The Da Vinci Code is an action-adventure/puzzle game played from a third-person perspective. The aim of the game, as with both the book and the film, is to locate the Holy Grail. To achieve this goal, the player must gather clues, solve puzzles, and successfully evade or defeat enemies.
Players control both Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu. Who the player controls during any given level is pre-determined; the player has no choice as to which character to use at any given time in the game. The differences between the two characters are purely for narrative purposes; in terms of gameplay, both characters have the same speed, strength, and abilities can use the same items and share an inventory.
The majority of the gameplay involves one of three aspects; searching, melee combat, and puzzles. When searching locations, the player moves the characters around in a 3D environment viewed from a third-person perspective. When an object or location which can be examined more closely is found, the game switches to the first-person mode, and the player can investigate in more detail. At this time, clues can be discovered on the object, or more specific objects can be found within the location.
Melee combat is split into two phases. In the first phase, the player approaches an enemy and attempts to punch them, as with most beat ’em up games. If the player successfully hits the enemy, the game enters attack mode. If the player misses and is instead attacked themselves, the game enters defense mode. Both modes are identical insofar as the player must enter a sequence of button presses before the timer runs out. If they do so correctly, they will successfully attack or block the enemy. If they run out of time or press the wrong buttons, they will be attacked or blocked themselves. Players can also push enemies away and attempt to flee from combat, and they can attempt to avoid combat altogether by sneaking up behind enemies and knocking them out.