Review | Code Vein
"Anime Dark Souls which just ain't that. They tried too much copying from other games that they just never innovate in their own. Still, a solid start can lead to even better future, we can only hope to see."
by Foggy, 07-10-2019,
I will start this review with fact I never actually watched any trailers or spoiled anything about the game. It was pure fresh dive in, I was eager and ready for a game that should be an anime version of souls type of games as we know it. Of course, I knew just a bit of info about the game, but biggest part was left for me to explore.
I was a bit surprised to see Bandai Namco Entertainment behind game like this. I mostly know them for Tales universe of games which I really like, so this move was a bit surprise for me. Nothing bad, since they got me hooked on Tales games and action type RPG battles in there, plus new Tales game seems even more action type. “Alright” - I said, as senior From Software gamer, and bought Code Vein eager to play it.
Collect them all! Memories in a crystal is a new best thing worldwide.
World is a mess. Distant future is compromised. Revenants, humans and lost are only living beings that roams around. You awake as a revenant, vampire-type of being who feast on human blood to survive and having no blood to consume makes revenants fall to corruption and became lost. Lost are the monsters you will kill. It’s a rough picture what the world has become and you guessed it, revenants are torturing humans and sucking their blood, but often they lose their way and transform. Revenants are in a way also immortal – as they get killed, they lose all their memories and resurrect again. Destroying their heart is the only way to get rid of them permanently.
It seems like memories remains important not only in real lives
Just as you start your journey, you meet Io, a girl with boobs bigger than her head. There is a Bloodspring on the way – tree with white roots; and guess what, your blood will resurrect the tree and make it sprout blood beads. Those save revenants. Everyone is saved, the end. Thank you for playing. If only. Soon you will meet some other revenants and aid their story till the end. You will reach Home Base, your main game hub and place where all characters you meet and save comes to. I liked the story, it was more than what souls game has to offer in that area, plus 4 game endings added good replay value. I really liked the concept of you being that special revenant that can restore all other revenants memories, going through all that sorrow and learning about many characters connected with the story – it just added value to the game.
Your blood is what makes all the trees go crazy.
There is a pretty great character creation before you start your journey. I’ve seen so many cool characters when playing multiplayer part of the game, it was beautiful. It’s create your anime character at fullest. I’ve seen 2B from Nier, I think I saw Lightning from FFXIII as well. I’m not so much into character creation and all that experience, especially when your guy/girl never talks during any scene. I just can’t get in touch will my inner self then.
My first feel about the game was pretty mediocre. Tutorial will explain almost all game mechanics and honestly, that got me a bit worried but I never knew what is coming, so ok, hope for more to come was there. Also, fighting was stiff, weird even. I was confused but happy as new souls-type game is in front of me. Plus I love anime style and not much could have ruined it for me.
Not into customization. Oh yeah, you can change many things on you later on, but not the face.
First thing that hit me was level design. Oh my god, it is awful. Maybe it’s me, but similar settings throughout the whole first area, then the same but just more open, and again and again and again…I really don’t like how they designed levels. So many areas feels the same, uninspired and re-used, with only some parts of those having unique feel. There is only one are I liked – the snow one. It was cool and such an opposite of the rest of the game. The rest are just so post-apocalyptic ruins with different variations. Although there are more than 12 areas in the game, just few was fun to explore, even less than few.
Welcome to the most frustrating, similar 10 hours dungeon in the game. Set back and enj...Cry.
Exploration factor is not so bad, every area offers some boxes, loots on the ground and enemies. Boss is at the end of each area, while some of those have even middle mini-boss. You will connect your way by activating Mistles – bonfires if you will, and opening shortcuts when you reach different parts and unlock doors previously locked from starting point. I like that there is a map where you will see your location and where you never explored (which reveals parts when you actives mistles). When you start map is blank, but you see your position and trace where you walk. That is so great, you know approximately where you’ve been and where you can still go.
On the other hand, some areas with few layers and floors will make your life a living hell, map cannot be zoomed in our out as you want, even shifted or anything else. Do we really need to wait for an update to do so? It was useless in some parts, you never know if you’ve been there or you are just walking on same path just one floor above.
Areas are connected, mostly when you finish some you will end up in another. Game gives you good hints from Home Base where to go next, it’s not hard to find your way quickly, especially when the game is mostly very linear.
My favorite part of whole game. You just can't go wrong with snow.
This time around difficulty will be your best friend. For me it was my worst. It’s god damn easy. It’s an easy mode of every soulsborne games we’ve played. What makes it more easy is that you can pair up with characters from your Home Base and explore having a partner. On top of that you can summon other players to help you through desired areas. I never noticed game scales the difficulty level. When there are 3 of you fighting a boss, it’s like easy mode of an easy mode. I don’t understand that at all.
If you bring Yakumo with you, he will stagger just everything while dealing massive damage. You can just lure enemies while he performs from behind. What the hell happened here? I felt no challenge at all, plus I never lost any experience which was the main thing in these type of games. Even playing solo felt easy.
And you thought i was going to use big boobs pictures?
That combines with kind of stiff fight system. You can defend, dodge, attack with middle and heavy attack plus some combinations. I think I defended only 2 times, it’s just dodge and it’s easy to dodge. Afterwards just spam attack button and mostly everyone in the game is dead. Bosses are not, but repeat few times and they will be. I hated stagger factor when they hit you, often you cannot move until they make like 5 strikes on you.
