Code Vein is the perfect storm that didn't quite reach maximum wind speeds. A Dark Souls scaffolding with some dark anime to color the picture sounds like an instant hit. However, at a few key moments, Code Vein finds itself tripping over its own feet.
For some, it satisfies their anime kick with enough gameplay to carry it through the story. For others, it tries a little too hard to be its older brother and falls short in a big way. Whatever side of the line it falls on, Code Vein has a big heart with some great features that give the player hours of hack and slash fun.
10 Best: The Art Style
Hearing that a vampire game made by the people who published Dark Souls was coming, of course, the art was going to be on point. Especially when you add in the incredible anime stylings.
The cutscenes are really what showcases this the best. While the content of the scene is usually quite slow, it does give you some time to appreciate the visuals. The style matches its story, in that it doesn't waste your time being subtle.
9 Worst: Clumsy Combat
This really does come down to personal preference. If speed is your game, then you'll love Code Vein's combat. The action RPG allows players to whip around heavy weapons like kitchen knives. Almost constant movement is required because enemies will swing just as wide and fast.
Code Vein can be quite punishing, even with the companions to provide some help. The timing is not always spot on either. The block is all but useless, practically forcing players into a certain style of play, one that doesn't follow the normal rules of physics.
8 Best: Character Customization
This is the stand out feature of the game, allowing users to customize just about anything they could possibly want. From the playable character's hair to their boots, there are hundreds of options to choose from.
Even if after all that customization, you all of a sudden have a change of heart, there is always the option to go to your home base and change it all over again. This keeps the character fresh and provides the chance to fix a regrettable choice made at the start of the game.
7 Worst: Dull Boss Fights
The game that clearly inspired Code Vein has a string of memorable bosses, to say the least. Beatable but challenging should be the goal most games aspire to, one that Code Vein falls short on.
If you decide to fight the first bosses alone, you'll be there for far too long; conversely, with an NPC, the fights are too easy. With the last bosses coming in hot, it makes the solo option almost laughable. Furthermore, none of them are particularly interesting.
6 Best: Unique Storyline
Code Vein's story is very interesting. While the pacing isn't great and it can come off as disjointed at times, Code Vein manages to keep players invested through the backstories of all the odd characters introduced during the journey. It doesn't hurt that these flashbacks unlock new fighting styles as well.
Bouncing from person to person to restore their memories does make it seem a little choppy, but this structure also keeps things fresh. You're not stuck in a heavy storyline constantly. You get a breather by visiting the past life of an endearing character.
5 Worst: Copy Cat Systems
While taking inspiration from another franchise is fine, an argument could be made that Code Vein cut a little too close to the cloth. Using the same mechanics and key storytelling points is one thing, but Code Vein put itself in a position to be directly compared to Dark Souls, a comparison that is not flattering.
While quite a few games take the template of Dark Souls, Code Vein had the potential to follow its own course, especially with its anime aesthetic. Now, it seems the game will live in the massive shadow of Dark Souls.
4 Best: Useful Mapping
Some players just want to get through the main storyline but for those who like to 100% a game, Code Vein has a great mapping system for you, along with all the items you can gather to help you in the main storyline.
You'll have to explore ''The Depths,'' a series of caves that are filled with a variety of enemies guarding some form of treasure. If a cave seems particularly difficult, breathe a sigh of relief, because the difficulty doesn't increase with your level. Just take a break and revisit the cave later to claim your prize.
3 Worst: Overpowered NPCs
You have the option of taking an NPC with you to aid in battle. This isn't a new concept but rarely is your partner this overpowered. The difficulty levels in this game tend to yo-yo wildly, with the NPCs coming off as a little too powerful.
It goes as far as the NPC being able to take on a boss without the player having to lift a finger; admittedly, the wait time would be a little long but they can get the job done. It really takes the fun out of the game when you become a spectator.
2 Best: Beginner Friendly Gameplay
Dark Souls is the golden boy of its genre, most people don't have a bad thing to say about it. A lot of the time, the people raving about FromSoftware's franchise are veteran gamers, who have gone through the wringer a few times to learn how to endure Dark Souls difficulty level.
The fledgling gamers among us are essentially thrown to the wolves. Left to be beaten down by the array of enemies that come jumping out at you. Code Vein serves a noble purpose in its own way, acting as the entry ramp for games like Dark Souls.
1 Worst: Repetitive Mechanics
The biggest complaint to weave its way through reviews and forums is the complete lack of enemy variation in the game. It's actually shocking just how repetitive things get, it begins to feel a little like bullying when you're beating up the same enemies for 30 hours.
Instead of creating new mini-bosses for the depths, they recycle the same enemies and even take previous bosses faced in the main story. While many games use similar NPCs, you can usually tell them apart, which is not always the case with Code Vein. The enemies are the worst though.