“Anime Souls”. This sums up pretty much everyone’s thought when a trailer for the game “Code Vein” appeared at E3 2017. Basically Dark Souls with an anime artstyle. However, I wondered if the trailers might reveal something that makes the game stand out, so I decided to dissect a gameplay demo and analyze a bit, how the combat in Code Vein works.
The video I’ll use as a reference here, is going to be the following.
All timestamps I make following this are reffering to this video unless I mention otherwise.
First Encounter: 0:00 – 0:35
Now let’s jump right into the first encounter at 0:20 seconds and you should directly notice that the player backs off and waits for the enemy to do the first attack.
This is basically the first of many indicators of one obvious thing, your attacks are full commitment. That simply means, when you initiate your attack, the attack gets fully executed, no matter what buttons you press. This makes attacking in the first place, a risky move.
At 0:30, the player takes action and attacks himself. The enemy staggers after the first attack, is unaffected by the second strike, affected again by the third, and unaffected again by the fourth, before the Player rolls away.
It seems the standard superarmor (enemy does not staggered by player hits) for this enemy seems pretty low. The only reason why the player would roll away here is because of a Stamina system, where each and every combat action of yours drains stamina. The player backs up to recover said stamina.
One last thing before we move on to the next scene, at 0:27 we see that dodging gives you invincibility frames.
So far, standard stuff, also to note is how the combat is grounded, no jump abilities.
Second Encounter: 0:36 – 0:56
The enemy looks a bit different here. I assume it is a stronger type version (aka more health and eventually more damage) of the enemy before.
The first thing that sticks out to me, is the enemy attack combo. It’s a 3 hit combo, but there is a gap in-between each of them. I would need some kind of framedata for this one, but I believe that this specific combo is build against people who spam dodge. Catching enemies in the recovery of the second roll. This also means that a direct succession of dodges does not grant you full invincibility over that time, during the recovery of that dodge, you are exposed to enemy attacks.
Another thing that stood out to me happens at 0:41. The player character winds up a, what I assume is a heavy attack, and then the attack itself carries to player towards the enemy. Or in other words, this attack covers quite the distance forward… and ideal case to use for an eventual Counterhit system, where you catch an opponent during his recover animation, causing a guaranteed stagger , which the player can profit on. Though in that particular case, I believe this isn’t present.
The player hits 2 strikes after that attack and at 0:43 he rolls back and follows up with a stinger attack that directly connects, as it covers quite the distance as well.
I believe the player character in Code Vein is quite more agile than in Dark Souls. There is not a single attack in Dark Souls, that directly covers the distance again you just traveled with the dodge, if you hit an enemy after a dodge, it is because you either side-dodged or the enemy approaches you after you roll away, not to mention there is a special attack you perform when you attack right after a dodge in Dark Souls, usually pinning you on the spot.
However, this makes me wonder what the input for this Stinger is. After all, light and heavy attack are (by my theory) already mapped, so this one is eventually performed by pressing forward and light attack? It is a pretty quick attack, the player dodges away almost immediately after the attack, so I assume it is a directional light attack. In other words, Lock-On exists as well, though that is obvious when you look at how the character moves around the enemy.
0:49, the heavy attack happens again, and the enemy dies.
Third Encounter: 0:55 – 1:50
Almost a minute long, the third encounter doesn’t reveal a lot except for a new weapon. This weapon seems to have quite the range but it lacks the mobility of the weapon before.. mostly
At 1:38 the player character plunges forward with an attack, gets a clear hit, but receives damage as well. The enemy animation has not been interrupted here. At 1:42 you see both hits staggering the enemy, so this leads me to the conclusion, that enemies have raised superarmor during startup and execution of an attack, but are exposed in the recovery animation.
Last Encounter: 1:50 – 2:00
The player character dies.
And that’s pretty much it. It is here to note though, how the death animation starts after the stagger from the last hit… Either the player was poisoned or this isn’t finished yet…
Overall, the gameplay shown is pretty barebones… the combat right now looks like the most basic Dark Souls Melee combat: Grounded (No Jump), full committed attacks, Stamina System, Superarmor System.
The only element from the gameplay itself shown in that video that stands out, is the mobility shown in the Second Encounter, leading me to believe that your character is more agile than in a Dark Souls game, for example.
However, one thing in that Gameplay Demo is something I still need to point. It’s not part of the Gameplay Demo itself but more of that of the trailer that follows afterwards.
At 2:53, the player character performs an attack that grabs the enemy and seems to absorb him (this is shown in other trailers to full extent). I wonder how that will be implemented into gameplay. My first assumption would be a system similar to God Eater, where absorbing an enemy causes the player to temporarily have better mobility and specific effects depending on your equipment, but that is just theory at the moment. Though it is highly likely, since the team of God Eater works on Code Vein, so let’s wait and see.
You personally hoped I could get a bit more out of this analysis, some hidden things I wouldn’t otherwise see. But other than the most basic and obvious stuff, I wasn’t able to identify anything more than that.
This article is kind of a filler, I’ll eventually do a full combat analysis for the game if it comes out and turns out to be decent, I have honestly no idea how to place my expectations on the game based on what was shown. I also have another big blogpost in the works, which features a concept for a combat system by myself.. look forward to that.
See-ya, Bye Bye then!
MrEinFan aka Chris