Last updated on October 9th, 2019
So you’re new to Code Vein, and while you can hack enemies with your weapon, you don’t quite understand all the nuances of the game? This Guide is designed just for you, to show you the ropes so that you can seem like a pro, even if you are not. It makes no difference if you are a Soulsborne veteran, or brand new to hardcore ARPGs, you will find something useful here.
Code Vein Getting Started Guide
The first thing to take in, is that Code Vein does not play “just like Souls”. While Souls has arguably a more polished combat system, Code Vein has more complexity because of the addition of Blood Codes and Gifts. This allows the player to swap their Build on the fly, meaning that they can be a “warrior” one minute and a spell caster the next if they so choose. In addition, Gifts allow players to pull off more extraordinary feats while in combat, things you would never see in a Souls game. Let’s begin with these, as they are the backbone of what separates Code Vein from the games it is so clearly inspired by.
Gifts, What Are They?
Gifts in Code Vein are passive and active abilities that the player can use to supplement their combat style. This adds a lot of variety to what players can do, and allows for customization that is deep and rewarding. What combination of Gifts you use, how powerful these are, and what’s the best way to go about it are all things that need some thinking about. There are 3 types of Gifts in Code Vein and these are: Light Gifts, Dark Gifts and Skill Gifts.
Light Gifts are generally buffs that you can apply to yourself or your companion that increase your damage, apply status effects to your attacks, or even prevent you from taking damage. The effectiveness of Light Gifts is increased by your Mind Scaling, so pay attention to this Stat when wishing to use Light Gifts.
Dark Gifts are usually those that deal damage to enemies directly, like spells that deal Fire, Ice or Lightning. Those wishing to play a “Mage” type character will specialize in these, and will pay particular attention to their Willpower Scaling, as this effects the damage these Gifts will deal.
Skill Gifts are generally some form of Weapon-based attacks, that don’t benefit from Willpower or Mind Scaling, but rather increase in damage based on the Weapon you are using, and the Scaling Stats of that Weapon. Those wishing to play a melee type character will look to use these Gifts.
Ichor, How It’s Used, and How to Get More
All Gifts in Code Vein require varying amounts of Ichor in order to use them. Ichor is for all intents and purposes, your “energy” or “mana” that you use to “cast” your Gifts. At any time you can only carry a certain amount of it which is determined by your Blood Code. Blood Codes, like the Caster Blood Code, allow you to hold much more Ichor at a time, thus allowing you to use more Gifts after each rest at Mistle. You can see the amount of Ichor you currently possess, and the maximum amount you can possess on the lower right-hand side of the screen.
These numbers may change through out your adventure because Parrying, Backstabbing and using a “Drain Attack” will not only net you a good amount of Ichor, using these attacks will also increase your maximum Ichor as well. This means that if you plan to use Gifts often, you want to focus on these types of attacks in order to keep gaining Ichor, so that you can keep casting. However, the maximum Ichor cap raise that you get from doing these is only temporary and will be reset whenever you rest at a Mistle. You may not want to rest if you have increased your maximum Ichor substantially, as having a higher “spell casting” capacity may really help out in Boss fights.
You will also gain Ichor from attacking and blocking, and this serves as a way to allow multiple play styles to still use Gifts. You won’t raise your max Ichor this way, but it does put in damage into your target, so it is a perfectly valid way to gain Ichor. Keep in mind that once your Ichor is full, you can’t gain anymore, so be sure to spend Ichor if you are at your max cap so that you don’t stop gaining any with your attacks. Light Gifts are generally a good way to spend Ichor if you don’t find you are using Gifts much.
Drain Rating & Drain Attacks
Drain Rating serves as a way to measure how much Ichor you will gain from attacking, blocking, parrying, backstabbing and from using Drain Attacks. The higher your Drain Rating the more Ichor you will gain from doing these things, and since Dexterity Scaling affects Drain Rating, you’ll want to pay attention to this Stat.
Different Weapons have different Drain Ratings, as do different Blood Veils. Be sure you select one that matches the amount of Gifts you plan to use for best results. If you don’t find you use many, it may be better to use a Blood Veil that increases your damage scaling rather than Drain Rating, or vice versa.
Drain Attacks are performed by pressing and holding “B” or “O” and releasing after a couple of seconds. This attack damages your enemy, and drastically increases both your current Ichor and max Ichor, so it’s wise to use it when you know you can do so safely at least once after every rest at a Mistle. You can even combo this into your regular attacks by pressing RB + B or RB + O mid attack chain. It can be difficult to pull off, but it’s worth noting. Additionally, you can pull off a special Drain Attack when you are Focused by pressing RB +Y or RB + Triangle.
Focus & Why It’s Good
Players will fill their Focus Gauge as they get hit or dodge enemy attacks in combat, and will glow blue once they become Focused. When Focused, you are harder to stagger and there are many Gifts in the game that benefit being in this state. Some extend its duration, while others increase your damage or reduce the damage you take while Focused.
Ideally you would want to achieve this state via dodging, since you take no damage this way, but if you make a “tanky” character, you might not take too much damage from hits, and so that may better suit your playstyle. Using your Drain Attack while in this state is optimal because it incapacitates the enemy nearly instantly, and doesn’t have the long wind up that Drain Attack normally has. Additionally with the right Blood Veil and Blood Code, this attack can hit quite hard.
Blood Codes & How To Choose One
Blood Code for all intents and purposes are the Classes of Code Vein. These can be changed at will, at any time, and drastically alter the Stat Scaling of your character, which in turn changes which attacks and Gifts are more effective. They also change your Mobility, max Ichor, and have a huge impact on what Weapons and Blood Veils you’ll be able to use successfully. While some of them are pretty straightforward, there are some “hybrid” Blood Codes that allow for a mix of two traditional archetypes.
To decide which to use you need to figure out how you like to play, or what you’d like to test out. If you want to play a “warrior type” then Fighter, Berserker and Atlas are all good choices. If you want to play a “mage type” then Caster, Hunter, Dark Knight and Artemis are all great choices. If you want to play a “rogue type” then Ranger, Fighter, Mercury, Dark Knight and Assassin are all excellent. And if you wish to play a “ranger type” then Ranger, Hunter, and Artemis are all great options.
These are not all the Blood Codes, but ones you will find rather early on. When selecting between the ones under each archetype, it’s going to come down to just exactly how you play and which Gifts you use. This is sort of like choosing your “subclass” within your archetype, and refining exactly what it is you specialize in. When you really dive into it, there is a lot of depth here, and Builds will indeed be a thing in this game (so prepare for many many Build Guides!)
This information should give you a general concept of how to play more effectively, regardless of whether you are new to the game, or if you’ve played one of the many Betas. Some of this is common knowledge, while some of it can be hard to decipher at first glance. I hope it’s helped you, even if in some small way. Now, get out there and destroy the Lost before they consume you!