The first bite is the deepest
Our OPM Souls-borne jar is filling rapidly. Every time we compare a game to From-Software’s two series we need to stuff a note or two into its needy face. But when we’re dealing with Code Vein, there’s no avoiding the fact: This is an anime Souls-alike wrapped in vampire lore, but with enough new ideas to resist being a me-too also-ran. First, you’re not alone in the game’s post-apocalyptic world. Along for the ride is an AI character who will fight by your side, and how you interact with them will determine the game’s ending. We’re promised a varied cast of sidekicks too; for example there’s Io, a female Revenant (vampire) who has lost her memory but mysteriously recalls a deep knowledge of her people’s customs.
In battle they all behave differently. Some are support characters who offer health and even a one-off resurrection spell, while others get stuck in and battle along with you. The AI reacts to your fighting style as well – if you guard, your ally runs to your side. And just like your custom character these companions’ buffs and abilities can be unlocked and upgraded.
There’s a tactical edge to choosing who to take with you, and coupled with the option to change ‘Blood Codes’ (classes), such as from warrior to caster, on the fly, there’s always a chance to re-engage with the enemy in different strategic ways. This is shaping up to be Code Vein’s differential: it promises to constantly offer new ways to approach defeating an undefeatable enemy, just like, ahem, Dark Souls. [ That’s a fiver – ed.]
GIFT OF LIFE
Combat is the familiar blend of dodge-based confrontations with the focus on flexing your combo muscles and well-timed counters. Key to success, though, is managing your Ichor (blood) points, which enable you to use Gifts – passive and active abilities to improve the speed and power of your character, or launch projectile attacks.
In order to collect Ichor you’ll need to master Drain and Drain Special attacks. It’s a risk-and-reward system that encourages you to constantly look for an opening to drain your enemy; a well-timed parry will leave your foe vulnerable. Characters have different Drain methods – Ogre, Stinger, Hounds – that manifest with an anime cutscene if timed with finesse. You took a risk, you got your reward.
Gifts can be used co-operatively with your partner, and the effects vary depending on who they are and how you’ve levelled them. Ultimately this is what makes Bandai Namco’s Souls-alike [ tennerinthejar– ed] so engaging: you’re not alone in your live-die-repeat spiral.
“DRAINS MANIFEST WITH AN ANIME CUTSCENE IF TIMED WITH FINESSE.”
Character models PREVIEWare stunning, and fully customisable. This sort of caption which sits on the image doesn’t have the little coloured box at the start. 4 lines.
Above Changing classes, items, weapons, and more can be done on the go.