Code Vein, Bandai Namco's new action RPG, is the latest game in the increasingly popular "Soulslike" sub-genre. Marrying an anime art-style and innovative class system with the tough-as-nails boss fights, limited saving and dangerous encounters that are typical of Soulslike games, Code Vein represents a fresh spin on the popular formula.
It's a game which wears its inspiration on its sleeve, and this even extends into its multiplayer functionality. Just like in the Souls games, co-op partners can be brought into the player's world to help with boss fights and tough encounters, but instead of looking for Summon Signs, in Code Vein players will send out a Distress Signal to call for help.
Inviting a Friend
Players can send their Distress Signal at any time by going into the Multiplayer tab of the Character Menu, which is marked by two heads, and selecting the option for Send a Distress Signal. In order to have a specific friend answer the Distress Signal however, rather than a random partner, both the player and their friend must have set the same Matchmaking Password, a system that will be familiar to any Dark Souls fans. This password, which can be activated by switching the option in the Multiplayer tab to Set, can be up to 8 characters long and a combination letters, numbers, and hyphens.
Joining a Friend
If a player sending a Distress Signal and a player searching for Distress Signals both have the same password set, then they'll be automatically matched by the system. Which means joining a friend's game is as easy as matching passwords and selecting the Search for Distress Signals option in the Multiplayer tab, a slightly simpler system that can be found in most of FromSoftware's Souls series.
Though it may be easy to join, it's worth noting that there are some limitations to Code Vein's co-op mode. Players who've been summoned into a game are unable to begin boss fights, instead they need to wait until the host has engaged before they can join in. They are also unable to pick up anything the host drops, though they can pick up items dropped by Code Vein's bosses. These items exist solely in their instance, and the host will still be able to loot fallen enemies even if their guest has already done so.
Reviews of Code Vein have been average-to-good, praising its fresh take on the Soulslike sub-genre and innovative class-system while criticizing its lack of visceral excitement in combat and performance issues. In short, while it may be an engaging new spin on a beloved formula for Souls fans, other players may have trouble seeing its past its flaws.
Code Vein is out now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
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