Sunday Bits

TODAY: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is shaping up to be one of the best games in the series, and we've had an early look before it releases in Jan 2020 - This week's Getting Started Guide is for Code Vein, a Dark Souls-inspired Action RPG that features anime and vampires!

Game Spotlight

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot brings something new to the table

Bandai Namco are known for their incredible output when it comes to anime fighters, specifically Dragon Ball games which have been coming out almost annually at this point. Recently Bandai has made an effort to try and diversify their Dragon Ball line-up, giving players Dragon Ball FighterZ, one of the best fighting games of the generation. It looks like the Japanese publisher isn’t giving up yet when it comes to pushing the boundaries. Enter Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, the latest anime game that attempts to do something no other DBZ game has done before.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot differs from every other DBZ game released in the past decade by allowing the player to feel part of the Dragon Ball world. Most anime games involve players following the standard story beats as they fight their way through enemies until you eventually take on the big villain. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot wants you to relive Goku’s story right from the beginning. This isn’t a simple case of fighting everyone in order, in this game you essentially play through the anime (at least from what we have seen so far).

Our time spent with the game at Bandai Namco’s offices in London had us going through two sections of the game: exploring the town right before the big fight with Raditz at the beginning of the game, and the climactic fight between SSJ2 Teen Gohan versus Perfect Cell. Both of these sections showcased completely different aspects of the game, giving us a good idea of what to expect from the full release in 2020.

The RPG elements in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot are pretty much what you might expect from any game, except this time they feature a DBZ twist. As Goku, you can fly around the town looking for odd bits to do in order to help out the citizens. These missions vary from Goku having to beat up some thugs, to searching a specific area in order to find a unique item. As this is an RPG, you do have a leveling system that you'll need to stay on top of in order to defeat some of the bigger enemies. Completing these side quests will award you the experience points needed to level up, allowing you to increase the size of your health bar and deal more damage.

This game is for the most hardcore DBZ fans

Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the game will be spent in fights, and this is where Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot really shines. CyberConnect2, the team that worked on the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series, are leading the charge with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. The Ultimate Ninja Storm series is known primarily for its combat as the fights are made to feel like a playable anime battle. The developers took the same approach for the Naruto games and have brought that to DBZ, making each fight feel as epic as they did in the anime. The combat is similar to that seen in the Dragon Ball Xenoverse games, except every attack feels like it lands with much more of an impact than before. This heavy-hitting action is exactly what we want to see in a DBZ game, it’s not only very fun to play but it also looks incredible too.

As the second mission highlights, though the game is named after Goku, he isn’t the only character you will get to play as. So far we know you can play as Gohan (both Kid and Teen versions), Vegeta, Piccolo and Future Trunks. The game takes place throughout every DBZ saga, starting with Raditz and ending with Kid Buu. In the two gameplay sections we got to play, the Goku vs Raditz fight happened at level four, whereas the Gohan vs Cell fight was at level forty. This would suggest the Buu saga ends at around level one hundred.

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Never before have fans had the chance to relive the hilarious filler episode of DBZ where Goku and Piccolo get their driver’s license. It’s clear to see that the developers working on this are huge fans of the series, to include a deep cut like this (and presumably many more) is something only the most hardcore DBZ fans will appreciate. We know the developers have included more obscure callbacks like this, including Vegeta wearing his ‘BADMAN’ pink shirt from Bulma.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is shaping up to be one of the most unique DBZ games of all time, and we cannot wait to get our hands on it. Fortunately, the wait isn’t that long as Bandai Namco has confirmed the game is set to release on January 16th 2020 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Getting Started Guide

Code Vein

Wait, didn’t we just have a Dark Souls-like game? That’s right, The Surge 2 and Code Vein - both distinctly Dark Souls-inspired titles - arrived in the space of a week. Do these publishers even have calendars?

Regardless, both are equally fun and valid games. Whereas The Surge 2 is more gritty robot-suit sci-fi, Code Vein has anime, vampires, and more of a focus on character and story. Which is better? There’s only one way to find out… try them for yourself! Don’t worry though, we’re here to help you off. Let’s get started in Code Vein!

1. Practice the combat

The core of any Souls-like game is its combat, so you need to git gud at it as quickly as you can. In particular you’ll need to get used to the controls - light attack, heavy attack, block, and dodge especially. The good news is that Code Vein has a full training area to help you get used to all of these, including the game’s own additions - such as the Drain Attack to get extra Ichor for special abilities, and those special abilities too of course!

2. If in doubt, run away - or rely on companions!

Look, we get it - Souls-like games are tough. You’re not going to have the upper hand in every encounter - in fact, you probably won’t in any encounter. You’ll have to be sneaky, slinky, and if all else fails - cowardly. If a battle isn’t going your way, feel free to run for it. Alternatively, the cool thing about Code Vein is you can have a companion character! Distract the enemy and let your friend do your killing for you!

3. Explore everywhere, destroy everything

Code Vein is a very sneaky game. If it was just a straight path with an enemy or two and useful items in your way, it’d be easy - so it doesn’t do that. Remember that scene in Jurassic Park with the one Raptor on distraction duties while his friends close in from the sides? Enemies in Code Vein do that. They hide round corners, behind boxes, and they even play dead. Furthermore, useful items and helpful shortcuts can be hidden anywhere. If in doubt, bash everything!

4. Experiment with Blood Codes

The main thing that separates Code Vein from other Souls-alikes is its introduction of Blood Codes. These are essentially RPG-like character classes, although there are multiple different ones with different attributes - some are better at melee combat, some have long-range attacks, some have high health, some make better use of Gift abilities, etc. The cool thing is - you can swap these at any time! If you’re struggling with one, or wish you could attack well and fire spells, there’s probably a Code you can equip to make things better! Try them out!

5. Don’t neglect Home Base

Also unusually for a Souls-style game, you have a hub area where you can have a bit of downtime! Chat with the other characters, put your feet up, have a rest, change your appearance, and even enjoy a hot steamy bath. Additionally, you can trade valuables to characters to unlock useful items, and upgrade your weapons and armour/Blood Veils here. Even that Hot Spring is useful - if you’ve lost your Haze by dying, you can go there to get half of it back immediately - and get a steam, too.

6. Treat bosses like any other enemy

Bosses, at first, seem incredibly intimidating. They’re often gigantic foes, towering above you, with attacks that can take all your health away. What you have to believe is - they are just another enemy. Deal with them as you do any other - stay away, dodge their attacks, work out what they’re going to do next, and identify moments of vulnerability. Oh yes - if in doubt, fire missiles at them from afar and let your companion do the dirty work!

This is all you need to get started in Code Vein. It’ll take a lot more to master the game, but keep at it and you shouldn’t have too much trouble - well, at least as much trouble as Dark Souls...

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