A valiant but flawed effort...
Another month, another hack-n-slash action role-playing game but how does Code Vein fare against the big hitters in the genre?
Set in an open world, post-apocalyptic dystopian environment Code Vein is played from a third-person perspective and from the outset it is very clear the game and actual gameplay mechanics have been inspired by the Dark Souls series.
The first thing that struck me was how great the game looks - I love the anime style - and God Eater is clearly the inspiration aesthetically. And for those familiar with it, Code Vein uses the Unreal Engine 4.
The world has fallen to a mysterious calamity known as the Great Collapse with humanity weaponising their dead into a vampiric fighting force known as Revenants. These fight monsters that begin emerging around the world.
As with most things Anime, Code Vein is VERY story-driven. So much so I won’t spoil it (and I don’t have the space in this review!) to run through the timeline of events. Your character wakes up in the ruins of a city as an undead “revenant” who feeds on blood. The world is a free-for-all lawless state and it is very much survival of the fittest, or in this case most ruthless and bloodthirsty.
Bandai Namco should be applauded for trying something new and different even if the whole package does feel a bit familiar.Damien Lucas, gaming columnist
More revenants than people means food is in thin supply but also available via white trees which grow blood.
If you haven’t gathered already, it is a dark world with grim undertones, but there is plenty of intrigue to keep you pushing on.
The Blood Codes and their Gifts give plenty of juice to the customisation element of Code Vein and a great deal of depth.
Much like Dark Souls your weapons feel meaty and destructive with a great deal of satisfaction from battle even if it is a touch repetitive owing to some poor enemy AI. The world you inhabit is fascinating and I for one certainly felt compelled to explore my bloodthirsty guts out.But while Code Vein benefits in many ways from trying to emulate the Souls series, your enemies are simply too cumbersome and easy to fight against, even for a newbie to the hack-n-slash genre.
Boss fights aren’t much better and fail to provide the excitement and level of reward they should. Code Vein does introduce some excellent facets that we haven’t seen before.
The ability to suddenly switch classes on the go is superb and probably the game’s crowning achievement.Like the AI of the enemies, the AI of your partners will also frustrate hugely so my advice is keep it solo.
Bandai Namco should be applauded for trying something new and different even if the whole package does feel a bit familiar. There is plenty here to enjoy but unfortunately just as much to frustrate too.
That said it will definitely appeal to anime fans and certainly those who have not played the Souls series for whom this will all be new ground.