To add to that, there is not much variety of enemies. It’s like few different types and then just variations of those through the whole game. Why? Why do you do this to us? I felt tired killing same things over and over again, just in different colors. And they are as ugly, not imaginative, stiff and stupid as hell.
Boss fights are also not a big step up. Only some provided good challenge and fun. Maybe just few even. The rest were just weak and repetitive. Not much in terms of creativity and uniqueness.
If boss fights are impressive and scenes before them, that would be great.
Now, I always liked the vibe souls games gave me. They had spooky music which extends that depressions even deeper. I loved that. Here, it’s only partially present, plus music playing when you initiate a fight is a total miss for me personally. I didn’t liked it and I never will. This is so weird, because when you are restoring memories and going through those parts, music is so great and hits the spot. It’s like they had different authors working on tracks. They need to do this better as well.
Your companions are cool, take them for a run
It’s time for some good stuff in the game. Like I said, I liked concept of the game, all those memories and restoring them. Every area holds Vestiges, crystals with memories you can restore later on. Each will tell a story about certain character and this felt fresh and positive. I really liked learning about story of my companions and rest of the crew, making collecting worthwhile. Restoring certain memories also affects the story and ending you can get. This last part adds to replay value, so I ended up playing the game 4 times. Ok, I’m also platinum addict so I had to do it because of that, but other part of me just wanted to see different endings. Also, collecting certain blood codes, which we will cover soon, happens differently weather you restored certain vestiges or not.
Restore those memories and enjoy the most beautiful music of the game.
Blood Codes. Your main thing. Consuming blood of any NPC or simply restoring parts you find or from bosses – you get a blood code. Each blood code codes with a set of skills. You can learn them on save points using collected experience. Now, you can equip the blood code and skills that are there can be set to your skill shortcut menu or for support. Some extend stamina, health, elemental defence etc. Others are pure attack/support skills and you can set 8 of them to shortcuts to use in battles. There are a lot of those and mostly they are cool to use. They consume your other points which regenerates by attacking and they take time to cool down after use.
Of course, every blood code has its own attributes and traits. Some are for casters, some are for rangers – in the end it’s up to you to find your balance. Choices are many, so you can take your time to get build you want. Mastering a skill (by killing enemies) will grant you that skill (gift) for any blood code. So, be sure to experiment and learn what you can.
The thing I hate is that there is no save/load loadout, and every time you equip different blood code you need to equip skills again. It’s frustrating, time consuming and impractical. When you have 200+ skills, imagine when you need to find what you need over and over again. This is not a bad concept, but it’s almost the only unique thing in the game that is not a copy of what some other games already have.
Share that blood mate, nothing bad can happen.
As the equipment goes, there are few types of weapons and armors. If you ask me, not too much to be satisfied, plus you can beat the game with just using one weapon from start. Few of them are cool but I don’t like the design so much. Also, they don’t vary so much, armors as well. In the end, it’s more of how do you want to look like instead of chasing some build. As the game is so easy, makes not much sense to spend time designing your build.
You can upgrade both weapons and armors using upgrade items you collect through the game. There is plenty of them even if you don’t try, so you can experiment with few weapons just for kicks.
I'm glad that you like me.
As in all souls games, you restore by using a healing items that you can upgrade, add number of heal times and you restore them on save points or after beating some boss. Items here are very basic and self-explanatory. I used 2 healing items and that was it. Nothing worth mentioning.
Add some maps to the equation plus some valuables you trade with your companions in your base and that is more less it. Maps of Depths is a side content of the game where when you find a map, you bring it to Davis at Home Base. You can start exploring it, its like are you finished but smaller and with same bosses at the end. Some Vestiges can be found here and some side quests will require you to enter them.
Love this room and this landscape. I could just sit here all day.
Side content revolves around few NCPs you can meet after clearing the area. It’s mostly regular fetch stuff and not worth your time if you don’t aim to collect all there is. Rewards are not so great apart from some skills you can learn only this way, and some maps only obtainable by completing the quests.
Lastly, valuables you pick up in a form of gifts you trade for some gestures, items and even weapons that certain companion use when he joins you. It’s nothing special, you need to give certain items for best effect, some like games, some alcohol, so depending of that you get points.
It took me a while to figure out those are roots, not some bodies in the wall.
I want to talk about technical issues in the game. Game crashed 3 times for me. Nothing serious, but I did lost my progress since I never autosaved on some parts. Add many and hard frame drops. They happen frequently and they bother. But hey, all other games have them, so it’s cool.
Multiplayer is decent. I was always almost successfully connected in someone’s session, it’s easy to do so and easy to get help. You can set password, set region, area restrictions and such. Much better done than in souls or other games of this type, so kudos for that. The problem is that this gets boring and having someone helping you makes no sense whatsoever as game is easy on its own. But you get medals for beating the boss while in session with someone. Wow, what does this do? Nothing, but require 10 hours of grinding for a trophy.
And they say romance is dead in multiplayer. Look how pretty.
For me, this is a poor copy of soulsborne games. In almost every copied aspect game is worse than its role model. It copies so much and so obvious that it forgets to innovate on its own. Can’t say I dislike the game, but difficulty, bad area design and nothing new makes it just another clone game. I liked the story and it had replay value, but there should be so much more. Maybe, just maybe, we get sequel and they fix all of these. It’s a solid start, don’t get me wrong, and I’m glad it was released. Just, please, show us more nature and create handsome areas so this can be the next big thing. Solid story, good ground to build upon. If you like this type of games, go for it. If you always run away because they are hard, this can be your game. Other than that, not much to praise.