Last week, Bandai Namco, the king of anime game companies, released Code Vein. An anime, Souls-like, hack & slash, dungeon crawler. I know that sounds like a lot, and it is. Honestly, Code Vein is the best of what makes all those genres great. However, there’s a lot to unpack at first.
Code Vein is beyond just slashing your way through enemies or dodge rolling to safety 1,000 times per fight. There’s a complex and malleable class system that involves blood codes, magic-like gifts, and jackets that turn into dogs or a scorpion tail. It’s a lot, well, unless you’re a huge anime fan. Then it’s pretty normal.
It really can be a lot to follow. So, below, I’ll walk you through everything I learned and everything I wish I’d known in my first several hours with the game. Everything from the simplest to the toughest things to learn.
Here are my top 13 Code Vein tips:
13. Spend some time making your Character.
Your, mostly silent, protagonist can look like almost anything you can imagine for an anime game. All the troupes are there, even down to the cat ears. I spent the first 30/35 mins making my character and had a blast. Every aspect will show up in cutscenes too.
If you ever want to change things on your character’s look, you can use the mirror in the headquarters. I will warn you, the clothes option lacks many choices. I assume this is the case because, one, it’s an anime game, and two, because they’re vampires. So apparently the more theatrical, the better. However, there’s a way to check off things on your outfit.
Once you’ve chosen your style, you will have a few options. One option includes almost any color or pattern you can think of. Then there’s an option box that looks like two volume sliders. If you click that one, each costume has a number of accoutrements attached. You can take one or all of the pieces off so you don’t always look like you fell through an Elton John factory.
12. Turn off the drain attack animations.
The first time you watch the full animation of a drain attack, it’s admittedly pretty awesome. There’s even one for each type of Blood Veil (jacket) you wear. But it quickly becomes a distraction in combat’s flow once you’ve seen it a few dozen times.
Luckily the game lets you fix this. You can turn them off by going to Settings > Game Settings, and turning off Cinematic Effect for Special Drains.
11. Keep a bayonet equipped.
One of the more useful things about Code Vein is you have two weapon slots, and you can switch between them at any time easily enough in the middle of combat.
While one of the weapons you use should be your preferred damage-dealing device. I would like to suggest that you keep a bayonet in the other slot. This gives you a nice long range weapon at hand. You’ll have to blood drain to refill it, but it comes in handy when dealing with a monster with a higher power level.
10. Swap your gear.
I think this is fairly obvious when talking about your weapons. However, I’m talking about more than that. Your Blood Code and Blood Veil will also need to be changed out regularly.
Remember that each Blood Code has different key stats, as do all weapons. So it shouldn’t be too hard to realize that different Blood Veils are far better for different Blood Codes. Even if that isn’t immediately obvious, once you start swapping Veils and weapons on the different Codes you will see what I mean.
Find a combination that works for your immediate predicament and play style. Because the baddies change often in this game, it’s good practice to learn how to use everything.
9. Look up!
This might sound patronizing but Code Vein likes to drop enemies from the ceiling onto you very early on. Watch out.
8. Understand how your Blood Veil works.
Since I’ve already mentioned the Blood Veil a few times, let me go into more detail. Your Blood Veil is the jacket you wear while you’re out fighting monsters. It’s also what you use to perform drain attacks (the animations I said you can turn off).
Each one is different and every Blood Veil has the armor-like stats you’d expect like defenses and resistances. However, each one also changes your gift (magical ability) stats. This includes how powerful your gifts are and drain attack stats.
Different blood veils perform drain attacks with different attack types, such as slashing or piercing. That means that you’ll have to balance how much you use your gifts and your enemies’ vulnerabilities against the defenses and resistances a blood veil gives you. There’s more to it than just keeping the best armor. Sometimes that’s not enough.
In time, you’ll learn which Lost and creatures are weak to which gifts, but I 100% suggest fire and finding a Blood Veil that enhances fire attacks.
7. There are more Blood Codes than you think.
While you start with a few different Blood Codes to try, there are actually over 20 blood codes to be found throughout Code Vein.
You’ll pick them up by collecting “vestiges” either as part of the main storyline or by finding them in the world. These vestiges add new blood codes or unlock new gifts for your existing blood codes.
6. There are items literally everywhere.
While you’re in the world, fighting your way through the Lost, Code Vein will reward exploration. There are items to collect everywhere. Smash every wooden crate, explore every dead end, and look around and behind everything.
