IN RETROSPECT: CODE VEIN
By Tom "TomBsTone" Bronneberg on January 13, 2021
Let's get the obvious out of the way, shall we? Yes, I am fully aware that the game I'm about to review is almost two years old. So... why bother with a review so long after the fact? Well, some titles just deserve the attention. So sit back and let me tell you why I think Code Vein is one such title...
When Code Vein was released back in 2019 and promoted as a "SoulsLike" video game, the hard-core gaming community was triggered and ready to rock. Sadly, at that moment in time, a lot of game developers were using the "SoulsLike" tag, and we kind of got overwhelmed by all the options. Somehow I thought Code Vein wasn't really what I was looking for at the time and decided it might not be the right game for me. Boy was I wrong! Now, 2 years later, way past due, here are my thoughts on this beautiful gem of a game.
Code Vein creates an unique and compelling backstory, with a combination of Post-Apocalyptic events, vampire-like characters called Revenants and mutated Demon-like monsters called the Lost. All memories of the Revenants are wiped clean after receiving their gifts, or "powers", if you will. It's your objective to find their memories scattered around the world and make the Revenants whole again. If you succeed in restoring a revenants' memory, you will receive their gifts in return, making you more skilled and stronger with every memory you uncover.
Normally, we are used to creating a character for the entire game. We choose the type of character we would like to be, like a warrior, mage, rogue or Anime Bombshell Action Princess. I'm sorry. I got distracted thinking about the character creation menu again.. It won't happen again I promise. And then we will have to play with this single character during the entire play through. In most cases people will choose a safe bet like a strong and sturdy warrior or a fast and nimble Rogue depending on their play style preferences, only to realise later on in the game that they should have chosen the Anime Bombshell Action Princes right from the start.
Code Vein has this problem solved. and I mean really solved! This is the solution we all needed all along. Because your hero inherits the powers of the gifts they unlock during their play through you can change your character type, or Bloodcode, on the fly. And I mean like snap. You want to be a warrior?? Equip the warrior bloodcode, change your armour and weapons and done, you're a warrior. You wanna be a Ranger?? Equip the Ranger bloodcode, change your armour and weapons and done, you're a Ranger. Or maybe you still want to be the Anime Bom.pr.. Never mind. You get my point. This creates a lot of flexibility, and will help you out a lot if you ever get stuck on a boss battle because you chose the wrong character type. Plus you can enjoy the benefits of every single possible character enhancement in a single play through. And just have fun playing the game.
If there is one other game that has probably influenced Code Vein a substantial amount, it probably was Final Fantasy. I can't help but get these flashbacks each time I encounter a monster and the music swells up, or after winning a boss battle and I get the appropriate "you did it" soundtrack. Also, the game is filled to the brim with lore and backstory and you constantly get dragged deeper and deeper in everyone's memories. Not to mention the game is built around Co-op, you can either play it online or offline. In offline mode the game appoints you an AI teammate. You get to choose which one works best to complement your play-style of course. And you can also change your partner at every single save point so that's very convenient.
For me, Code Vein has more similarities with Lords of the Fallen than the Souls series, mostly because of the action and gameplay. Let's just say My Anime Bombshell Action Princes is very fond of her massive Zweihander the size of a small minivan. Most weapons and enemies are huge and heavy. And swinging them around feels huge and heavy as well. We have a plethora of refined weaponry at our disposal, ranging from single and double handed swords, bayonets, axes, hammers and of course some dark and light magic to cast around. Armour is represented by Veils and are interchangeable if the blood code you are using is capable enough. At first all the statistics can be a bit overwhelming but you will get used to them and understand where to look when changing your equipment around testing different setups.
I like the unique class and skill system a lot, there a huge amount of different possibilities and play styles to fool around with. There are many enticing weapon choices and all of them can be upgraded and enhanced with different effects that will benefit your own play style. If you have read any of my previous reviews you know I like a good soundtrack and opening screen. Let me tell you Code Vein does not disappoint. Please remember to turn up your volume when you load up this game, because you're in for a treat. Add the insane amount of lore and deep character evolution you will experience and you have one masterpiece of a video game. And if you don't like watching cut scenes a lot you can always skip them and just enjoy this great Anime Action Adventure game.
Yep, Code Vein is a true triple A title. Thanks Namco Bandai for making this awesome game!
Bandai Namco Entertainment
May 31, 2019