Code Vein reviews

At first glance, Code Vein seems like a shameless attempt to cash in on the popularity of both the souls-like and anime genres. Fortunately, Code Vein comes into its own in a surprisingly polished experience.

 Code Vein makes a great first impression with its character creator. It's extremely versatile and could honestly be a standalone experience for $5. It also includes a robust suite of tools for screenshots, including poses, camera control, animations, filters, etc. I really enjoyed this feature and made full use of it.

 Beyond the character creation, I could make tons of comparisons between this game and Dark Souls, and talk about the minute differences between their mechanics and gameplay. Instead, I want to talk about three specific differences: skill system, level design, and storytelling.

Code Vein's skill system rewards versatility and flexibility.There are no permanent upgrades, so you're encouraged to change weapons, active skills, passive skills, armour, and Blood Codes (classes) often. Skills are varied and support a variety of playstyles, including casters, supports, tanks, rogues, and heavy hitters. Attack skills make the game feel much more aggressive and faster paced than Dark Souls, and you will be using skills with every class, not just casters.

Level design is where Code Vein shines. Every area was visually pleasing and mentally stimulating to navigate. There's no shortage of hidden paths and items and challenging, maze-like levels that test your navigation skills. The minimap is non-invasive and features a tracker to see where you've already been. I can see where some people may consider this a downside (the later levels are long), but I quite enjoyed it.

Code Vein takes a more overt storytelling approach, featuring very little (if any) environmental storytelling. Cutscenes are featured for important events and dialogue helps fill in the gaps. There is a large chunk of optional story packed into "Vestiges" where you have to walk (very slowly) through a frozen memory and just listen. These were painful to play, and majority of these stories weren't very interesting anyways. The AI companions, however, were voiced by competent actors, animated well, and had a fair amount of dialogue unique to areas and situations. I enjoyed spending a couple hours using each companion just to hear what they had to say. The story's multiple endings were not executed particularly well and require at least 3 playthroughs to see them all.

Everything else in this game is standard Souls-Like fanfare. Bosses, weapons, upgrades, NG+, inconsistent difficult, etc. If you're not already a fan of soul-likes, this is not the game for you. If you are, it offers enough on its own to be worth checking out. I imagine this game would work really well with a partner, but the AI works just fine.
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As a huge souls formula fan, I enjoyed my runs. If you're coming from outside of the genre, there are much better games to explore.

Also titty physics are whatever but them boys be blowin in the WIND.
Code Vein just shows its hands in all of its anime gothic style and cool edgy presentation with some pretty fun if kinda one dimensional characters but while I do adore this game quite a bit especially with its wonderful character customization it really lacks in some areas of game design especially around some of the later ichor ability focused bosses. Some of them have really poor telegraphing on their attack patterns and it's really hard to feel exactly why you died to them or something. Playing this game alone honestly feels kinda meh so bringing along a friend is in my opinion absolutely essential though playing with just the AI is also perfectly fine and doable. Otherwise things just feel a little tedious. It's trying really hard to do well what thee souls games do but unfortunately it doesn't fully hit the mark. 

But even with all of this criticism I have towards it I genuinely really enjoy Code Vein. I like its goofy overly edgy anime aesthetic, I love the little worldbuilding flourishes, I love the shit it kinda just blatantly steals from souls outright. Even if the story sorta just falls apart and isn't that interesting in the end I still had a lot of fun with it and its characters. And I still really love how character builds work and how strong you genuinely feel by the end of the game. It feels nice just to be able to rip through these horrors even if I wish some of the progression and abilities were a little better designed/more fun to use then they honestly were. If a Code Vein 2 is made and its allowed a bit more of a consistent budget and probably more time I think they could really knock it out of the park or at the very least make a much better game for sure. Oh yeah and the music slaps. It's real good.
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«Better with friends»
«OST on repeat»
This game is an absolute blast. It has just the right amount of Dark Souls heart but lightens up on the difficulty (that's a good thing). There's still a good amount of challenge to be found but, for me, it trades frustration for enjoyment. Gameplay aside, I loved the characters, art style, and really enjoyed the story. But I still hate silent protagonists.

Date Completed: 2020-02-11
Playtime: 33h
Enjoyment: 9/10
Recommendation: I'll be first in line if there's a Code Vein 2!
Anime Dark Souls. It's pretty fun if you like those two things. 
Code Vein is a real masterpiece of soulsborne clons. Great game.
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»