Explore as much of the map as you can, and you’ll be rewarded with everything from valuables (below) to haze to vestiges.
5. Switch Blood Codes often.
In normal RPG terms, Blood Codes work kind of like classes. As mentioned above, each Blood Code adjusts your stats, attacks, defenses, and resistances. Your blood code also determines how much ichor you can carry. Think of ichor as MP.
You can switch between Blood Codes at any time. So just like your gear, it’s smart to change these out once in a while to get the hang of them. If you’re more of an up-close-and-personal player, you will want to use the Fighter Blood Code. If you prefer mid-range Magic, try picking the Caster.
The trick is to become proficient in more than one Blood Code. There’s no penalty for switching, so you should try them all out, and use them based on the current situation.
It’s also helpful to get the hang of on the spot switch outs. This means, for example, while using a melee-focused Blood Code like Fighter for a particular fight in a tight space, like a corridor, you can quickly open the menu and switch over to Caster to pick off distant enemies.
Code Vein wants you to succeed in any way possible even if you will fail multiple times.
4. Use your gifts.
If you’re anything like me when you play games, well you probably hoard consumables. I hesitate to use anything I can collect. While Gifts are sort of limited in a sense, they work off something else: Ichor
Ichor isn’t a limited resource. While playing, even though I use a healthy dose of my gifts, I have rarely fully run out of Ichor. Code Vein makes sure Ichor runs as smoothly as a chocolate fountain. It’s always flowing, and you can refill it at any time. When you do run out of Ichor, it’s relatively easy to get it back just by punching some enemies in the back, or running your Blood Veil through them.
Once you acquire new gifts, be sure to master them. They all have different ways of doing that but mostly just kill enemies. As you use a gift enough to master it, you’ll actually be able to transfer that ability into other Blood Codes. This can come in handy for people that like a particular aspect of one Code but more of another. So, assuming you meet all the stat requirements first, mostly all gifts can be used with any Blood Code.
3. Revisit old maps and complete NPC quests.
As you defeat bosses and unlock new areas, new and familiar NPCs will appear in old areas bearing new dialogue and quests. This is where the game becomes a little grindy. However, on the plus side, these quests usually have some nice rewards.
To get some of the side quests, you’ll need to exhaust the dialogue options of everyone you meet, and revisit all the areas you've unlocked each time you defeat a major boss. If there are any new NPC options, they'll be marked on the map, and you can chat with them for more information.
Sometimes, and this threw me off at first, you’ll need to choose the "Talk" menu option. Unfortunately, just pressing X / A in front of them doesn’t always do the trick. Once you accept the NPC's request, do your best to complete it immediately to unlock the next step in their quest line.
2. If your partner tells you not to go somewhere, do the opposite.
This is an easy one to explain. Any partner you are with is usually full of good information but they’re also easy to tune out. Also, one of their most useful lines can be misdirecting you. Partners will sometimes say something like, "We can get around without fighting that one." This is your cue to immediately fight whatever enemy they're referring to.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I have found, more often than not, there will be something good that this particular baddie is guarding. Usually a treasure chest, or it will drop special loot like a Regeneration boost. Whatever it is, I guarantee you will want it.
1. Learn to Parry.
I’ve played a lot of Dark Souls; every game in the series, though most of my hours spent are in Dark Souls III. Still, after all those hours, I’m still awful at the parry system in those games. In Bloodborne, which is a bit more forgiving, I still had my issues. I’m not great with most games that rely on a parry system.
Code Vein is even more forgiving than most, but it still takes some time to learn. Your parry is fast, and it gives you back Ichor on use since it automatically does a Drain Attack, the same as back attacks. So if you don’t want to just dodge roll around the rest of the game, please, for the love of ichor, learn to parry!
Because I knew it was something that was my weakest play point, I spent the early stages of learning how to parry as much as I could. The first area I played again and again for the first three hours I turned it on. Then I realized that each Blood Veil moderately changes the parry times, so I needed to take the time to get it right. It came in handy later on in-game when I could parry like a champ.
These tips should help you navigate the first few hours of Code Vein. Once you've mastered some of these techniques, you’re able to most involve yourself with the deep rich lore that this game features.
Do you have some tips for other Code Vein fans?
Tell us in the comment section below!
Top image via Microsoft
This article was written by John D. AKA SomeBeardy2Love. John has been gaming for 30 years, has a bow tie tattoo, and watches nothing but anime and Bob’s Burgers. He co-hosts a mostly weekly podcast and has a sponsored beard.