This isn’t just another Dark Souls clone when you’re playing with friends
PUBLISHER BANDAI NAMCO DEVELOPER BANDAI NAMCO ETA 2019
You’re an amnesiac Revenant, a vampire-like creature that thirsts for blood, looking to restore your lost memories in a post-apocalyptic world that’s on the brink of ruin. Every time Code Vein shows its face, waves of people cry out that it’s simply an anime Dark Souls. Which, at first glance, is a fair assessment, given that it shares more than just a sprinkling of similarities with the popular FromSoftware series.
The majority of the Dark Souls game design has been replicated for one. They’re both action RPGs in which you traverse through various locations full of winding paths and hard-asnails enemies. Instead of souls you collect Haze, which is used to level up your character. Upon death you lose all of your Haze, but you have one opportunity to retrace your steps to where you died and reclaim it. Die again and that stockpile is lost forever. Shiny tree-like ‘Mistles’ function in exactly the same way as bonfires, this will be where you level up, replenish your stock of healing items and teleport to other locations. But this comes at a risk, as every non-boss enemy will respawn as soon as you activate them. That’s not all, though: Code Vein is being developed and published by Bandai Namco, which also published Dark Souls.
But the developers aren’t hiding from this comparison, in fact they’re embracing it. “It’s great that people say that Code Vein is kind of related to Dark Souls, because Dark Souls is, like, one of the best action RPG games ever,” says Code Vein’s producer Aude-Alexia Koch. “So, obviously Code Vein does take a few cues from the ‘die and retry’ Dark Souls genre, but I think that we’re bringing something new with Code Vein, especially with the co-op mode, which is completely new and allows you to experience the game differently.”
Dark Souls also has co-op functionality but this consists of summoning players for help or invading other people’s games, and as soon as the boss in a particular area is defeated or the host dies, each player is sent back to their own world. In Code Vein you’ll be able to team up with your friends right from the beginning and all the way to the end. This allows you to build strategies on how you want to fight. At any point you’re able to change how your character plays by using various ‘Blood Codes’. The ones we saw were Fighter, Ranger and Caster, and they give you a different set of abilities, or ‘Gifts’, and change your effectiveness with certain weapons. Depending on the situation, then, you might decide that one person will take on a healer role and the other an all-out fighter. Many more Blood Codes will be made available to you as you progress to give you more strategic options.
If you don’t have another player with you, or if you’d simply prefer to play on your own, then you’ll be joined by an AI companion, several of which you’ll meet throughout the game. You’ll only be able to have one with you at any given time, however.
After our recent hands-on session with the game we found that although the game is challenging, it’s not as unforgiving as Dark Souls. It’s also fun to play, even if the female character designs cause us to raise a questioning eyebrow. Its accessible nature means that people who may have been put off by Dark Souls’ demanding reputation may be more open to trying out the genre, which can only be a good thing.
“Although the game is challenging, it’s not as unforgiving as Dark Souls”
Above There’s an eclectic selection of weapons that your Revenant can wield.
far left If you don’t have any friends online for co-op, you can always team up with an AI companion.