CODE VEIN First Impression: If Dark Souls Was An Anime RPG

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There was a lot of hype around Bandai Namco’s title Code Vein ever since the first reveal back in May 2017. Ever since then we have waited for more news which came later in June 2018 with the official launch date set to September 28, 2018, which later proved to be false. As of May 2019, we were able to sign up for the first official Network Test of the game. While players have been trying out the game for the first time, they released a Behind the Scenes video which provided the launch date for some time in 2019.

So, after all this build up and wait for the game to release, what is it we are in store for? Has the wait been worth it yet? After playing the first Network Test of the game, I have to say that it is much better than I expected it to be. And this is only the beginning version of the game that proved to have some issues on it still.

Gameplay

Starting the game off, you play through a little bit of a story element before being thrown into the first dungeon-like cave system. Tasked with finding more blood seeds, you and a single AI are to set out to fight your way through difficult monsters on the quest for these blood seeds. They start you off with a single, weak weapon, but it is quickly you find more weapons from defeated enemies, lying around among many items that you can collect to use later, and inside of different chests.

Once you find the weapon you like to use, the next thing you can check in the menu screen, which does not pause the game when you are in it by the way, is to pick a Blood Code. At first this seems a little confusing, but you can select a different code and each one will give you a different ability. More abilities can be unlocked using the Haze you collect from every fallen enemy and each ability is another aid to your fights. It could be a new attack or a stat increase, but once you get it be sure to equip it so you can quickly use it in battle.

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These abilities that you unlock also have the option to be purchased as a Max Proficiency. This will allow that ability to be used with any other Blood Code. This is how you get a more customized character that will be able to fight according to the style you like the best.

When you use your abilities, it will cost you Ichor. There are items you can use to replenish this or you can fill it back up the same way you collect Haze: Defeating enemies. The only way to do this aside from this is to refresh everything with the checkpoint crystals, however doing this will also refresh every enemy you have defeated up to that point. So if you back track to the crystal to refresh, you will have to fight the enemies you just defeated again to proceed down that same path.

The fighting itself is the hard part as you will be facing multiple enemies majority of the time. Sometimes they will be a mix of types, but even alone the bigger ones can prove difficult. Be ready to dodge a lot, balance your stamina meter with your attacks and dodging needs, and manage your Ichor usage all at the same time.

Expectations

The game looks to be an amazing title with an interesting story. It seems like there will be missions, but unlike the developers game series God Eater, these missions will be much longer and have a lot of ground, enemies, and even bosses to face off with before heading back to base. This would be a good route to take instead of making it more about the story so that players have control more often than not.

Playing through the Depths after beating the story missions was a very interesting take on giving the player more to do after the game. With it being so much harder than the actual story, I spent more time down there just powering up and finding my way through each section of the map. The bosses in this section were down right impossible (for me) without a partner.

Unfortunately, the match making didn’t seem to function at all. Out of all of my attempts, I only managed to team up with someone one time by restarting the story missions and looking. When I tried to find someone to play through the Depths with, there was nobody that was able to connect and nobody to connect to. I hope they are able to fix this and make multiplayer possible.

Also, when I did manage to connect with someone there was no way to use my mic to talk to them. Communication would be a good aspect for teamwork when it came to progressing through a difficult game like this. These two mishaps left a lot to be desired as far as the multiplayer aspect goes.

Conclusion

Code Vein is challengingly fun, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I hope to see a solid, communicative multiplayer that will allow players to work together through the difficult sections of the game. There is just so much this game has to offer, even on the single-player aspect and I look forward to seeing it completed. The network test alone was a great experience that I ended up putting more time into than I originally expected I would.