Petty Reviews: Code Vein

Code Vein is one of the many Dark Souls-esque video games. These video games are designed to be extraordinarily difficult and unforgiving. Death is severely punished. Every time you die you respawn at your last checkpoint and lose all of your currency and progress. Part of the fun of gaming is overcoming high difficulty challenges and enemies. Dark Souls-type games take this to the extreme and are dedicated to the “git gud” mentality. I have not played Dark Souls or Bloodborne because I am not a masochist. 

Initially, I picked up Code Vein because it looked like an interesting anime game. When I realized that it is a Dark Souls clone I was a little bit scared. I almost put it back on the shelf. However, I decided to be brave and give it a try. It wasn’t that expensive. Plus, maybe I would enjoy getting bullied by a video game. 

For a while, I did have fun playing Code Vein. Making my perfect waifu was a good time. It made me relive my childhood of playing dress-up games. The combat was hard in a good way. It heightened tension while playing new levels. Returning to previous areas after leveling up was so satisfying. To be able to easily one-shot kill an enemy that had killed me multiple times before was a beautiful experience. 

Boss fights were brutally challenging. I had to look up walkthroughs and strategy guides more than once. One boss, Invading Executioner, was so hard! It made me so angry. I had to beat this boss. It was the only outlet for my unyielding rage. I don’t know how many attempts it took, but I finally won! Times, like this I played Code Vein out of spite. I didn’t want this game to beat me. 

Later on in my playthrough… Sigh, the game beat me. At least for now. I fully intend on returning to Code Vein and finishing it. Someday, I will return; and, I will win. 

The fifth area in the game (not counting home base) is called the Cathedral of The Sacred Blood. The area is very pretty. The whole level is designed like a massive white Gothic cathedral. When I saw it the first time I spent a few moments just panning the camera around, appreciating the view. The problem is that the map is hard to navigate because all the paths look the same with hardly any markers to differentiate them. I had already gotten lost more than once and had looked up a YouTube walkthrough. So I was already getting frustrated. 

Then came the mini-boss that broke me, Argent Wolf Berserker. Even now just remembering that rotten, clanking, empty-headed suit of armor makes me annoyed. I hate that guy! That stupid Berserker is the worst!

*5 minutes of petulant sulking later* Alright, now that I’ve calmed down let’s talk about why this boss fight broke me. Because while the Berserker is a hard fight there is more than one reason that made it exceedingly difficult. 

The other boss fights I had beaten were located very close to a respawn point. As soon as I died I would pop back up close by and try again. Maybe there would be one or two little dudes that I would have to kill or avoid along the way. For the most part, it was a short walk back to try yet again to defeat the boss. That’s not the case with the Berserker boss. He is located about a three-minute distance away from the respawn. If that was the only problem it wouldn’t be a big deal. However, there are enemies you can’t avoid, and if you run they will chase you. They aren’t just little dudes that die in two or three hits either. It takes effort to beat these annoying skinny knights. They are fast, have decent health, and it’s almost impossible to escape without taking damage. Heck, sometimes I died to those guys before reaching the boss!

Once reaching the boss you are stuck with whatever health and health items you currently have. It’s impossible to start the fight at 100% tip-top condition. Then you have the difficulty of the stage and the Berserker himself. The stage you have to fight on is way too small. You don’t get much space to dodge and run. The other boss fights take place in big arenas. This one doesn’t give you that. This makes avoiding hits and getting enough time to use a healing item very challenging. The Berserker has a big range. He’s slow but he hits hard. It doesn’t take much to kill you. Your NPC companion who tags along to help you fight the bad guys collapses at the slightest nudge from this jerk-wad. 

Naturally, after dying over and over again I did the smart thing and looked up a walkthrough. Two YouTube videos showed the best character mod and techniques to kill the Berserker. Playing a tank character mod was the best choice. Then use a giant two-handed sword to block attacks instead of dodging. All while trying to get behind this lumbering nitwit and stab him in back. The problem is that I hadn’t played that character mod the entire game. Normally I played character builds that let me be fast with quick attacks and long-range magic attacks. I had gotten fairly good at playing this style of character. Now I had to change my entire playstyle for this one guy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t good at it. It’s not my playstyle preference in Code Vein and I didn’t have much practice with this mod. 

All these things combined made me so frustrated that I decided to put the controller down and take a break. I had only meant to take a day or two away from Code Vein before trying again. Then I started playing other games and got distracted from it. Now it’s delegated to my game purgatory list. The list of games that I’ve started but then stopped for whatever reason. I tell myself “I’ll come back and finish this game. I will return. Eventually. I do want to finish it.” Someday I will return to playing Code Vein. Next time I will beat it.

*Image is a screenshot of Code Vein and was originally posted on an IGN walkthrough. Does not belong to me.

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