Bandai Namco’s latest release, Code Vein, is a great title for fans of the action-RPG genre. However, for those that may not be very experienced with titles such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne, it’s an incredibly brutal endeavor. In my case, the game is tough as nails due to the fact that I’m just not that great. Yet, there was still plenty to offer to help justify my playthrough. First and foremost, the game has a deep and expansive character creation system that is sure to keep you occupied. There are 32 character presets that can be selected while also having the ability to tinker with them. Changing various hairstyles grows to be quite addicting. Personally, I never enjoy character creation much but how it’s presented here feels different. The way that the system is set up feels more personalized yet so simple. There aren’t too many tiny details like nose length or meticulous eyebrow positioning. It was all easily accessible. On the topic of personalization, the characters made were able to truly come to life thanks to variable outfits. Players can select from a number of different styles and accessories. This is how the creation system truly begins to shine. I was able to turn characters into different personalities that I saw fit. Especially when trying to replicate famous characters from different franchises. There are loads of character save slots too, so making new ones doesn’t mean overwriting previous ones. However, this is where trouble starts to stir for players that are atrocious at the game, like me. Characters can only be switched once the first boss is defeated. To me shock (not really) the boss is incredibly hard, so making the character tends to be more rewarding than actually seeing it in action. Now to address its difficulty. Okay, look, I’m not horrible when it comes to this genre. I was able to get through a decent amount of Dark Souls 3 until I decided I hated replaying the same section over and over again. In fact, Dark Souls 3 has some of the best level design I’ve ever seen in a game, period. That being said, Code Vein positioned itself as being an “anime Dark Souls” of sorts, which is kind of true. The same combat style and difficulty is present, yet it feels a bit different. Enemies feel overpowering here moreso than in other titles in the “Soulsborne” genre. I found myself becoming frustrated incredibly often when tackling various sections, whereas in From Software’s titles, that wasn’t so much the case. Enemy placement in this title is just flat out ridiculous at times. There was often no correct strategy to even finish sections. I would turn one corner and there would be a giant enemy, then I’d go down a different path and there’d be two enemies, or I would just run past them only to be shot down by archers. It just felt unfair for the sake of being unfair. Others in the genre would at least make me feel as if I stood a chance or that I had the ability to complete an area. In this title, though, that just wasn’t the case. I know that many are probably just thinking, “Wow, can’t this scrub just git gud?” Well, I did try and for a fair amount of time. It took quite a bit of time but I was able to get to the game’s first boss. And boy, did it kick my ass. The saving grace is that you can play online and summon other players, which isn’t a new genre-defying feature since it’s been seen before but it gives some leeway. After getting utterly demolished time and time again, I could call in some backup. This helps make the game easier and a bit more accessible for those that may need it. Who am I kidding though? Bandai Namco’s Code Vein isn’t a game made for the faint of heart. If you find From Software’s titles a bit too easy then this is a step in the right direction. There are ways that make this enjoyable for someone who isn’t that great at this genre, however this isn’t the target audience. If you struggle with these types of games, then why are you even thinking about it? If you do want a challenge, on the other hand, this is a solid choice. With its difficulty level and deep character customization, there is a lot of fun to be had, although it can be overtly tough at times.