye
Dream’s Eye is another new mechanic that helps you move around from building to building

One such mechanic is “Dream’s Eye”, which allows you to somehow connect the higher places to lower ground. Some of the teleport waypoints around the map are spaced far apart, meaning that you’d have to, unfortunately, make a long detour to reach certain areas of the map.

In truth, however, such problems are just minor little gripes that I have about the game in general — perhaps I’m spoilt with how easy it is to move around in other HoYoverse games, such as the aforementioned Genshin Impact. Honkai: Star Rail just doesn’t have the luxury of having the same sort of open-world exploration mechanics as its compatriot.

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: The Reverie (Dreamscape)
Upside Down House, 2024, Colourised

There is a particular place that messes with your brain – “The Reverie (Dreamscape)” is a hauntingly beautiful area. What isn’t, however, are the Bubble Towers; they allow you to walk on the sides and even the ceiling, making it seem like you’re experiencing a dream level right out of Inception. It might just be me, but I’ve had to constantly tilt my head following which side we were walking on, and my sense of orientation was completely off half the time.

Concept and execution-wise? Great. Stress-free gameplay? For me, not so much. Boy, does it give you one heck of a mental workout figuring out how to go to a certain point of the room? Besides these new funky room-flipping towers, other gateways called “Arcane Artworks” also bring you to even MORE places not shown on the map. 

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: Arcane Artwork
Inside of an Arcane Artwork

Safe to say, you will have more than enough things to explore in the new areas, so just grab your blanket, get comfortable, and slowly savour each part that Penacony has to offer.

Trouble Brewing

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: Firefly
We’ll be friends forever, right?

With every update, of course, comes many new characters that our dear Trailblazer meets. One that would’ve stood out to many for her carefree personality and design is Firefly, a stranger you save while roaming around Penacony not long after entering it.

You will soon find out who Firefly truly is, and listen to her heartfelt confessions, all before you find out what exactly the Family is hiding beyond the illusion that is Penacony, with monsters, betrayal, and memes that imply death and murder all awaiting you. 

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: Story
I can sense it, but I’d rather live in ignorance and bliss

Being together with all these characters makes you form a bond with them. Whether the bond is good or bad depends primarily on your interactions with them. With Firefly, your experiences with her are a combination of memory-making and just having a good time – something not done ever since the start of the main story.

As things slowly unravelled in front of my eyes, I was pretty surprised to see my mood fluctuate so much following the narrative — the overall writing of the story gets you into it, almost as if you were part of the gang that is trying to figure out what is going on.

A piece of advice for those playing through is to prepare your best teams. There are two separate boss fights that, like the others, will require you to restart continuously; showing how annoying it is to defeat them. Oh, and get some tissues ready too – you’d most probably need them.

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: Story Continuation
More to come

The real tearjerker, however, is that I’d now have to wait 7 weeks until Update 2.1 comes out for the story to continue. Yes, you read that right. The story isn’t finished just yet, and I’m very eager to see how it goes through.

New Characters

But of course, we can’t talk about the update without going through the banners that have been released.

With Update 2.0, there are two new characters – Black Swan and Sparkle, alongside a returning duo– Dan Heng: Imbibitor Lunae and Jing Yuan. Both Black Swan and Dan Heng: Imbibitor Lunae are in the first phase, while Sparkle and Jing Yuan will be released in the second phase of this update. All characters’ Signature Light Cones will also be released simultaneously. Let’s talk about them.

Black Swan

A 5* Wind Character following the Path of Nihility, she’s probably been one of the most anticipated characters for the game ever since they dropped her drip marketing on their socials, which, in a sense, kind of shows you who the main player base consists of. 

I kid — I, too, have pulled for her and safely can say that she has a very good kit that, although niche at times, promises to be one of the most powerful units thus far in terms of DOT (Damage Over Time).

But of course, I won’t go into the specifics, such as how you should be building her; there are dedicated content creators, such as IWinToLose, Braxophone, etc, who have already gone through that, so you can take a look at their videos instead.  

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: Black Swan
Black Swan, to me, is one of the best-looking characters to date.

What I will say is that after using her for a fair few battles though, I think I might have one of the strongest teams in-game now that I’ve managed to obtain her with Kafka – a DOT-enabling unit for those that don’t know who she is. They both synergise wonderfully, allowing for constant streams of damage that enable you to shred through enemies with utmost ease.


Sparkle is a 5* Quantum character that will be released in the second half of Update 2.0 and follows the Path of Harmony. There is still quite some time until she releases, so for now, we can only wait and admire her drip marketing.

You do run into her during the main Trailblazer mission, shapeshifting into a multitude of characters we know and showing you the actual Dreamscape, which gives you an understanding of what exactly Penacony is hiding. As for what else she does in the story, you’d probably want to find out yourself by playing through it!

Honkai Star Rail Update 2.0:: Sparkle
Friend? Or Foe?

As for how we think she will play, from the leaks thus far for Sparkle, she has been touted to be an extremely versatile and broken support character, especially for main damage dealers such as Seele, so if you require more buffers for your teams, you can consider pulling for her!


Honkai: Star Rail Version 2.0 is well worth your time. Its well-written storyline will surely make you want the next patch already. Couple that with the many new mechanics and areas, and you have yourself an update that will more than keep you occupied for quite a while. Not to forget, many new events are also coming soon, which can only mean more Stellar Jades and more pulling for limited-time characters.

Personally, it is a love-hate relationship. For all the mini inconveniences that annoy me to no end, there are also the many emotional rollercoasters during the story, the frustration of having to look for chests around the areas, as well as the satisfaction of completing it. And boy, what I would give to re-experience the story again.

Honkai: Star Rail can be downloaded from a multitude of platforms, such as their official website, the Epic Games Store, the App Store and Google Play Store.

Screenshots were taken on a PC, with additional visuals courtesy of HoYoverse.

Glenton Weng

Plays FPS Games, but prefers JRPGS

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