Ever wanted a bit of hardcore anime injected into the Dark Souls Genre? What about with a slight vampiric twist? Well, that's a really specific and odd request, first of all. But, oddly enough, Code Vein is exactly that. Unlike other games of this genre, Code Vein does a fair amount to separate itself from the pack. Honestly, it feels a bit more like God Eater and Dark Souls combined and we're loving it. One of the most unique mechanics is the Blood Code system. Basically, it's the "classes" of the game, just using vampire terminology. And, because the player character is the "special chosen one" they can switch between Blood Codes at any time. Within each of these codes are a variety of skills that can be unlocked and "inherited" so they can be used with other Codes equipped. There's a whole lot of them, and grinding out their mastery takes a fair bit of time. So, we'll be letting you know which are the ones to focus on and which to ignore.
10 Best: Treasure Tracker (And Some Other Exploration-Related Skills)
Obviously, the skills that should come first are the ones that passively optimize the overall experience. Luckily, there are quite a few skills like this spread throughout CV's Blood Codes. Gifts such as the Hunter's IFF Radar which detects enemies, the Survivors Treasure Tracker which pings items on the map, and even the Revenant's Hunger Gift from the Mercury tree which increases overall Haze gain. Basically, if the Gift description sounds like it'll make exploration easier, grab it. Sure, players can only have 4 passives active at once, but since each Blood Code saves the loadout of skills set to them, it's quite easy to create an exploration and combat build.
9 Worst: Prize Perception And Spoils Spotter
Here's the thing, Prize Perception is frankly just the store-brand Treasure Tracker. It's meant to do the same thing, but it just can't do it nearly as well, so it settles for being cheaper. This skill can be found in the Scout tree, and all it really does is tell the player that they're missing items within the current map. And sure, Spoils Spotter is a smaller version of this, since it only affects a certain area. But, how big is said area? Frankly, we have no idea. Prize Perception is one thing but Spoils Spotter also makes itself useless by having way too big of a range. We can't tell if it's detecting items we missed above us, below us, or a mile away. Just wait and unlock Treasure Tracker instead. Trust us. Turns out it's true, bigger isn't always better.
8 Best: The Weapon Mastery Skills
We tried to cover categories of Gifts in this article, not just single skills. Why? Because we want to make sure this list can work as a guide for players with any build! Bayonette Users, Casters, and even Heavy Weapon fanatics are all welcome to peruse our choices. And so, we wanted to put a special spotlight on the Weapon Mastery Gifts spread throughout a number of different trees. These are amazing passive buffs that increase damage with specific weapon types. Sure, they cost a big chunk of Haze to unlock in the beginning, but for people who plan to use the same weapon/weapon type throughout Code Vein, these passive buffs are tantamount to their build. Seems like a 20% increase is the standard with these, and thats including the offensive Gift's as well.
7 Worst: Focused State-Based Buff Skills
Maybe it was just our playthrough, but we didn't get much use out of the "Focused State" the game tries to push so desperately. This is the state that players immediately transition to once their focus gauge fills. And, once they enter it, their Stamina meter refills, they become harder to interrupt, and enemies will be staggered much easier. Plus, there's that sweet launcher combo into drain attack. The Focused State is a neat idea, but it just doesn't happen consistently/reliably enough to waste either Active or Passive skill slots on. So all of the skills that buff the player with elements while focused, increase their damage, or even their defense, just aren't worth it. Though the Savvy Evasion skill from the Prometheus Blood Code seems decent, though that's on a case-by-case basis.
6 Best: Augmented Regeneration
Every game within this niche genre has an Estus Flask of sorts. Whether it's Bloodborne's Blood Vials, Sekiro's Healing Gourd, or Code Vein's Regeneration. These items or abilities are what add most of the tension to the game, as watching the amount of them dwindle while not knowing where the next "checkpoint" might be are some of the most nail-biting moments we've had in video games. Frankly, exploring with zero healing items makes anyone much more cautious. So, a skill that increases the amount the player character can heal is highly sought after, always. And, the Augmented Regeneration Skill in the Scout Blood Code is exactly that, as it increases the amount players can heal not by one, but by two, which is huge!
5 Worst: Fall Damage Reduction
Fall Damage exists in Code Vein. It's not quite as hilariously sensitive as it was in Demon's Souls or the first Dark Souls, but it's still there. Players will lose a bit of life every time they roll of small cliffs, and it'll ruin any of the skills that remain active until "damage" is taken, such as Concentration or Overdrive. And of course, if it's an endless pit or a super-high drop, falling can kill. But outside of that, it's really not much of a problem. So why would we need a skill that reduces the damage of something that's already so minimal? Obviously, this skill has its uses in later zones, just barely. But, we can't think of any reason a player would need to master it until about halfway through Code Vein. Frankly, we sort of forgot it was in the game at all.
4 Best: Overdrive and Concentration
Now, most of the Gifts in Code Vein have a time-limit or restricting factor to them. The damage-reduction, attack damage, and evasion-based buffs are all on a timer once they've been activated. But, there are a few key abilities in the game that increase stats depending on how long the player can avoid damage or how many times they strike the enemy. Blade Dance is the most obvious example, but it's the inherent skill of the Prometheus Code, and being tied to one Blood Code is pretty lame. But, the Concentration and Overdrive skills in the Assassin tree isn't locked to one specific Code. These abilities are both dependent on the player avoiding damage in order to remain active, but their stamina and damage benefits are well worth it. So "git gud" and learn to dodge!
3 Worst: Vivication
Vivication isn't a bad Gift by any means. Honestly, it's handy to have mastery over since using this Gift works like the Vivifier item and transports the player back to the last Mistle with all their Haze intact. But, it's a skill that has the same effect as an easily obtained consumable item. That alone makes it pretty weak in terms of utility. Sure, Vivication can be convenient for players farming Haze who don't want to spend all their Vivifiers, but outside of that one specific situation, there's not much use for it. Although, we do recommend nabbing it after the 3rd or 4th boss, as Vivifiers become a bit rarer from then on.
2 Best: Flashing Fang
There are a few skills that increase the damage, armor penetration, or stagger amount of the next attack. Sure, Adrenaline is an overall buff, but the strength of said buff is pretty weak. Most of these single-attack skills can be found in the Fighter, Hermes, Atlas, or Berserker trees. Obviously, they were intended for the players who like to use slower, single-hit, and higher damage weapons. But, out of all of them, there's one that's the best, and that's Flashing Fang. This is a fantastic Gift found in the Atlas tree that increases the damage of the next attack by 100%. Now you may be wondering, why did we pick Flashing Fang and not Blow of Madness, an ability with a similar description? Well, because Blow of Madness only increases the power of the next attack by a flat 400 damage, while Flashing Fang's increase is dependent on the damage of the swing.
1 Worst: Elemental Resistance Active Buffs
And finally, we've arrived at the lamest of the lame. Iron Will is one of the best skills in the game because it gives flat damage reduction. Why is that? Because unless it's a specifically flaming, thundering, or frozen enemy, players don't want to micro-manage their elemental damage reduction. It's boring, and if we're playing the game blind, we'll never know what enemies coming up will use what elements. So, flat damage reduction is always the way to go. That said, there are a great number of skills that temporarily increase the player's elemental resistance to certain elements. And while we're sure that has uses in specific zones and against specific bosses (like that painfully annoying slow-inducing water-spear boss) these situations are so minimal that we couldn't possibly recommend that anyone grab these Gifts unless they specifically need them for individual encounters.