Sv. Prolivije
Uroš   Serbia
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63 Hours played
Boobasouls or something more?
Before we start, you should know you aren't getting a deep narrative, with rich and extensive lore, using the exceptionally detailed enemies, bosses, equipment, and environment filled to the brim with seemingly unimportant items to convey its vague story to the player. No, Code Vein has plenty of cutscenes, shouting, questionable camera angles, edgy baddies, spiky collars, surfer haircuts and the power of friendship.

But while all of that anime cheese is good and all, it's not what made Code Vein such a blast to play. That honour belongs to its excellent gameplay. Playing the likes of Nioh, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, when I was perplexed about defeating a boss, there really was only a single choice - learn his attacks. It's either not possible to respec or very inconvenient. Thankfully, Code Vein is having none of that and lets the player tinker with the build at any moment, free of charge. At first, this system may seem convoluted, complicated, hard to grasp. But have no fear, your friendly neighbourhood slav is here.

At the heart of it all lie blood codes, Code Vein's quasi classes. You obtain them from bosses, companions or in the wild. What makes them unique is the customization freedom they offer and their fixed stats. Strength, dexterity, etc., all are more or less set in stone. The only way to boost them is by using certain passive abilities. But you'll spend your time mostly buying new abilities with haze, the game's currency. Also, it's used for levelling up, which only improves your health and damage. But that's not all; Almost every ability can be inherited, thus making it usable with any compatible blood code. To inherit one, you have two choices - kill enemies to gain mastery XP or use rare items to skip that grind. But there are restrictions in place, such as having a stat be a certain level, that "decide" what ability you can and can't use with a particular blood code.

Pro Tip: Do not power level. Each area has a level cap. You'll receive an insignificant amount of XP towards mastery if your level is too damn high. So use haze to unlock new abilities and master them. Be smort!

Now, using these fun abilities requires ichor, the game's mana. The cost varies (3,10,20+); the better the ability, the more it demands. And if you think there's some magic ichor recharging bottle, sorry to disappoint: you'll have to sweat for it. There are two ways to regain ichor: the simple way - basic attacks that drain enemy blood and slowly recharge your ichor supply. Or the chad way - backstab/parry enemies, giving you a large quantity of ichor instantly while simultaniously inflicting massive damage. Plus, this is the only way to increase your max ichor capacity. While this may seem insignificant, ichor capacity varies by blood code; Those more melee-focused (e.g. berserker) have low reserves, unlike their caster brethren. So using those fancy abilities is impossible if thou is not a true chad.

Speaking of blood, each blood veil, or armour in laymen's terms, has a stat that affects your succ. The higher it is, the more blood your enemies volunteer to you. Blood veils can also change your parry animation and are the root for magic scaling, because just like blood codes, they have self-imposed fixed stats, as well. Thus, they impact the buffs for dark and light magic. They also have specific stat requirements that your chosen blood code needs to meet before you can get your swag on.

Class? ✔️
Abilities? ✔️
Ichor? ✔️
Sexy armour? ✔️

Then it's time to show off some mad skillz. For that you have twelve slots; Four for passive and eight for active abilities. The active slots are where the fun is. They have shortcut keys assigned, making using multiple abilities mid-combat super easy, barely an inconvenience. And this was such a breath of fresh air from the endless scrolling of the other souls-like games and made combat so enjoyable. But I've yet to speak about weapons. Some are chunky and slow, others lean and mean. But in the end, they all accomplish the same thing - kill. There is a decent variety in both looks and moveset within a certain weapon category. I personally went with swag over practicality. Looking snappy takes precedent over combat efficiency, always!

And I saved the best for last - the AI companion. Yes, yes, I can already hear your eye rolls. But please consider this - Shut up! Anyway, it's optional, and I likes it. It didn't make the game a cakewalk, but having my waifu watch my back allowed me to adopt a more proactive approach, unlike the more calculated ones in my previous masochistic solo adventures. Plus, now I do the ganking.

However, reckless play will still earn you a trip to the cemetery, especially since locations tend to be tight, restricting your movement. The last area, in particular, will demand your full undivided attention. The bosses felt fair, for the most part. Some I liked; Like the big, fast, aggressive furry. Some I didn't; Like the edgy main baddy. Overall, they were decent and even with a companion by your side, they are no slouches.

But what's the endgame like you ask? Well, it's good, but...not as good as it could have been. The problem mainly lies with armour customization, as there is none. You can only equip a top. I appreciate all the different kinky weapons on offer and the insane freedom the character creator gives you, so it's sad to see such piss poor armour customization. But you can change your character appearance (not gender) at any moment, free of charge. So that's nice, I guess.

