Code Vein

There will be blood

Games Master - - PREVIEW - Anne-Marie Coyle

De­spite fea­tur­ing in some of the best gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ences to date, such as Vampire: The Mas­quer­ade – Blood­lines and the Legacy Of Kain se­ries, vam­pires have largely been over­looked in favour of the mind­less, shuf­fling breed of the un­dead lately. Hap­pily, Bandai Namco’s new­est ac­tion-RPG looks set to bring the blood­suck­ing bunch back into style. Code Vein cen­tres on mem­bers of a hid­den so­ci­ety known as Revenants. These de­mon slay­ers traded their mem­o­ries for ‘gifts of power’, which grant them spe­cial abil­i­ties in ex­change for drain­ing the blood of their en­e­mies.

The game sports a chal­leng­ing bat­tle sys­tem wrapped in an anime-style post-apoc­a­lyp­tic world. In a def­i­nite echo of the Souls se­ries, suc­cess re­lies on mastery of the stamina gauge, re­spon­si­ble for ac­tions such as at­tack­ing, evad­ing, and rob­bing en­e­mies of their pre­cious vi­tal flu­ids. You can get more of the red stuff us­ing an abil­ity known as Spe­cial Drain, but you can only per­form that un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances, such as af­ter a suc­cess­ful at­tack from the rear, or par­ry­ing an en­emy’s at­tack. You need to think care­fully and use all your skills in a fight – no small task.

You can use up to eight of the afore­men­tioned gifts dur­ing bat­tles to grant tem­po­rary boosts to at­tack and de­fence. Char­ac­ters’ abil­i­ties can also be briefly bol­stered us­ing the Fo­cus Sys­tem. In a de­mon-plagued pinch, this al­lows you to per­form spe­cial feats like negat­ing dam­age and fling­ing en­e­mies into the air (help­fully, be­ing sur­rounded is one of the things that will trig­ger the Fo­cus sys­tem).

Fanged friends

Com­bat is clearly no small mat­ter, but at least you’re not alone in your beast-slay­ing en­deav­our. Other Revenant mem­bers can be re­cruited to of­fer AI-con­trolled aid to your cus­tomis­able char­ac­ter. Com­pan­ion choices in­clude Io, a fe­male war­rior who knows a lot about the world but has no mem­o­ries of her own, and Louis, a sword-tot­ing young leader ven­tur­ing in search of Blood Beads – an al­ter­na­tive to hu­man blood.

If there’s a Dark-Souls-shaped hole in your heart fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of From Soft­ware’s stel­lar se­ries, the com­plex com­bat, gru­elling boss bat­tles and freely ex­plorable en­vi­ron­ments of Code Vein could be just the thing to sink your teeth into.

The pro­tag­o­nist is fully cus­tomis­able – you’re given free­dom over your hero’s gen­der, hair style, body, and even vo­cal tones.

This dystopian world is over­run by fiendish crea­tures known as the Lost, with hu­man­ity’s fi­nal few fight­ing for their sur­vival.

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