Zenless Zone Zero Random Play Store Bangboo
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8 ways Zenless Zone Zero is different from Genshin Impact & Honkai Star Rail

It's completely different!

Zenless Zone Zero is HoYoverse's newest darling, expected to release in mid-2024. After playing the beta, here are all the similarities and differences I found between ZZZ, Genshin Impact, and Honkai: Star Rail.

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How Zenless Zone Zero is different from Genshin Impact & Honkai Star Rail


Zenless Zone Zero Hollow Exploration
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Out of the three games, Zenless Zone Zero has the most limited exploration functionalities, with little focus on overworld encounters. There are NPC interactions and activities you can do in the overworld (such as playing in the arcade), but unlocking areas is story-dependent and the explorable world is extremely small.

All enemy encounters happen inside Hollows, which are digital dungeons where you can find Observation Data, Supply Boxes (the equivalent of Treasure Chests), and solve puzzles with the help of props (such as special drills to shift between "floors"). Even so, unlike HSR where you can say hi to enemies at any time, you can only do so in ZZZ while doing Commissions or re-entering existing dungeons. The exploration system feels closer to a combination of Arknights and Honkai Impact 3rd, plus a port of HSR's Simulated Universe in the form of Hollow Zero.


Zenless Zone Zero combat screenshot
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ZZZ's combat system takes a little bit of everything from previous HoYoverse games while introducing more combat-focused mechanics. All combat is done inside Hollows with no overworld enemy encounters—a mechanic reminiscent of Honkai Impact 3rd. You can switch controls between Agents who are supported by up to three Bangboo, depending on the game mode. Unlike HSR, Zenless Zone Zero does not have any auto-battling functions.

The combat system takes inspiration from traditional fighting games, with Perfect Dodge, Perfect Assist, Dodge Counters, Chain Attacks, Decibels (combo), Parrying techniques, and other mechanics that will feel familiar if you've previously explored the fighting sphere. It's a fast-paced and action-packed experience completely different from Genshin Impact's focus on Elemental Reactions and Honkai: Star Rail's turn-based mechanics.


Zenless Zone Zero Ben Bigger & Corin Wickes
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Zenless Zone Zero's graphics are top-tier, as is expected from a major HoYoverse title. The in-game models have a more soft-shaded look, featuring less crisp linework and a more painterly style. ZZZ's characters come in all shapes and sizes and are not limited to specific models like Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail. This has allowed the developer more liberties with character design. If Ben (the bear on the left of the image above) were to appear in Genshin Impact, he would probably be as disappointing as Arataki Itto's muscle-less form.

Zenless Zone Zero Sixth Street
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Despite the lack of overworld exploration and inability to enter stores, Sixth Street is well-designed with a variety of ordinary-looking NPCs and interesting shopkeepers. I find the environment inside the Hollow Deep Dive to be a lot less palatable—I quickly got sick of the sights of ruined cities and wrecked trains and hope that new area expansions will remedy the visual boredom.

Character Design

Zenless Zone Zero Victoria Housekeeping Co official art
Image via HoYoverse

Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail's character designs are primarily informed by the characters' geography, such that characters from Inazuma will have a distinct look and feel, different from those in Fontaine. Zenless Zone Zero doesn't have a large world, so the developers made use of factions to group characters with similar designs together.

The image above illustrates Victoria Housekeeping Co., a human resources dispatch agency that thematically dresses in maid and butler-inspired outfits. Even their Bangboo are dressed in line with the Agents.


Zenless Zone Zero chapter 2 manga panel
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Zenless Zone Zero is not a story-focused game, as evidenced by the existence of the skip button. The story itself isn't difficult to understand, and there aren't major lore drops outside of the daily newspaper stand and Inter-Knot message board. Unlike Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail, which both house a massive archive of collectible readings for lore lovers, ZZZ has little to dissect.

However, the game makes up for the lack of an interesting story with engaging storytelling methods. It uses a combination of manga panels, dialogue, and highly expressive cutscenes to deliver a fun, quirky, and character-driven story that focuses on exploring each faction and how they tie into the larger plot.

With that said, ZZZ's story is very easy to comprehend. While Genshin may put you into a confusing samsara of trying to figure out what exactly happened in Remuria, and Honkai: Star Rail may have you questioning Dan Heng's past despite playing the story twice, you won't have any problems understanding ZZZ's straightforward narrative.

Gacha System

Zenless Zone Zero Bangboo Signal Search
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HoYoverse's gacha system is a copy-paste job across most of their games, and ZZZ is no different. It offers a standard banner (Stable Channel) and limited character and weapon banners that regularly rotate. The Stable Channel offers a free five-star selector after reaching 300 pulls, just like Honkai: Star Rail. Meanwhile, the limited banner offers a 50-50 system that guarantees you get the Agent or weapon on rate-up at every second pity.

What's different is the existence of a Bangboo channel, which is completely free-to-play (as of the beta), as currency is only obtainable by playing the game. (Bangboo are battle assistants that can be deployed to help the team eliminate Ethereals and other enemies in the Hollows.)

Co-op Mode

Genshin Impact allows players to enter each other's Worlds, play mini-games together, and often release engaging co-op events, such as the yearly Windtrace. Meanwhile, Honkai: Star Rail doesn't offer any semblance of co-op gameplay other than being able to offer and use friend supports.

Zenless Zone Zero luckily implemented the early stages of co-op gameplay in the latest beta, which allows up to three players to band together to defeat bosses in limited game modes. Some key combat gameplay, such as Combos and Perfect Assists, are dependent on character-switching, so the inability to do these has opened doors for a different set of multiplayer combat mechanics.


Zenless Zone Zero VR Device Farming
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Out of the three HoYoverse games, Genshin Impact has the least favorable farming system, which requires you to repeat manual battles inside Domains far too many times. Honkai: Star Rail's auto-battle system is the loosest, as it allows you to run the game in the background with little management necessary.

ZZZ falls in between the two. You need to manually defeat bosses to farm for resources, but battles are fully customizable. You can edit the farming lineup to include multiple waves of enemies that drop different items under the same material category. Additionally, Disk Drive (Artifact) farming is RNG-dependent in ZZZ, as you only farm for generic currency and must "Tune" to pull for Disk Drives at random.

For more on ZZZ, check out our guide on How to get Polychromes in Zenless Zone Zero here on Pro Game Guides.

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Image of Nicki Si
Nicki Si
Nicki is a freelance writer with 5 years of writing experience. She's a fan of anything from HoYoverse, from Genshin Impact to Tears of Themis and Honkai: Star Rail. She also loves rhythm games like BanG Dream! and D4DJ.

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8 ways Zenless Zone Zero is different from Genshin Impact & Honkai Star Rail

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