Werewolf: The Apocalypse-Earthblood Review- Flawed Claws

Posted February 6, 2021 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Cyanide Studio

Publisher: Nacon

Release Date: February 4, 2021

Available on: PC, PS4 (reviewed), PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Werewolves haven’t gotten their fair share of videogames, often just appearing as evil creatures in RPGs and rarely taking center stage as vampires have done. Cyanide Studio wants to amend this with its new game, Werewolf: The Apocalypse- Earthblood, based on the popular tabletop RPG from White Wolf Publishing called Werewolf: The Apocalypse, which is part of the larger World of Darkness series. But are they successful?

In part, yes. Werewolf has you playing the part of Cahal, a Garou (the game’s term for werewolf) who works as an eco-terrorist against the Pentex Corporation and specifically against its subsidiary company, Endron. Things go bad during a raid, Cahal goes into a rage after his wife is killed and kills a fellow member of his pack. He is then exiled, away from his pack and his daughter, Aedana. Five years later events bring Cahal back for his daughter and to continue the fight against Endron. Naturally, things don’t go well.

The game’s story is decently written, though it has a very familiar feel to it. The characters can be likeable enough, but just competent voice acting doesn’t give players any real emotional attachment to it. Add to that the inconsistency in graphics, which range from excellent in the cutscenes to almost early PS3 quality during gameplay. It’s here where Werewolf‘s claws begin to show the game’s flaws. It’s a shame, because the game is overall fun to play and engaging enough for its 12-15 hour run. With a few tweaks this could have been a real pleasant surprise a la Maneater.

While the story is solid enough, it’s the gameplay that has issues. The game has stealth sections, but outside of a few beginning missions, there is no penalty for being caught. Stealth is almost rendered moot when you can go full beast mode most of the time, though it can be satisfying to take a room of guards out completely through stealth. Being stealthy allows you to sneak into control rooms and turn off cameras and turrets, as well as open locked doors. The game lets you also sabotage elevators that would bring reinforcements should the alarm sound. But even here, the game shoots itself in the foot, since even if you sabotage every elevator in the room, reinforcements will still come out of them. A prison sequence has you trying to make contacts, then throws it all out the window when you have no choice but to let loose and kill everyone. These flaws highlight some real missed opportunities here, as it would have been cool to have Cahal go all Solid Snake in these sections.

Combat fares a little better, since it can be fun even while being a bit repetitive. You have your standard light and heavy attacks, and a dodge, plus a couple of special abilities unlocked in the game’s small but useful enough skill tree. Building up a meter allows you to unleash Frenzy, where you are nearly unstoppable. And you’ll get plenty of chances to use Frenzy, especially when waves of enemies just keep coming out of those elevators you disabled. Unfortunately, the camera can go very wonky here, sometimes making it hard to keep track of what’s going on, and sometimes leading to cheap deaths.

Technical issues also occur throughout. I hit two occasions where enemies disappeared during a fight where I had to restart at the last checkpoint, and one other time I fell through a wall and met multiple copies of Cahal. I also got knocked through a wall to my death due to a glitch. Pop in happens with regularity, though outside of the glitches, wonky camera, and visual hiccups, the game does run fairly smooth and never crashed on me. Thankfully, checkpoints are pretty frequent, so even if you hit an issue needing a restart you never lose much progress. Loading times are a sore spot as well, as they can be long at times.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse- Earthblood can be a fun game, but sadly its flaws and technical issues hold it back from what it could have been. Even with two endings, most players may only play through once, even though the endings leave room for a possible sequel. Those who are more familiar with the tabletop game more be more disappointed (I had no such bias, having never played it, though I want to now). The game-world’s lore, while adequately explained for purposes of the game, feels like more could have been done with it. A few tweaks here and there, and werewolves would have had a game to howl for. Sadly, this beast has flawed claws, and is more likely to be experienced after some deep discounts during a sale.

6.5/10 stars

About the Author

Thomas James Juretus