Code Vein is one of the few titles I’ve been excited for in 2019 and it’s safe to say that it was worth the wait. Bandai Namco present a unique take on the post-apocalyptic genre and the vampire mythos. The final result is one of the best original titles of the year and one that will challenge players.
Hiroshi Yoshimura and his team have created a lore rich world that is able to strike a balance between originality and familiarity. Complementing this world building has been a classic gameplay that can be both fun and challenging. Also it’s great when a game you have been excited for all year has been worth the wait.
The Blood World
Gonna keep this as Spoiler Free as possible.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which most of humanity has been wiped out by a plague that transformed them into a vampire like creature called Revenant. To preserve what is left of their humanity, Revenant communities sacrifice their memories as they battle over blood beads that they need to survive or they will become one of the Lost (mutants that have lost their humanity). Players must battle the Lost along with other Revenants as they try to reclaim their memories and uncover the secrets of a hidden society called Vein.
Code Vein is an example that to create a memorable post-apocalyptic game, all one needs is solid world building and the need to take a creative risk. The plot takes the familiar setting of the vampire lore then adds its own vision and ideas. Players work to survive in this world while trying to solve the mystery of what happened. They will be working along side some memorable characters that bring something unique to the journey.
It’s time to address the one question everyone has. No; this is not just an anime version of Dark Souls. By comparison, it’s an easy experience when compared to a Souls game. Don’t be fooled into thinking the game is easy, Code Vein is a challenging game in its own right.
The game starts with one of the most detailed rich character customization. This customization allows players to build their unique protagonist however they want. The level of customization can be best described as being on par with a Bethesda game or the Saints Row series. I honestly spent an hour trying to build my perfect character and through out the game I’ve gone back to make minor edits.
The world that players will explore is one that could be described as a contradiction. It is both dark in tone but also very colorful in detail, one that will amaze players by its design. Populating this world are the Lost, monsters that could either be frightening or intimidating.
I have to praise how the co-op multiplayer actually feels natural and not shoehorned into the game. I did play a little of the game in co-op and really liked how one could actually enjoy the main game with another player. It’s not Left 4 Dead and the real experience has not been chipped away.
Becoming the Lost
Honestly, its hard to find an issue with Code Vein. I have some issues with the controller layout but it feels more like nitpicking than constructive criticism. Maybe because I’m a fan of the Souls series and because I respect any game that could create an original post-apocalyptic world. Wanting to find something to dislike started to feel like an act of pettiness.
That being said, If you’re not a fan of the Souls series then you will not enjoy Code Vein. The game is still hard and there are no predatory monetization schemes or exploitative gambling mechanics that will help you progress faster. If one wants to progress then you gotta do it the old fashion way, by working hard to overcome challenges.
Simply put; if you like Dark Souls and Bloodborne then you will like Code Vein. I enjoyed Dark Souls and Bloodborne, thus I enjoyed playing Code Vein.
A Thirst for More
Code Vein is a challenging experience in a lore rich world that is able to strike a balance between originality and familiarity. Bandai Namco took a risk with an original work and it truly has paid off for fans of such experiences.
Disclaimer: Bandi Namco provided the game used for this review.
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