You get to live out your overpowered werewolf fantasy
Mindless button smashing fun
Outdated, low-res graphics
Terrible voice acting and stiff facial animations
Stealth mode feels pointless
Not worth the full price for a game that never reached its full potential
Howl Me A River
When I first saw the trailer for Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, I was excited. Granted, it was cryptic and I had zero clue about what’s going on but the graphics were impressive. If the rest of the game was anything like the trailer, I knew I’d be in for a visual treat.
Unfortunately, the real deal is anything but.
I’m not surprised if someone mistakes it for a PS3 game. Low quality environment textures and dull character models with their thousand-yard stare and stiff facial animations do little but reveal how outdated the game looks. While not pretty, especially on a 4K screen, the low resolution graphics would at least do well to ensure a high frame rate.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is the latest entry based on the World of Darkness tabletop RPGs. And while there’s no doubt that the World of Darkness is overflowing with interesting, established lore, not much of that comes through in the game. Expect a lot of World of Darkness jargon to be dropped with little context, which inevitably leaves the uninitiated to flounder rather often.
It doesn’t help that the plot of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is painfully simple and predictable. You play as Cahal, an eco-terrorist and a Garou (basically, werewolf shapeshifters who guard Gaia, the Goddess of all living things). Cahal and his allies go up against the energy corporation Endron, which is controlled by an evil entity called the Wrym, who seeks to corrupt humans.
In short, It’s your typical, run-of-the-mill conflict between smaller individuals and big bad corporations.
Cahal’s story has a few emotional beats, but that gets quickly overshadowed by bad voice acting and banal dialogue. It’s hard to care about Cahal or any other character for that matter, when they have the charisma of a wooden block and an emotional range of a teaspoon.
A Howl-ing Good Time
Luckily, Cahal can really kick ass.
Cahal’s Crinos (werewolf) form is pretty OP from the start, allowing you to jump immediately into unleashing maximum carnage on your enemies. As you take down enemies, your rage bar fills up, which can be depleted for healing or powerful moves. You can unlock more moves via Cahal’s skill tree, but it’s so sadly lacking that I barely gave it another glance.
Enemies mostly consist of your generic foot soldiers, with the exception of some Endron soldiers that use silver bullets and mechs. Silver bullets can reduce Cahal’s maximum health which makes fights involving these soldiers a tad more tricky, but nowhere near challenging. Even taking boss fights into consideration, combat in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood doesn’t rise above mindless button mashing.
Smashing is Fun, Stealth is Boring
Though it can be fun leaving trails of destruction in your wake as an overpowered werewolf, the same could not be said if you chose the stealth option.
Cahal begins most missions in stealth mode, where he can switch between his human and wolf forms. The former is able to sabotage enemies-spawning doors, sneak up behind enemies for stealth takedown and use a crossbow to shoot cameras. While the latter can move faster, travel through vents and bark to attract enemies. You can use any combination of the above moves to sneak past enemies.
Unfortunately, the braindead enemy AI can rob you of any feelings of accomplishment in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood. Sometimes they can spot Cahal behind cover, but they can’t seem to see Cahal once he’s walked through an open doorway. Cahal could stand in the doorway and bark for their attention, while they converge on his location, clueless and unseeing, even though the door is wide open.
After a few tedious attempts at stealth, I found myself wondering why I even bothered, when lashing out in Cahal’s Crinos form is so much more satisfying. Putting aside the janky animations and poor ragdoll physics, there’s still brainless fun to be had in wreaking havoc as a werewolf.
Fur What It’s Worth
If you’re looking to live out your rampaging werewolf fantasy, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood can give you that. Sadly, the adrenaline rush doesn’t last long as the 8-hour long campaign quickly becomes repetitive with every mission a mere copy-paste of the first.
Unimpressive PS3-era graphics, dumber-than-rocks AI, lacklustre story and an even duller main character make it a wholly mediocre game that’s hard to recommend at the full retail price.