- Total Score - 6/106/10
If you are looking for a game that brings you back to a simpler generation of games, or you want to be a Werewolf for a few hours, this game is absolutely made for you.
Developer – Cyanide
Publisher – Nacon, Bigben Interactive
Platform – PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood tells the story of Cahal. A werewolf who set out to stop the energy corporation Endron. Endron’s goal is to unleash the spirit of the Wyrm to destroy the spirit of Gaia. In order to stop Endron, Cahal fights his enemies using hack and slash tactics with a dose of stealth. Of course, the mission goes horribly wrong, as they always do, and Cahal must now get revenge.
The game begins with a small central hub in a forest near the Endron corporate buildings. This base is where you interact with the members and spirits of your Caern. As you progress through the story, more paths open and lead to other buildings and areas of Endron. The main base isn’t very large and can be traversed within a minute or two to get to each level. Think of Mario 64 as he travels the castle to jump into paintings. Cahal can go down a road and enter a building which is the next level. This provides a break from the combat and provides moments where you can learn more lore. He can converse with characters to learn about the current situation and gather collectibles such as spirit energy.
As Cahal travels to the different areas of the main map, you enter individual levels of the game. The types of levels you will explore are a dam, the corporate headquarters, a mine, and others. Once you enter the new zone, the gameplay loop becomes fairly linear. Cahal enters a room, from here you choose either stealth or combat. He then accesses a terminal that opens the next door, and he enters the next room. Rinse and repeat. In between the rooms, as you walk through hallways there is dialogue that helps progress the story.
The sad thing is, the stealth gameplay can leave a lot to be desired. This becomes especially noticeable as you get further into the game. In the beginning, you can take down most enemies from stealth and sneak through air ducts and play fairly passively. Eventually, Cahal comes across few types of enemies that can’t be killed with stealth. This leads to just unleashing your werewolf form and killing everyone in the room. Stealth ends up just being a way to minimize the number of troops you have to fight. Another note is while you are in stealth, you can sabotage reinforcement points. This lowers the starting health of the waves of enemies that reinforce each room during combat.
Eventually, I left the stealth life behind, and the game began to really shine. Playing as the werewolf is so much more fun and very effective. Upon entering a room,you can immediately press the enrage button. You suddenly burst from your skin and launch a bloody assault on the unsuspecting enemies. Additionally, there are two combat stances, Agile and Heavy. The agile stance allows you to quickly dodge while attacking groups of enemies, eviscerating them in no time at all. The heavy stance is for attacking the strong defensive enemies, such as shield barring security and soldiers using EXO armor.
As a werewolf, you slowly build a frenzy meter while killing everything in your path. Once filled, this allows you to become a super Werewolf where you obliterate everyone without concern for civilian or soldier. In the story, this is a negative and actually causes a lot of issues for you and your Caern. However, gameplay wise, there are no negatives to using the frenzy mode. It’s strange considering they spent so much time explaining why giving into your rage is such a bad thing.
Another weird aspect of the game is that it’s supposedly as an action role-playing game. Werewolf is based on a tabletop RPG, however it seems that they bailed on any RPG elements in the game. For me this seems like a huge missed opportunity. Cahal can gather spirit energy by completing side missions, releasing spirits, and killing groups of enemies. When he gathers enough energy, he gains a skill point. Skill points are for acquiring talents from the skill tree. These provide passive abilities and more moves for the werewolf form. Sadly, this is the extent of customizing yourself. It would have made more sense to market it as a hack and slash adventure game instead of an RPG.
Graphically, the game is hit and miss. In-game cinematics are grainy and low resolution, however the opening cinematic is very well done. Cahal’s textures and design is pretty solid, and everyone else is fairly minimal and bland. It’s a weird to see how well the game can be done, while reminding you that they didn’t hit that mark for everything. Performance wise, the game ran smoothly on the PS5 but there was audio stuttering during the game’s cut scenes. Gladly, I did not experience any gameplay glitches or bugs during my play through.
Unfortunately, by the end of the 10 hour story, I found myself getting a bit tired of the gameplay loop. I felt like the game didn’t do enough to vary the game in terms of combat or even enemy variation. However, the final level of the game provides a few boss fights that are fun. As the story continues, you have a few dialogue choices which really don’t make an impact on the game. At the end, you have a choice between how you want to end the game. This definitely another missed opportunity. Why have the dialogue options if the only dialogue choice that matters is the last one? This ultimately provides no consequences to your few choices in the game.
My overall feelings towards Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is that it is just a bit long in the tooth. It reminds me of older games that I enjoyed on PS2 and PS3 that have mostly disappeared from gaming. If you are looking for a new game that would have been amazing on the PS3, or you want to be a Werewolf for a few hours, this game is absolutely made for you.
“Editors Note from David R”
The PC version runs fantastic, and provided no issues and was a pleasant experience. It’s optimized, and as a throwback to an older style of game, I did find some fun in it’s brand of action.