NYCC 2017: Code Vein Preview: Dark Souls with an anime twist

bandai namco
bandai namco /

Take Bloodborne‘s speed and throw a colorful anime palette into the mix to create the latest game from the God Eater team: Code Vein.

When I think of From Software’s Souls franchise, the words bleak, muted, and apocalyptic often come to mind along with the high difficulty of the series. Throw in Bloodborne‘s speed and a colorful anime palette into the mix to create the latest game from the God Eater team: Code Vein. The game has already been dubbed the apt title of “anime Dark Souls.” Which it proved to live up to when I gave it a go at New York Comic Con.

I got the chance to play a short, 15-minute demo of Code Vein at Comic-Con, as a Namco representative walked me through the mythos of the game. The premise is that you’re a vampire, in fact, almost everyone in Code Vein is a vampire, but don’t fret, you’re one of the good vampires. The evil vampires, who you’ll fight against throughout Code Vein, are a group known as Revenant. The Revenant went absolutely berserk after their queen died prior to the game’s beginning, leading them to become the antagonistic force you see in the game.

You, on the other hand, are a vampire who traded their human memories for a bevy of blood-based combat capabilities. Unfortunately, many humans did that same trade, so the world is facing a bit of a blood shortage crisis for all the fresh vampires. You as the protagonist, need to go out and change all that while discovering whats behind the Revenant plot, while trying to regain some of your lost memories.

Luckily, you’ll have help along the way. You can go on missions by yourself, with an NPC, or with friends. Code Vein heavily recommends the latter options. In order to offset the feeling of isolation that other Souls type games inspire, Code Vein‘s default is bringing a friend with you on your journey. Coop NPCs are fellow vampires who have lost their memories. Every time you bring an NPC along, your bond with that NPC grows stronger and you’ll come closer to helping them regain some of their lost memories.

Doing this could also help unlock some new weapons. Weapons and style are of paramount importance in Code Vein. The colorful style utilized in Code Vein instantly pops out at you when the demo begins. Each of the usable weapons has a distinctive style that helps embellish your outfit in the best possible way.

Bandai Namco
Bandai Namco /

Code Vein‘s gameplay is great. It easily finds the golden ratio between the speed of Bloodbourne and power of Dark Souls. Your health bar is a bit bigger than in either of those two games, but the difficulty is still very present. Enemies come at you from all angles from the moment you walk out the door. They have a distinct ghoulish vibe to them, with glowing red eyes that feel like they’ll follow you outside of the game. It feels eerie but hopeful as your equally bright, gothic styled, anime clothing illuminates the world around you.

After 10 minutes of exploration, I reached the boss fight featuring a clash with a giant gladiator-style revenant. I was awestruck by his speed and difficulty. He swooped at me; I was somewhat fearful, but unlike in From Software’s titles where you often feel like an underdog going up against a goliath, I felt like a goliath in my own right. I was armed with various blood-based abilities that allowed me to counter him with equal strength. Our brawl was exhilarating, it felt epic on that scale that only anime can get.

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Suffice to say, I’m excited to play more of Code Vein when it comes out in 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.