Code Vein is a soul’s base game that sticks to the core elements but brings new ones to the table. It manages to create its own identity and make a name for itself in a genre that’s been popular. Weapon styles, classes, and skills have a lot of variations making the game combat fun to experiment with and tailored to personal tastes. Its unique storytelling and mechanics set it apart from its peer and creates a sort of hybrid that is an interesting addition to these types of games.
+ Progression is satisfying.
+ Vestiges are a unique way to build lore and story when compared to similar games.
+ Souls-like gameplay that brings new elements that make it different and give it personality.
+ One of the best character creators. A huge amount of customization tools to shape your character.
+ Fun side diversions including side dungeons, quests, vestiges, trading through friendship points and more.
+ The story gets better as the game progresses, generating interest from the player and evolving into a series of developments.
– Doesn’t quite live up to the potential it has when compared to other games of this style.
– Takes a while to get good, players must get to the 5th area (not counting the home base) to truly experience what this game has to offer, which might turn them away before they get there.
Code Vein gameplay features a huge array of options when it comes to combat. Weapons have their unique moves in contrast to many soul games, which creates their fighting style in the game. Gear can affect movement, changing the type between a roll or a dash or affecting the skills used in combat. Classes feature a bunch of archetypes from healers to tanks to battlemages.
The mix of these creates a loadout that you can use, and it is rewarding to see one own character become stronger and shaping their approach to enemies, exploration, and bosses. For example, a defensive style with a lance, using long reach to hit enemies before they can even strike you can be combined with defensive skills such as area knockbacks that push enemies away, projectiles of ice to have a long-range option and defense boosts.
Apart from the customization options, the game follows the traditional formula. Players explore dungeons, find the boss, beat it and keep moving on. The difference here is the AI system that the game has chosen to implement as buddies you can take with you.
The game is always based on having a buddy with you so some parts can feel unfair if you don’t have them, but they don’t make the game a breeze. While how they will exactly act to a situation is random, my experience with them is that they usually do a good job at tanking enemies, assisting in damage and saving the player from death through healing.
It is satisfying to see your loadout work well together and hit enemies, exploring the depths of it while getting a sensation of achievement when getting something that clicks together well. Classes can be changed at any time outside of combat which allows for a fluid experience when trying out new skills and weapons as well as providing options on the fly.
The game strong points are its story which if you take it seriously and give it a chance, is good. I know some players are not into the anime visuals, but if you see past that it will make you invested in it. The combat which features lots of options never gets stale and is satisfying to use your loadout to its max capacity. The character creation and design feature a good array of mixers and options while keeping a design that is not overwhelming or filled with unnecessary elements.
One of the things that the games have going for is regarding encounters with the enemies are the ambushes. Sometimes, enemies will appear in larger numbers. This is a great idea as it creates tense moments when being surrounded and changes the pacing when progressing through dungeons. Defeating all these enemies will give a good chunk of haze which is the equivalent of souls in other games and sometimes hand out special rewards.
This is where the strategic part of the game comes in, knowing where enemies could come front and what type of attacks they use will dictate your approach to them. Combat is fast and ambushes can be ruthless so knowing when to fight and when to retreat is key.
The game story is possibly the best it has to offer along with is combat. The pace is well maintained and is never too slow or rushed, making the world more tangible to the player. The story features character development and it also expresses a lot of emotions, from moments of happiness to sadness or regret. During the first hours, it can seem a bit melancholy, but once you get past that you find out it is a more complex story that at first glance.
One of the core things that keep Code Vein unique among its peers is how it approaches the foundation of its lore build and story. To do this the game has something called “Vestiges”. Vestiges are divided into parts and each of them explores a segment of the character, whenever they are their origins, story, beliefs or development.
These are well crafted, short yet impactful. Through connecting the dots across various vestiges, one can piece together parts of the game’s story. How the world came to be or how the characters related to one another. When a game makes a character likable and to care about them in 10 minutes, that is an achievement.
Paying attention to vestiges will allow for a better experience story-wise while making classes stronger. It offers lore and attracts player through the offer of progression.
The game runs well on a GTX 1060, solid 60 FPS on the highest settings. Online can be clunky sometimes but my overall experience with it was decent.
Early parts of the game can be lacking, however, once one reaches the 5th area in the game (the “white” area) it becomes an improved version of it. Bosses start to be more challenging with and more special while enemy design evolves into complex versions that represent a huge danger to the player. Finally. Exploration stops being straightforward as puzzles and multiple paths begin to show and areas become much bigger.
AI partners are a mixed bag, some people like them, others hate them. Sometimes they are useful and smart, and other times they can be lackluster. Overall my time with my partners was good and they live up to their job, assisting me in meaningful ways and not feeling particularly overpowered but rather like a useful companion.
What Makes It Special
What makes the game special is that it tries to break the mold of a genre that has been static for a long time. It takes its share of risks by introducing new elements and changing how the story is told through a more common medium rather than through imagination.
Its character creator is probably one of the most complete and complex ones, it has tons of options and people can go crazy with it. Is a huge improvement in this genre and it looks very pretty to the eye. Main character design is also fantastic, keeping a low profile yet looking good aesthetically.
Code Vein is a fantastic new IP and it has a lot going for it in this genre. I think this is a game that could get its following and that could be seen more of in the future. With its approach to storytelling, huge options in a combat that is fast-paced with a strategic mindset and depths, it is a game that I can recommend to any fan of the soul’s series and players who like this kind of game.
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