Code Vein is an action role playing game developed and published by Bandai Namco and out on Xbox, PlayStation and Microsoft Windows. This title is certainly one for the Anime fan's out there and if you are someone who enjoys challenging games such as Dark Souls, Bloodborne or The Surge then you are sure to find enough similarities in Code Vein the scratch that itch. 

Set in a fictional post-apocalyptic world this dystopian adventure see's you play as a vampire in a world that has fallen to an unknown calamity known as the Great Collapse, you begin by customizing your character and boy what can I say... Code Vein has one hell of a deep customization feature, there are so many options ranging from multiple hair styles and colours, face features such as eye size and design, nose and mouth, clothing options, utility options such as belt's, bags etc and to top it all off it comes at no extra cost which is refreshing in an age where companies jump at the chance to add microtransaction features in their games. Code Vein is anime through and through and you can expect to see the uniqueness and colour in the characters you can make, the possibilities are endless to the point where you could make a character to look exactly like your favourite anime character. Once finishing creating your character you are set to enter the world of Code Vein, you awaken amongst the ruins of a desolated city and are guided by a mysterious girl to a strange plant which you learn is part of the reason that society is falling apart, these plants provide 'Blood Beads' which help quench the vampires thirst and prevent them from turning into crazed creatures known as 'The Lost' but these plants are becoming scarce which along with the few humans left in the world is causing the vampires to die off. I could talk about the story forever and a day but it's so enjoyable I would hate to think I have spoilt it for anyone, just know that it's an engaging story that fits perfectly within the genre and for me it is what Dark Souls was missing, so hats off to Bandai Namco for that.

The design and graphical style are anime and if it's your thing you will have plenty of eye candy to savour in Code Vein, its bright, it's colourful and it does a fantastic job of adding to the atmosphere the game is trying to provide. If you aren't into the whole anime presentation and style then this game is certainly not for you because looks matter and none more so than in a game where you are likely to invest 40-60 hours of your time in, for me a game needs to be aesthetically pleasing for me to stick with it. That's not saying that the graphics in a game are the be all or end all to how good a game is, no, it's all about the gameplay loop and Code Vein doesn't disappoint. 

The combat in Code Vein is that of your typical hack and slash game with a stamina system inspired from the likes of Dark Souls, you have your heavy attacks and light attacks which you can combo together that occasionally in the right circumstances can activate a finisher with cool animations (note that these little animations can be deactivated in the system settings) the enemies vary is size and shape and hit hard...even at a higher level it is unwise to assume you can plough through enemies in the beginning areas of the game, as for the bosses they are awe inspiring, big and come with mechanics that must be mastered in order to beat them. Levelling up is essential to challenging these bosses and sticking with the theme of vampires (or Revenants as the game likes to refer them) you find and collect 'Blood Codes' these blood codes are somewhat your classes which you can change on the fly, each blood code provides different abilities and stat changes which in turn adds some depth and customization to your characters fighting potential and can completely change the way you play the game. Around the world you will come across points called 'Mistles' these act as saving points which replenish your health, restore your health vials and give you means to spend the experience you collect through beating enemies as stated earlier very similar to Dark Soul like games.

What makes Code Vein stand out from the rest in its genre apart from its anime design and theme is that it has an engaging story that is easy to follow and comes with the occasional cutscene, but also Code Vein provides you with a partner that you can have to support you through the game world making the game that little bit easier if you should choose to have your partner with you... I was quite grateful of this feature especially in a couple of boss fights where I was struggling and let my partner distract the bosses while I did damage from a range. These partners are controlled by the A.I but there is that multiplayer option where another player can take control and you can play through the game together. The audio in Code Vein is as good as to be expected from a Bandai game and the voice work is professional, it has to be said though the music score in Code Vein is fantastic and again if you are a fan of anime you will find a lot to enjoy here.

Code Vein is a refreshing take on the Soul's like genre putting their own take on it and implementing their own ideas in a way that feels new but keeps that Soul's identity. If you enjoy Dark Souls and you enjoy anime, they will be certain to enjoy Code Vein, on the other hand if you aren't a fan of Dark Souls or anime then this simply isn't the game for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this review.