CODE VEIN

This isn’t just an­other Dark Souls clone when you’re play­ing with friends

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Adam Bryant

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.”

For­ever friends

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.

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