Anime Souls. AnimeBorne. Code Vein’s comparisons to the hallowed From Software titles are plentiful and for good reason. After playing through the recently concluded network test for this Soulsborne-like, I can confirm that not only is it Dark Souls with a big-eyed gravity-defying hair coat of paint, but it also has a lot more to offer to help it stand on its own in the annals of gaming masochist history.
More specifically, Code Vein’s shiny exterior is the same as the one found in God Eater 3 and it looks gorgeous. The engine does an amazing job of making the dreary and hopeless world look brilliant. Character models are highly stylised as is expected from an anime art style with the usual flair for physical exaggeration. This applies to weapons and gear which are all heavily reminiscent of the equipment found in God Eater. Weapons are massive and feel powerful to wield and smash into the bodies of the world’s baddies, known as the Lost.
Creating a character in Code Vein is an experience in of itself thanks to an extremely robust creator tool that offers a lot of options for bringing to life your anime persona. Each eye can have a different style of iris as well as color. Multiple hairstyles can be layered to create hyperbolic dos that would put any popular character to shame. You can even have put on multiple hats and places them at whatever angle you wish. It’s an incredibly impressive character creator that you may well end up spending hours tinkering for your perfect look.
While Code Vein makes no apologies for its heavy use of Soulsborne trappings, it does make several tweaks that serve as welcome improvements to the formula. Co-oping with friends and random players is but a menu selection away (no Soapstones needed here!) and can be accomplished anywhere, even during combat, with the exception of boss fights. The Blood Code system allows for swapping of classes on a single character so there’s you’re not confined to a single class. Levelling at Mistles - the equivalents to Dark Souls Bonfires - is a choice of which codes you want to power up rather than specific stats. Finally, and more importantly, there are maps that can be opened up over regular stretches throughout your journey through the game’s world.
Combat is fun and exhilarating, particularly when co-oping either with NPCs, other players or both. There’s a partner revive system that allows you to sacrifice some of your health to bring back a fallen ally to keep fights going. This can be somewhat annoying when an NPC is involved, however, as they sometimes forget to use their revive. It requires also a lot of coordination at times as the ability can be activated even when no one is dead. Battle speed feels somewhere between Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Swinging weapons and using abilities has the methodical committed style of the Souls series while movement, dodging and back attacking is more akin to that of Yharnam venturing hunters. Soulsborne fans may or may not be delighted to know that wonky hitboxes are also here and they’re just as infuriating as ever. Yay…!
Code Vein is a title that draws inspirations from the From Software legacy of challenging yet fair(ish) gameplay. It presents mountains that you can eventually overcome with enough patience and learning. When the going gets too tough, finding assistance is quick and painless. The game still seems to be slated for a 2019 release so we’re hoping next week’s E3 will be where we get a more concrete date. For more on Code Vein stay tuned here on The Digital Fix.
- Playstation 4
- Xbox One