Update: Code Vein releases September 27th, 2019
Last weekend was the Network Play test for Code Vein and I was able to be pretty hands on with the content provided. In this Network Test we had access to the Character Creator, some basic story stages, and a gauntlet type mode. In this preview I will go over each “mode” briefly and tell you what I thought. I have said it before and I will say it again, if it’s an ANIME related game, 9 times out of 10 Bandai Namco is pushing it out. Look at their catalog: The Naruto Series, DragonBall series, Black Clover, dotHack, Little Witch Academia, One Piece, Sword Art Online, Jump Force, ETC. The proof is in the puddin, so when I heard that an Anime-esque, Dark Souls was coming out well I knew Bandai Namco was going to play some part, so let’s get into it.
Character Creator: Just like any game that has character creation there are presets or random creations that you can choose from and Code Vein is no different. But who cares about those! The Character Creation mode is very robust! I spent about an hour just fiddling with my character changing facial features, skin color, eye color, body type, hair, clothes and accessories. I ended up with a character I really felt fit into the world so I gave him a cool name and moved on. Once I saw my character outside the creation mode, I realized that the color I chose for his pants may have been a bit too much. They were white but so SHINY! Turns out you can make the entire outfit glow if you want! Once you get into the game the appearance of your character is set. Aside from your Blood Code (which I will cover later) the outfit you create is what you see no matter what upgrades or stat changes you make, so I thought… Once you make it to the “Home Base” there is a mirror in a corner by one of the doors. You can go to that mirror and it will take you back to the character creation and you can change your appearance! You can even save different styles you want so you can just load that style if you want to go back to it, which I thought was a pretty useful. The only issue I found with the character creator is that one of the presets had an Afro and I wanted to see my custom character with one but it was not one of the hairstyles I could choose from. Now, that could be because this was just the play test but it is something I noticed, that said, the Afro is in the game and the presets are normally just randomly generated so I have a good feeling that the Afro is usable for custom characters. Overall, I didn’t have any series issues with character creator. There was enough variety and “good” options to choose from that you wouldn’t get bored messing around with character styles for a while and you can definitely recreate your favorite anime characters to some extent. After you create your character you then go through the tutorial.
Story: I will keep this section short. I honestly did not pay attention to the story at all. I did not feel like this short demo was enough to get immersed in the story. I get the basic idea of what’s happening but I will wait until full release to make any comments on how good or bad the story truly is. However, I will say that because I was able to play through the story missions with a friend I had a good time. Even though the portion I played was very linear I still felt that I had some control over my exploration, but we will see when the game finally releases later this year. In the meantime, you can see the opening to the story below.
The Gauntlet: This particular mode unlocked once I completed the portion of the story available in the play test. When you spawn into the gauntlet (which is not the official name) you are told to basically find some keys to a door that’s in the room with you. In order to find these keys you of course have to search the dungeon and fight monsters. There were five sections and five big bosses, I was only able to defeat one of them—The Knight Queen—and that was after hours of failure. The recommended level for this mode was 40, I spawned in at lvl 10 (give or take) so needless to say I had some farming to do. The gauntlet reminded me of Dark Souls more than the story mode did, I felt I had more control over how I was going to tackle the task before me, its that flexibility that made it so fun. I could farm the same route if I wanted or I could switch it up. I can teleport back to my home base for some upgrades or to change my hair then get right back into it. This mode is where Code Vein will shine the most.
Combat/ Enemies: The combat has a lot of customization which comes in the form of the Blood Codes. The Blood Code is basically your class and the unique thing about Code Vein is that you can unlock and level up different Blood Codes as you progress so you can switch them on the fly. Imagine being able to start a stage as a rogue but then switch to a caster without hesitation! I started off with the fighter Blood Code (which is melee based) then moved to the Ranger (even though I didn’t want to) and eventually moved to a completely different type that was like a hybrid between fighter and caster. The coat that you put on to symbolize the change is not customizable so if you like matching when you fight, hit that mirror up in the home base! As for the combat itself, the moves felt fluid but unsatisfying, there were times when I didn’t feel like I was hitting the enemy but I was. You have two weapons, passive and active ability slots, the Blood Code which has its own special attack, and any items you have equipped. There is even a parry that you can use, the animation differs depending on which Blood Code you have equipped. I had no issue using all to my advantage. The enemies were the biggest disappointment to me. Though the variety in how they look was good the variety in their weapons was not. Every enemy I faced just seemed like they were carrying around a very long sword or staff and just swinging it wide. It wasn’t satisfying to defeat them. However, the boss fights were awesome, very Souls like. I felt a sense of accomplishment after finally beating up the Knight Queen, which of course I forgot to record! But check out the video below of me getting wrecked!
All in all I think Code Vein will shape up to be a great game. It is similar enough to the Souls-like games that it will/ should draw and satisfy fans with a fresh take on the genre. It is unique enough to keep veteran Souls players (like myself) interested and attract new players. As an anime fan there are definitely some aspects of this game that will scratch that itch however, I do not feel like I was in an anime at all. The Character Creation is the most anime-thing the game has to offer that I saw. but, anime is story based and we didn’t get much of the story in this play test so I will wait until the full release to “pass judgement”. Code Vein is set to release sometime this year (2019).
Let us know what you think in the comments below. Thanks for reading!