Code Vein

We head into the postapoc­a­lypse and re­al­ize the value of friend­ship

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - PREVIEW - PUB­LISHER BAN­DIA Namco De­vel­oper 10 Chambers Col­lec­tive For­mat Xbox One ETA 2018 Adam Bryant

Look, we’re just go­ing to get this out of our sys­tem. Dark Souls! Whew, that’s bet­ter. It seems al­most im­pos­si­ble not to ref­er­ence From soft­ware’s im­mensely pop­u­lar and pun­ish­ing ti­tle ev­ery time we talk about Code Vein. It sounds un­fair, but the de­vel­op­ers aren’t shying away from this com­par­i­son—in fact, they’ve em­braced it, and cre­ated some­thing with a unique style and in­trigu­ing nar­ra­tive. This month, we popped over to Bandai Namco to check out the game first-hand and to see if this blood­suck­ing bruiser can hold a flame to its bru­tal genre brethren.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world con­sumed by a cor­rup­tive force known as the Thorns of Judge­ment, you play as a Revenant, one of the few sur­vivors in a se­cret so­ci­ety called Vein. Equipped with spe­cial abil­i­ties, known as ‘Gifts’ (which have un­for­tu­nately robbed you of your mem­ory and left you with a thirst for blood), it’s your job to re­gain your past and save this dy­ing world from the ghoul­ish Lost, who plague the land.

But there’s no need to go it alone in this dark and dreary world; you can have an AI pal to keep you com­pany. Not com­pul­sory, of course, but there are a few of th­ese blood­suck­ing bud­dies, and dur­ing our playthrough we met Mia, a some­what sassy com­padre, whose witty one-lin­ers put us in our place when we mis­took an enor­mous gan­gly ghoul wield­ing a huge sword for a gentle gi­ant look­ing for a friend. Your trusty com­pan­ion will do more than just brighten up the place, as they will also help you by at­tack­ing and more im­por­tantly dis­tract­ing en­e­mies. And that’s not all—quite a few times when we lost all of our health, Mia used one of her ‘Gifts’, which drained her health and re­plen­ished our own. Don’t rely on this too much (like we did), though, be­cause if Mia dies you’ll only have your com­bat cun­ning to keep your­self alive. Luck­ily, there are check­points called Mis­tles, which act in ex­actly the same way as the bon­fires from Dark

Souls, and af­ter we dust our­selves off a bit, we’re soon back in ac­tion.

Com­bat rocks

As you might ex­pect, it’s easy to be­come over­whelmed dur­ing com­bat, and those fa­mil­iar with the

Souls se­ries will have an eas­ier time ad­just­ing. How­ever, to counter this,

Code Vein of­fers an ex­panded range of abil­i­ties in the form of a cus­tom­iz­a­ble ‘Gift Pal­ette’, which al­lows you to switch up your tac­tics dur­ing bat­tle. Abil­i­ties that in­crease your de­fense and at­tack power, or fire pro­jec­tiles at your foes and wrap your weapon in light­ning, are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble with the tap of a but­ton.

We fought our way to the Queen’s Knight, the boss of this area, who was a tough lit­tle cookie. De­spite our best ef­forts, we couldn’t de­feat him. Our first at­tempt was the most suc­cess­ful, the oth­ers spent try­ing out new tac­tics and iden­ti­fy­ing the en­emy’s dif­fer­ent at­tacks. Well, at least that’s what we were telling our­selves as we died again, and again, and again. Un­less you’re very lucky, th­ese con­fronta­tions will be of the trial and er­ror va­ri­ety—yes, like Souls. Once our time was up, we wanted to go back and try again, which is the hook with games of this ilk. The level of chal­lenge is high, and the sense of re­ward and achieve­ment you get from de­feat­ing en­e­mies is far too great not to chase. We can see our­selves sink­ing many hours into

Code Vein when it ar­rives this year.

“There’s no need to go it alone; you can have an AI pal to keep you com­pany”

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