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The latest game from Namco Bandai owes a lot to Dark Souls. While every game seems to be appeared to FromSoft's challenging RPG, Code Vein does fit the description. Despite its anime stylings, you're playing an undead creature fighting through loads of tough enemies in search of bonfire-like checkpoints. It's more than a broad strokes copy of Dark Souls, but anyone who's played a game in the series will recognise the cribbing. And while it may not be the source of all these game systems and mechanics, Code Vein is already more popular on PC than Dark Souls ever was.
Since it launched, Code Vein has been high up on the Steam most-played charts. Its current peak concurrent players is 33,895. The original Dark Souls, meanwhile, had an all-time peak of 11,248 and the remastered edition did better, reaching 24,505 players - though that's still nearly 10,000 short of Code Vein. Dark Souls 2, only ever managed 12,051. However, for Dark Souls defenders out there, be safe in the knowledge that Dark Souls 3 still holds the record with a peak of 129,831 players.
The main takeaway from all this, though, is that the Dark Souls games, despite their fame, have just never been all that popular on PC. Their player base lives on the consoles.
James reviewed Code Vein for us last week, and he's a big fan of the schlocky hand and slash fun. I've played a few hours, too, and there is a real joy to the straightforward carving up of demons while simultaneously looking like I just walked off the set of a teen anime drama. Though, I do wish it was more like the original teaser trailer. That game looked awesome, and what it became doesn't much resemble that initial video:
As publisher of both Dark Souls and Code Vein, the real winner here is Namco Bandai.