It can be a tedious and troublesome thing, filtering through all of those “Dark Souls-esque” games to see which might be worth the time. Some fall flat, some have a good grasp, and some pull it off just right. Code Vein sits right in between the ‘good grasp’ side and the ‘just right’ side. It’s leaning more towards the ‘Just Right’ considering a lot of the core game takes directly from Dark Souls. Code Vein had a Technical Test this weekend on Xbox (May 30th – June 3rd) and I was lucky enough to participate. In some areas they do call it a Closed Beta, but it’s difficult to tell that the game is a Beta/Technical Test at all. Please keep in mind that the Code Vein Technical Test is not a final representation of the product. There can be changes made once the final product releases. With everything that is currently apart of this weekends test though, it is probably a very accurate representation of what we will see.
I played Code Vein on the Xbox One X, and it is safe to say it runs very smoothly except for when connected to another player. there are definitely some issues with the online play connectivity. Lag, stuttering and the occasional rubber banding can make it extremely difficult to enjoy this aspect. Having online co-op as a core aspect to the game, this is troublesome to see knowing the launch of the game could be close. When it is a smooth connection though, it works wonderfully! There is very little effort needed to start matchmaking as well. Just open up the menu, find the red box at the top and send out a distress signal! Players will respond shortly no matter where you are. Let’s talk a little bit about the game itself though.
The amount of the game you get to play was basically all of the tutorial/first level. Not too long or short, but you can tell almost immediately that Code Vein is aiming to take heavily from Dark Souls and that’s OK. When you look at things like the character, weapon, and blood veil (armor) stat sheets you can see the instant similarity. Being able to have such a wide variety of possibilities in regards to builds/play styles Code Vein doesn’t hold back. You can upgrade both your armor and weapons, interchange skills and abilities (Gifts), passives, enchantments and more. One aspect that makes Code Vein stand out is something called Blood Codes. These are your different types of play styles that give you access to different abilities and passives. There are currently 7 to try in this technical test. Five are going to be in the game at release and two are exclusively for the test.
- Fighter – Boasts endurance for melee combat. Raises abilities based on strength and dexterity.
- Ranger – This code excels at providing support and defense buffs with Gifts.
- Caster – Specializes in powerful attack type Gifts that can be used from a distance.
- Berserker – Features high strength and endurance. Its low Ichor stock can be offset with heavy armor.
- Prometheus – Well balanced for combat, but fragile. Its Gifts bolster dodging and parrying
The five previously listed are apart of the full game launch, while the following two are not.
- Thoth – Strikes a fine balance between melee attacks and a variety of useful Gifts.
- Aset – Specializes in ranged combat by overpowering enemies with various Ichor attacks.
As for the overall combat style of the game, it leads towards being much more of being action game based. X for light attack, Y for strong or charge for super strong. Dodge, block and stamina use is all the same in relation to Dark Souls. Same style, but with Anime vampires. You are able to pull off some cool combos, and thankfully you can do a drop down ledge attack without needing a good amount of height! As a long time Souls fan, the combat is very satisfying. It’s not too difficult, much easier than the FromSoftware games everyone is accustomed to. There is still a good amount of difficulty to the game, but that was really only experienced in the “High Level” area. This seemed to be a taste of what their end game might be like. Areas with multiple bosses, increased loot and gold gain. Or it could just be a way for them to see how people stack up against higher difficulty enemies in general. In part, the basic enemies are fairly easy to mow down. The mid-tier big guys are a little tougher, but if you are careful they are easy to dispatch. The bosses? Well, yeah they can still be pretty tough. They are not to the point of “Sekiro tough” but you get the picture.
I’ll touch on a few more details about the game, but I would much rather have the player find out for themselves! Code Vein seems to have a decent story lined up, but it could still falter at launch. You do have a home base where you can visit vendors, upgrade your weapons and armor and change your appearance at anytime if you want. You will discover maps throughout the game that will lead to new paces in the “Depths”, the end game place you will probably spend most of your time. The Depths are meant to be challenging, so be prepared. You can see your pathon the mini map, showing where you’ve gone and exactly how much you’ve been in an area.
Final Thoughts: Code Vein is a game I would keep on my radar. If the game launches with a good amount of content and end game content, we could see it rise near the top for 2019 games. I’m impressed with the game as a whole overall, and happily surprised that the anime art style works so well for Code Vein. There really is the potential for something great here, and hopefully Code Vein pull through. It’s not easy to replicate the Dark Souls experience, so lets see if that really happens on launch day (Currently Unknown). Code Vein is currently on track to give that exact experience, so keep your eye out for the release date!