Back in 2017, Bandai Namco announced one of their upcoming projects. Coined as an action-role-playing game set in a post-apocalyptic world, where vampires scurry around for survival against fearsome foes. This game, titled Code Vein, would fall in and out of our conscious over the next two years, only ever hinting at its existence. This finally changed over the last couple of months as we've been receiving a steady stream of information - and to everyone's joy - a playable demo on consoles. Looking forward to the game, I was up at the crack of dawn, coffee in hand, and instructing my PlayStation 4 to download the demo. Weighing in at a healthy 9GB, the demo made available the first zone of the game, including a boss battle, and a part of the Depths. With that said, here are my impressions of the demo.
First things first, Code Vein's character creator is awesome. It effectively provides all the tools you could possibly want to create your fantasy character with. These options, mixed with the beautiful anime art style, makes for some truly fantastic creations. Myself, being a man of sophisticated taste, created a platinum-blonde scientist, armed with beauty and brains as vast as the known universe she inhabits. Driving the scientist point home, I settled on the "magic" Blood Code for my character - a scientist capable of wielding "magic, armed with nothing more than a metal pipe". yeah, she means business. Though, one could argue a different point looking at her peaceful visage.
Forming the backbone of your character is their Blood Code, which is a fancy vampire-inspired name for a class. Starting out in the demo allows you to choose between three Blood Codes, but completing it unlocks more to choose from. Each Blood Code also comes with its own Gifts. Again, Gifts are just a fancy word for skills. For instance, the warrior-inspired Blood Code comes with a buff skill, increasing your damage output. The "magic" Blood Code enables your character to hurl a fireball at your antagonizers.
All of the above wouldn't mean anything if their execution in combat was weak. Thankfully, Bandai Namco has taken great care to ensure the action is flashy, deliberate, and fun. Each weapon, though only a handful is available in the demo, felt different. The bayonet could be swung around with great gusto, while the two-handed axe demanded more consideration for its slow, hard-hitting swings. Combat in Code Vein, although tough and deliberate, dazzles you with its flair. My screen practically exploded with the effects of swirling blood, crackling lightning, and flashy weapon strokes - and I loved every moment of it. All the more so when you factor in your companion unleashing hell onto your enemies. These AI-controlled companions are decent enough when dealing damage, and keeping you healthy (depending on their skills). The first section of the demo, which takes place in a cave-like structure, felt less lonely with my trusty companion by my side. Farewell Oliver, my friend. You fell as hard as the heavy weapon you wielded.
Out of the entire demo, only two issues arose that I feel I have to address. First is the way characters "snap" towards an object when interacting with it. The two most jarring offenders being chests and doors. Seeing your awesomely created character teleport a meter or two to the object detracts quite a bit from the experience. It's a small issue, I know, but one that's not easily overlooked (or missed). Secondly, and this almost forms part of the previously mentioned issue, is the item pick-up animation. Not only is this animation painfully slow, but it also breaks the flow of engage-kill-loot immensely. A smoother, swifter action to collect the shinies on the ground could make a huge difference. Again, these are two small issues, but if the game takes about 20 hours to complete: small issues will almost certainly spoil your experience.
The demo provided a taste of what's to come on the 27th of September when Code Vein officially launches. Other than a few animation issues with the demo, I enjoyed it and will probably play through it again. I'm more excited than ever for Code Vein's official release after playing the demo. The robust character creator, the stylish anime art style, smooth combat, and abundance of customization (as assumed from the demo), will surely satisfy the action-role playing gamer.
Code Vein is set to release on September 27, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Be sure to check back for our official review, and while you wait, stick to Nexus Digital for everything Code Vein.
Kingdom Hearts devotee, From Software fanboy and aspiring Audiophile (the good kind that believes in FLAC files). Vincent enjoys writing about games almost as much as playing them.
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