Code Vein vs. The Surge 2 thumbnail

Code Vein vs. The Surge 2

Which is the better Souls-like?

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Versus on

There are a lot of Dark Souls inspired action RPGs out there so let's take a look at 2 recent ones and see which game has more soul.

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Screenshots of Code Vein and The Surge 2
Dark fantasy or sci-fi; take your pick!

Code Vein

First up, we have Code Vein from Bandai Namco. Whereas a lot of Souls-like games aim to create their own iteration of FromSoftware's worlds, Code Vein is heavily inspired by anime from its character models to its dramatic special move animations. On a visual level, this certainly sets it apart from the crowd although it's still a dark fantasy. That being said, the fact that it's set in a post-apocalyptic world is rather distinct. Speaking of which, I absolutely loved the environments in Code Vein which really went above and beyond to maintain a realistic-feeling haunting atmosphere from start to finish. The cast of characters is pretty memorable, too. v1d30chumz 34-239-154-240

When it comes to gameplay, Code Vein is much more action-oriented than most games in the genre. On one hand, it's satisfying to tear through hordes of enemies but on the other, I personally prefer intimate battles with regular enemies which are challenging enough that you can perish easily by merely traversing the stages. I never felt that way while playing Code Vein as the only substantial hurdle to overcome are its boss fights. On the plus side, there's a ton of rewarding character customization options. Even though most of them are generally superficial, it's fantastic to be able to have so much control over your character's abilities and appearance.

Code Vein Review
Code Vein screenshot
The bosses in Code Vein are pretty creepy...

The Surge 2

Here we have a promising competitor: The Surge 2. When I first started playing it, I was put off as I hated the tedious introductory area. However, after pouring hours into the actual campaign, it started to grow on me to the point where I was having a very good time with it. Just like Code Vein, The Surge 2 has a post-apocalyptic setting although it features a sci-fi aesthetic as opposed to a fantasy one. The world is inhabited by human / machine hybrids and watching them battle each other is brutal and super-violent complete with beheadings and dismemberments. It's definitely gruesome stuff so if you have a weak stomach, play Code Vein instead.

Anyway, customizing your character isn't as open-ended as it is in Code Vein but the combat and exploration is where The Surge 2 really shines. For starters, battling regular enemies always feels like a fight to the death, especially when you enter a new area and the combat itself is tight, challenging, and will keep you on edge. Next, exploring the intricately complex environments is a treat as you discover tons of shortcuts and secret areas that usually contain very handy items and equipment. Watching your character grow and evolve throughout the campaign is extremely rewarding although its gameplay loop eventually becomes somewhat tedious.

The Surge 2 Review
The Surge 2 screenshot
Fighting regular enemies in The Surge 2 is quite a rush!

These 2 Souls-like ARPGs are surprisingly different but I have to pick an overall winner and I'm going to choose...

Winner The Surge 2

I enjoyed my time with both Code Vein and The Surge 2 but as someone who prefers a steeper challenge, intricate game worlds, and brutal combat, The Surge 2 is the clear winner for me. With that in mind, if you want a more action-packed experience and have an affinity for anime characters then you'll probably enjoy Code Vein more. As a result, it all comes down to your own personal taste because both of these games are very solid Souls-likes, that's for sure.

That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!

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Gameplay video playlist for Code Vein vs. The Surge 2
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