Reviews - Updated on April 9, 2022

What do we usually imagine when it comes to games like Dark Souls? Decay, death, gloomy scenery, dangerous enemies, a series of victories and defeats with repetitions of the path traveled and memorization of each turn. Difficult boss fights, finally. In this sense, Code Vein only partially adheres to the canon – the Shift team, known from the God Eater series, also offers something of its own. First of all – the anime style and the character editor, where the “Physique” slider changes the size of the heroine’s breasts. Again, the Japanese for their own.

Vampires don’t suck anymore

Like any other fictional apocalypse, this one began with the fact that scientists decided to save humanity. They resurrected the dead with the help of the so-called BOR-parasites, which turn the bearer into an immortal and powerful being. From the mutants recruited a whole army. And the case would have ended with the victory of good over evil if the GMO soldiers did not need to drink blood. As a result, a catastrophe occurred and the two races were mired in enmity. Now the vampires are scouring the ruins of the city of Veyin in search of the last people and along the way collect tears of blood growing directly from the soil, because this is the only alternative to killing.

But the resources are still strained: some bloodsuckers become lost due to hunger – stupid death machines, while others organize gangs where slaves, under the threat of violence, get food for their masters. A fighter with the system named Louis is equally disgusted by both options – he dreams of feeding his brothers to the full, and protecting ordinary people from violence. From what suddenly the vampire was seized with a similar whim? He just found out that bloody tears do not ripen from scratch – they are fed by underground sources. To get to them, you need to revive special springs in all Code Vein locations. The plan seems to be working, but who will implement it?

This is where the immortal (or immortal – depends on the choice of gender at the start) comes into play with unique talents. The hero is able to activate the springs, pouring their own blood over them, disperse the miasma that has poisoned the world and collect fragments of memory. This is important, since the price of vampire superpowers is high – amnesia. And so Louis and his friends are at least able to figure out who they are, where they came from and why they still have a conscience. They could, after all, completely run wild and go out into the street with a club. But no: they set up a base among the city ruins and fight for the friendship of peoples, and along the way they learn that a more terrible threat looms over the Earth.

Code Vein game review

The charm of the game does not hold.

Ready for the pathos and drama? Right. It’s not that the plot of Code Vein is amazing, but you can’t deny it in one thing – at the right moments it produces an effect. The story is logical and the motives of each character are clear. Yes, and they reveal them with fiction: you need to contact the girl Io for decoding the found fragment of memory and make a trip through a fragment of someone’s past. A few sketches snatched from the darkness – and you know why the same Louis suffers from depression. Let the rebels look like cosplayers who escaped from Comic-Con, they discuss universal problems in all seriousness.

Balagan based on Dark Souls

However, the scenario in such a work is not even half the battle, because the main part of the game is battles. The process is in general terms reminiscent of Dark Souls, where you have to collect the souls of defeated monsters, die regularly, resurrect by the fire and make your way through already cut enemies back to return the lost good. Just replace the fires with mistletoe and the souls with haze. Instead of classes, there are blood codes, skills useful in combat have become gifts, and the mana consumed by shots and spells is called the strange word “ichor”.Code Vein game review

Enemies can be beaten alone.

The rules of battle are also familiar. The hero alternately uses two types of weapons, fast and powerful attacks, parries, somersaults and blocks, and also uses magic. Especially strong blows can be delivered by going behind the enemy’s back or jumping on him from a height. Most monsters are slow enough that even an unprepared person can catch the moment for the right action. But a good vampire also needs to be on the alert, because his mobility depends on the weight of the weapon – with a heavy hammer, the rolls become twice as short. Decided to heal in the midst of a battle and immediately got hit on the head? This happens, of course. And all this would be great if it worked as it should.

However, as part of the battles, Code Vein gives slack. Every now and then the hit registration fails: it seems that they plunged the ax into the body of the enemy, but the damage was not counted. On the other hand, the enemy does not have to touch the hero with a weapon in order to bleed. It’s especially fun when the monster hits the place right in front of him, and hits behind his back. “Yes, I did it!” – this exclamation will break out from you more than once or twice. There are also glitches when the animation of individual enemies slows down while everything else is running smoothly, and outright bullying – try to dodge an attack across the area in a narrow corridor.

Code Vein game review

In a skirmish with the boss, if desired, a partner will help out. And you will have such a desire, believe me.

It’s hard to believe, but at some point it’s not monsters that become the main threat at all, although they run in crowds that you won’t find in any Dark Souls. No, the most evil enemy in the role-playing action movie of the studio Shift is the environment, sometimes licked you know what. And, alas, it is not always sensible: there are thin bridges around, cliffs, holes in the floor, paths from which it will not take long to collapse. Add an intricate layout – in some labyrinths you have to wander for a long time, like Moses in the desert, in order to somehow move along the plot. Do you know such an expression – “topographic cretinism”? Code Vein explains its meaning with specific examples.

Good things come in small packages

Whether the authors of the game did not have enough budget, or time (despite the additional year of development), but almost every advantage of Code Vein comes with a caveat. Other than the music, it’s definitely good. But the rest raises questions. For example, a role-playing system: blood codes that determine characteristics and a set of abilities can be changed at any time. But increasing the character in levels due to haze does not allow you to distribute points in your own way – to add a bonus to strength, dexterity or defense. You just invest, relatively speaking, a portion of souls and you get small growth on all fronts. And there already twirl with template codes to slightly strengthen one and slightly weaken the other. It looks like a deliberate complication of simple mechanics.Code Vein game review

After feats of arms, it is not a sin to relax in hot springs. Although no, there is still something sinful in this.

The idea of ​​having a computer partner, instead of which you can invite a friend and go through a difficult moment in co-op, also seems great. You do not need help – fight yourself, but it became difficult – take help with you. Cool, what’s the problem? It’s a matter of balance. Ordinary opponents are too weak: the authors have gone from the Dark Souls canon towards the slasher, added mass character – and it’s still easy to cut the devils. Unless the constant screamers (you can’t call it otherwise) with monsters jumping out from around the corner and falling on your head keep you in suspense. But on the bosses without a partner, it’s hard. Was the co-op just a patch for this hole? And in general, who is the game intended for – for Souls-like fans or beginners who want to shove ahead, hammering on one button? You can’t please both at the same time.

Even walks through the halls of memory are not as smooth as you might expect. The hero trudges too slowly through the muddy astral plane, and it is impossible to switch to running – it seems that time is being deliberately dragged out. But is there any sense in this, if the replicas are still allowed to be skipped? Anyone who can’t listen to the shadows of the past and delve into the plot will still find a way to interrupt the chatter. It seems to be a trifle, unworthy of mention, but such details, typing in sufficient quantities, somewhat overshadow the overall picture. It’s a pity, because the overall picture deserves attention.

It doesn’t happen once at a time: this bastard, for example, is not so cool. But an extra sword wouldn’t hurt anyway.

Studio Shift has released an action role-playing game with good genetics: it is beautiful, interesting, and the oil cut from Dark Souls does not spoil the mess. It is quite possible to enjoy the process. But whenever the game is discouraging with glitches and inconveniences, it’s akin to a huge pimple on a beautiful anime vampire – no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to look past it. So Code Vein receives a “Commendable” rating in advance – with the hope of a patch that fixes at least the problems of the combat system.

Pros: a simple but understandable story, which is interesting to follow, wonderful music, nice graphics – an overdose of anime does not threaten anyone; battles are mostly spectacular and uncomplicated.

Cons: It is necessary to delve into new concepts, although their essence has long been known; the locations were designed by the same person as the labyrinth of the Minotaur; a lot of technical problems – the game seems unfinished.

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