Reviews

Anime souls-lite — Code Vein review

Code Vein takes a lot of inspiration from Dark Souls. Let’s just get this out of the way now. Thankfully, it isn’t a straight clone. It does offer its own unique take on the Souls formula. It doesn’t all work, and it certainly doesn’t compare to its source material. Still, this is a fun adventure that can scratch that Souls-like itch.

Code Vein may be inspired by Dark Souls, but it takes a few liberties with the formula to create something unique. The combat is a dance of hitting and not getting hit while balancing your stamina which anyone familiar with Dark Souls will already be used to doing. It spices combat up, however, by throwing special skills and allowing you to switch classes on the fly. You can go from a warrior to a mage in an instant just by switching your Blood Code which offers up a variety of ways to tackle enemies since you aren’t stuck to any one skill set. The special skills are powerful sword attacks or skills that activate buffs such as increasing damage or defense. With eight skills active at a time, you have a lot of room for experimentation to see which skills work best for your playstyle.

With 25 different Blood Codes, there is plenty to experiment with. While most of the classes don’t feel that different from each other. You have ranger, tank, and mage, you do get unique skills from each. You can master these skills which allow you to put them into different Blood Codes so you can create a class with a unique skill set. I like to play as a swordsman with spells, so I played the different mage and warrior classes to gather a collection of abilities that fit my playstyle. It’s a great reason to play all the different classes.

Code Vein’s anime style is suitably dark.

Another big difference from Dark Souls is that this is a very JRPG anime-style tale. While some will appreciate this, I found it far more troublesome. The Souls series infamously offers little in the way of explanation; with both systems and story. Code Vein takes the exact opposite approach. It constantly breaks up the flow to have tutorial boxes pop up as it explains every little thing, leaving little room for mystery. I will always prefer to figure things out for myself. It doesn’t ruin the game or anything that drastic, but it is annoying.

It being a very anime-style story also means you are rarely alone. There are a host of interesting characters that can all be explored. You learn more and more about these characters through blood echoes which have you walking down a path as you see events from this character’s life for you to piece together. It gives them some life and I was always excited to learn more about my favorite characters.

The story itself is interesting. You wake as a Revenant, one of many, who has to hunt for blood beads that act as food for the Revenants. You will also fight your fair share of other Revenants since dying offers the chance for them to lose their minds to their hunger. The world and characters are properly explored and Code Vein does a good job of drip-feeding information. I wish the story was told more through gameplay and less through cutscenes to keep the pace up, but I enjoyed unraveling its mysteries.

It’s nice to see what’s in store for you later in the area.

You will spend most of your time in Code Vein exploring rather linear levels and defeating enemies. The levels are huge and sprawling, but they have their fair share of secrets such as valuable items or new Blood Codes. You gather materials to level up your favorite weapons and armor. If you have played a Souls-like game in the past, then you should know what you are doing here. Most of the enemies are pretty easy. It is the standard dodge until you have an opening while trying to get to their back to do a backstab for massive damage. Enemies can hit hard, and you have a limited number of healing items that are only recovered from resting at a bonfi… I mean Mistle.

What makes the game easy, however, is that you are rarely alone. You have an AI companion by your side almost all the time which means extra damage and an extra body to absorb some damage. Combine this with the ability to change your class and skills at any time, and it was easy to figure out the moveset of powerful enemies and bosses and change my skills to fit the challenge. I wouldn’t have minded a little more of a challenge, but the quick and bloody combat was still gratifying.

Code Vein is an anime Souls-lite. It doesn’t have the same mystery or quiet contemplation found in the Souls series, but that also means it offers something different. The world is interesting, the story kept my attention, and the combat is smooth. If you have an itch for a new Soul-like, Code Vein is perfect for you.

70

Good

Code Vein

Review Guidelines

Code Vein is an anime Souls-lite. It doesn’t have the same mystery or quiet contemplation found in the Souls series, but that also means it offers something different. The world is interesting, the story kept my attention, and the combat is smooth. If you have an itch for a new Soul-like, Code Vein is perfect for you.

Austin Fern has been playing video games his entire life. The first console he truly fell in love with is the PlayStation 2 with Sly Cooper, God of War, and many others really leaving an impression. He enjoys all genres of games from FarCry 5 to Danganronpa and everything in between.

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