Code Vein Review
I have been anticipating the release of CODE VEIN for a while now, more so because I was personally attracted to their trailers and I’m also a sucker for character customization. With its delayed release raising both excitement and expectations, after finally experiencing the game for myself I can assure you it fares better than most of the promotional videos I’ve seen. With great artwork, complex gameplay, and (of course) endless deaths, CODE VEIN is like the lovechild of Dark Souls and anime and it is pretty wonderful. While the game is not perfect, it provides a gratifying challenge for RPG enthusiasts and veterans alike that will bring in countless hours of fighting, grinding, swearing, and dying.
The general storyline of CODE VEIN is post-apocalyptic and vampiric in nature, where we play as an amnesiac Revenant who woke up in the middle of a crumbling world. Revenants are human corpses revived through the usage of engineered parasites planted in their hearts, granting them immortality. To survive, they rely on Blood Beads, which are fruit-like substances akin to human blood. If a Revenant succumbs to bloodlust, they lose their humanity and become monsters known as the “Lost”. Without giving away any more of the plot, you team up with other Revenants to fight for survival and to learn more about your past and lost memories.
Complex But Beautiful
The game starts off a little slow at first, perhaps to ease us into its incredibly complex system. From “Blood Codes” to “Haze” to “Gifts” to “Ichor”, there is a lot of information that you need to know before you can fully understand the game. Luckily, the concept itself is easy to understand if you are familiar with how RPGs work – essentially Blood Codes are like classes, Haze is similar to EXP and also acts sort of as in-game currency, Gifts are your special abilities, and Ichor is like mana.
Like a bonfire in Dark Souls, CODE VEIN has Mistle, which is a plant that acts as a checkpoint. There, you can save your progress, regenerate health, level up, and even teleport to other activated Mistles – including travelling back to your Home Base, where you can upgrade weapons, stock up on inventory, and change the thickness of your eyebrows. The Mistle where you last rested is also where you will revive when killed. The tricky part is after resting by the Mistle plant, all of the Lost you slaughtered will respawn. For some, this is a great way to harvest Haze, but for others this can be somewhat of a chore.
The versatility of the game is excellent, from being about to change your character’s appearance to customizing the way they fight. The game feels incredibly personalized to you and how you want to experience it, making the player feel involved with the Protagonist’s growth and progression in the storyline. You are basically making the character of your dreams, from the color of your eyeshadow to the fighting style you want to have. Do you want to look like a tall and handsome Revenant with the ability to cast spells, or do you want to look like a warrior princess who wields heavy axes? The customization possibilities are endless and a lot of fun to play with. Don’t worry, you aren’t stuck with your pink hair and purple eyes with forever – you can always change your look in your Home Base later. And if you ever want to try a long-range style of fighting, you can switch your Blood Code anytime during the game.
A Challenge That Will Hook You In
Wandering around new areas felt pretty seamless, with no interruptions between different locations and the occasional fog gates separating one place from the other. The controls were responsive and the graphics stayed quite consistent, making it easy to explore and maneuver. During fights, there was no noticeable lag despite hoards of monsters running at you, allowing you to focus on the battle at hand and trying to time your attacks and dodges effectively. On the other hand, there were times when the enemies in the background had an obvious stutter in their movements, and that’s where you notice the quality drop. However, that was mostly for things that moved in the background, which didn’t affect gameplay and was more distracting than significant.
Putting some minor blunders aside, CODE VEIN offered a challenge so satisfying that I couldn’t stop playing. It was very welcoming – it’s Souls-like with attractive anime characters and an interesting storyline. Being someone who was a little intimidated by the Souls series, personally CODE VEIN made this genre of action RPG easier to tackle. Although difficult to master, the game provided a great challenge, a nice variety of enemies, and even some decent jump-scares from the Lost hiding in the shadows. All in all, CODE VEIN is great for those who enjoy RPGs and want to feel like they’ve earned the win. Even though I died a lot and there were slight quality issues, CODE VEIN is a game I definitely see myself going back to again and again.
** A PS4 game code was provided by the publisher **
- Intricate character customization tools
- Ease of travel between locations
- Great flow in storytelling
- Lag in background
- Plot moves slow
- Fights feel repetitive