Beautiful. If there was a word to describe how I felt starting off this amazing preview to such a gorgeous game, that I am now anticipating as one of my personal top picks for Game of the Year, it’s Code Vein. Stunningly designed, along with the stylish anime getup’s you would find in many high-end Japanese RPG style games, I had the exact same sense of when I booted Nier Automata for the first time. The difference? We’re diving into a souls like game here, with dungeons crawling with powerful enemies, that will definitely challenge not only your ability to defend and conquer, but your patience… like it tested mine. With popular titles like Dark Souls, Sekiro, and Bloodborne that have taken the Souls-like genre by storm, it’s definitely refreshing to see a solid new IP ready to step into the limelight, and challenge the norm with it’s own unique style of presentation, and gameplay. In terms of it’s characters though, we’re definitely talking action anime tropes, that are injected into a mystery-style hack and slash souls game, with what I can only describe as a vague plot.
In terms of the game’s backstory, I’m not particularly certain that the preview of the title had placed me directly at the beginning, or somewhere in the middle. Our protagonist is placed in a post war-torn civilisation, that seems destroyed by something that has sought ruin for this world. Humanity seems extinct here, but judging by most of our surroundings from our preview, we’re not that far into the distant future, with war-torn buildings, cars, streets, and other signs of man-made structures still fresh, you can gather that this takeover is just beginning, and it’s now your job to battle monsters that have taken over. You know what’s super-cool about all this? Your Protagonist, is a Zombie Vampire. Yes, a Zombie freakin’ Vampire! Reanimated human bodies that are trained to fight off this post-modern apocalypse, but are not out to suck blood. Instead, we have tree’s that grow blood type fruits that will fill your health gauge, when you’re running low.
Creating your character, is fairly simple but greeted with a plethora of choices to customise how you may want your hero to look. You may also name your hero, to your choosing. The game does a really good job teaching you how to learn the basics in combat with it’s stylish tutorials. Blood codes are a neat feature that allows you to access gifts that you may unlock with further experience throughout your time in-game. You may upgrade and modify your weapons and stats with each code given (Dexterity, Fortitude, Mind, Strength, Vitality, and Willpower). Be sure to balance your stats perfectly, or at least to your suiting, as you will find grinding is something that will be a major presence, and you want your characters ability’s to be just right when taking on these powerful oncoming challengers.
Magic abilities are fun to use here (or Ichor as it’s known as here). Using Ichor will allow your hero to drain enemies of their blood, to fulfill your zombie like tendencies, which will once again restore your health, however will lower your Ichor in the process, mmm tasty! You can raise your Ichor through fighting, however your Ichor will reduce to default state when you are either resting, or are in slow areas. Being strategic in banking your magic here, will definitely be something of a challenge throughout your journey, and will definitely have you thinking quite a bit. It’s obvious that there will be moments where you will need to have your magic up, but will encounter battles where it will be necessary to use once, and possibly use again almost immediately. Tactical prowess, and fast combat will be something that you will have to consider at moments like this.
I have to say, the game’s design is absolutely stunning. It’s rare that we see many anime based titles with such beauty ingrained into them. The incredible detail placed not only into every stitch of clothing, every customisable, every piece of weaponry, but down to the gritty terrain, left me gobsmacked. I was certainly in awe with every cut-scene, it’s cinematically enthralling usage of lighting, which brings out even more depth to the world, and it’s characters, but the voice acting is on par with what you would expect out of a title like Persona, or a Nier Automata. It’s all top tier quality. The soundtrack, while limited from what heard here, is promising and attributes to what we’re given in this amazing beta.
Code Vein is set for release later this year, and I’m definitely excited to play the game in whole. It’s depth in design, has me just as excited as I was to play a Bloodborne, or Sekiro for the first time. A challenging souls game, with action-anime tropes that will have me on the edge of my seat wanting to explore more, and will have me grinding hours on end. I might have to stock up on Red Bull, this one’s going to have me playing from dusk ’til dawn. It’s definitely a fresh take on the Souls genre, and has me excited for what’s to come later in the year with it’s full release.
A code was provided by Bandai Namco AU, for this Preview.