And this sense of "what could have been" is also embedded in world design. While locations are diverse, they fail to leave a lasting impression. I still remember climbing out of the depths of the catacombs, only to lay my eyes on the Boreal Valley. But here, that moment of pure awe as you take in the scenery is absent. It's just differently coloured city ruins in various biomes, with spiky things shooting up from the depths. It made exploring dull and didn't satiate my Indiana Jones cravings.

As for the enemies, I really liked their design. There is plenty of diversity and representation, with many demon races finally getting their five minutes of fame. As for the bosses, I really dig their looks. Could it be that my dig was, perhaps, influenced by most bosses having big sweater stretchers? Indubitably.

And lastly, the mini-bosses, or lack thereof. Imagine if Havel from Dark Souls was present in 2/3rds of the game. He wouldn't emit that same aura of absolute chadness, losing his uniqueness and scaled back to a mere common fodder mob thou slaughter. There is no singular enemy that when you spot, you know, good times a' comin'. I saw a big chungus looking demon lady that I thought was a mini-boss until I saw her cousin down the road. Definitely something the sequel should fix.

There you have it folks! Code Vein is awesome. I went in expecting a semi-decent Souls clone with an anime aesthetic slapped on top. But I was wrong. It's far more than a mere clone; It's a stellar ARPG that's more than capable of holding its own against any of the heavy hitters, even surpassing them in certain aspects. So while Sekiro is still top bae, Code Vein is a very close second.

If you enjoy this review, come and read more wisdom from the Gospel of Sv. Prolivije.
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2.7 Hours played
“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning, and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer."
― Joseph Campbell

I will skip the word foreplay and come outright and say it - experience this. You are free to read on, but I highly encourage you to go in blind.

In today's gaming, we are often bombarded with "go here", "do that", "follow me", etc., that we tend to forget being "lost" is not something to loath. It is for this reason I loved Existensis. This concept is intrinsic to both story and gameplay. There is no correct path to take. No wrong/right choice. You are the compass.

The player-controlled character, an artist called Mayor, has but a single goal - find the meaning of life, so his crowning achievement, the tower of life, can be completed. To do that, he must seek out inspiration, and that's where we come in. It's almost as if we are the voice in the back of his head, influencing him, guiding him to new places we find particularly intriguing based on the interactions with many unique and wonderfully written NPCs. Every area has its sage of sorts, with a great being, a thoughtform, awaiting you at the "end" of your journey. Each represents a distinct part of life, and it's within those conversations with them that you learn the meaning of life, well, according to them at least. And it's for this reason I love Joseph Campbell's quote. Each of them offers up an "answer" to this holy grail of questions, yet that is not your answer, and it never will be. You'll take note, reflect on it, and let your beliefs and views shape a new "answer" completely unique to you. 'Tis the only answer we can't copy from a friend.

The scenery is mesmerizing, with each location "bringing to life" a thought. All are unique and covered with absurd amounts of detail. Mind you, everything we see is hand-drawn by a single person. Just astounding. I hope, nay, pray, that we get ultrawide support. I always find it a bit sad to see those black bars on games this beautiful. The soundtrack is sublime, fitting well within the theme of each location. Again, all done by the developer. There are two scores I found particularly majestic. The first one was in Tambore, the party capital of Eré. I like to dance, and this one had that perfect upbeat tone I love. But the second one is the one I would consider my favourite. Given the context of when it plays and its overall tone, it's exceptional. It came really close to topping Unagi from Gris as my favourite score of all time. I guess I am just a sucker for a damn good violin track.

There is no controller support yet, with only Steam Controller working. As for the gameplay, well, it's pretty basic, "non-existent", if you will. Jump, move left, right, interact with "stuff". But it was never meant to be anything more than a means to allow you to explore this unique and puzzling world. There is no death, no enemies to beat. Existensis is a relaxing, thought-provoking, beautifully hand-drawn and composed, introspective (if you let it) journey.

Ozzie Sneddon, I wish you the best in your future endeavours, and thank you for providing our group, Reviewers Paradise, with a complimentary ticket to this wonderful one of a kind journey.

I hope to see more from you, and if it's anything like Existensis, I can't wait to play it as well (and hope you bring The Müll Littoral to Steam at some point).

If you enjoyed this review, come and read more wisdom from the Gospel of Sv. Prolivije.
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Big bosses are easily the best part of Code Vein
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Sv. Prolivije Aug 2 @ 8:36pm 
no :(
Caramel Frappe Aug 2 @ 5:35pm 
Meyzmo Jun 12 @ 4:29pm 
If you see this comment in your profile, know that you are a close person to my :r_heart: I wish you a :k8happy: weekend full of health :BlStar: and wealth :hc_coin: God bless you :2019clover:
Meyzmo Jun 12 @ 4:29pm 
lovenliberty May 16 @ 10:00am 
Love your reviews! :steamhappy::goldup:
Sv. Prolivije Apr 20 @ 4:24pm 
@Gray Fox :cozywolfmedalion: Thank you Geraldo