My time with Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood was filled with some ups and downs. For starters, the game has an interesting concept. One which is quite rare in gaming. You get three forms to alter around in the game. The human “Homid” form where Cahal can walk around in his skin, sneak, take out enemies from the shadows and use his crossbow to damage cameras and one-shot enemies. There’s the wolf “lupus” form which sees Cahal turn into an agile wolf which can run across areas, crawl through vents and leap up boundaries. Lastly, there’s the werewolf “Crinos” form which is all about brutality. The werewolf tears apart enemies and machines and can perform different combos and abilities throughout the game.
For the most part, the form system is great and is most likely the only thing that kept me going through the game’s dull story. You see, while Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood may be releasing in 2021, it plays like a PS2 game. The story drags on and its overdramatic characters and arcs often fall flat. The dialogue and voice acting are horrendous and the animations outside of combat are clunky and robotic. Most of the time, this can be overlooked thanks to the great sneaking and visceral combat which I experienced outside of the chatting and cinematics. Unfortunately, the game’s repetitive nature makes it hard to continue when you basically keep doing the same thing over and over again in every quest.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has a fascinating world it is set in. The werewolves act as defenders of Gaia in a modern world where an evil corporation called Endron seeks to drain all the purity out of the world. Their giant factories have replaced the once-thriving forests and their new bio-energy, which is promised to be green and healthy, is far from it. After an hour or so, I kinda understood what was going on and the general premise makes for a fascinating angle on the whole “climate change topic.” Cahal is the main character in the game and through some rather devastating events at the start of the story, is exiled but quickly returns back to his clan.
A lot happens very quickly in the game and often the whole plot feels all over the place. Not to mention the characters are annoying and come across extremely cliche. The irritating teenage daughter has her typical mood swings. The clan leader is a bearded hippie that always puts his clan first but of course is too old to defend them. Even Cahal is just meh. He is a one-dimensional angry white male with no depth to his personality whatsoever. Again, this just proves that outside of the game’s actual gameplay, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is just not a fun thing to get through.
We then have the core of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood which comes in the form of its “takedown Endron because they destroyed our clan” story. Yes, that one which we have all seen before. Thankfully, the idea of these protectors of Gaia and how Endron is sucking the life force out of the planet, adds an interesting taste into the mediocre recipe. Beyond the usual world, the werewolf clan can see another realm which is filled with spirits of nature. When one of them dies, for example, they become a spirit and can then be integrated back into the flow of life. I enjoyed this approach as it was not your typical revenge plot and the battle between the Wyrm and Gaia adds some fantastic detail into the game’s story later down the line.
The three forms come into play during the meat of the game. Cahal takes on missions that mostly revolve around infiltrating an area, doing something inside and getting out. You can then take advantage of these three forms in different ways. Levels are mostly the same and are filled with different pathways to explore and get around. Cahal can sneak around boxes, behind cover and plan his route through the level by making use of a special vision mode that highlights enemies through walls. While Cahal is built like a tank, he is not a physical person and prefers to takedown enemies. Be it through a crossbow or by sneaking up behind someone and knocking them out.
The wolf “Lupis” form is great for getting around quickly. The wolf can sprint distances and thanks to its smaller body shape, is harder to see around corners and behind cover. The world can also leap up to ledges which makes it great for getting around and sometimes sneaking through an area above enemies. Most of the time, I found myself using the wolf thanks to its faster method of getting through the area. I enjoyed how it can sneak through vents to get into rooms or move around an area completely.
We then have the best form of all, the werewolf “Crinos” form which is where Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood shines. This towering beast can completely destroy a room thanks to its powerful swipes and heavy body mass. No really. Often I would enter a room, force combat and leave it behind with a pool of blood and everything broken. As much as the sneaking around is fun for a while, the game is at its best when the combat kicks in. The werewolf can perform all sorts of attacks that range across stances. The agility stance makes it faster and easier to control. Cahal can leap across an area and take down enemies who shoot with silver bullets from a distance.
The heavy stance is all about strong attacks and slow movement. This stance is best for attacking mechs and enemies with shields. Combining these two stances makes the combat in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood feel great but at the same time it is tough. While Cahal is a beast, he can also be killed quite fast especially when combat starts to combine silver bullet guns, mechs and loads of enemies. I had to constantly dodge, leap, swipe and heal myself to stay alive. It is fantastic.
Cahal can also upgrade all his skills across the three forms. Of course, the werewolf tree has the most in-depth and biggest range of upgrades. This includes adding new attacks to the arsenal, automatic healing when he enters his frenzied form and more. Skill points are obtained by completing missions and sniffing plants (I know).
While Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has some slow story moments and literally everything about the game feels dated, the combat and sometimes the fun sneaking around, make up for the dated design. Trust me. You will be fully invested in the game and its characters for about an hour until the terrible facials animations, bad voice acting and wonky body animations become hard to overlook. When that happens, all you will want to do is bash things around and it feels great.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood Review Verdict
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is not a bad game. I have to commend Cyanide Studios for the good work regardless of how rough it often feels. However, most of this can be overlooked thanks to the generally decent gameplay. Is it a game you will remember forever? Probably not but it is a decent pastime given the current gaming drought we are in.
This Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood review was based on a code sent to us by Nacon.
Available On: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC | Reviewed On: PS5 | Release Date: 4 February 2021 | Price: R899
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