The moon is now full in the World Of Darkness and the release of Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood is finally here for us all to explore. We have seen some of the other IPs get some interactive book style games out there, but Cyanide wants to dive into the ferocity of the creatures and give us an action-oriented game with some RPG features mixed in. If there ever was an IP to do that, it would be Werewolf: The Apocalypse. This is one of the biggest reasons we were excited to get this game and dive into it all. Now that it is out there, we are ready to share all of our thoughts on the game with our official review of the game so far. Also, if you should spend the time and money to get the game on the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, or PC and get your ecoterrorist on.
Things are not going well in the World Of Darkness, which is about the norm, but it looks like a corporation known as Endron is out there trashing the planet more than most others. This is not only hurting the physical world but also the spirits of the lands and corruption in humans out there. Cahal, one of the werewolf warriors of Gaia, who has left his pack for their safety has come back to help them do what they do best and end the destruction out there. All to find out that this corporation and the Wyrm are up to things that are much more sinister out there. How can we all survive with it all?
One of the bigger aspects of any RPG style game, comes down to the story and how it is delivered to the audience. More so when we are trying to put ourselves in the role of the character to get a closer feel for it all. While there was some great work done for Cahal in Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood, none of the other characters and NPCs in the game feel like they were given that much work and things felt extremely lifeless for them all. This mixed in with some of the voice work feeling like it lost all emotion in the delivery. Weirdly, all on the NPC side almost exclusively. I am not trying to knock any of the actors working on the game here but there should be a lot of passion behind the werewolf characters in the game and they all just felt flat. All to the point that it was a bit more distracting and pushing me to just get through it all to make it to the next action piece of the game. All of which is something that feels like it can be a bit more improved with some better animations and textures in the game but it just is not that at the time of this review.
Sadly, this also builds into another aspect of the game that I was excited for and that is the dialog gameplay where we need to make sure we keep our cool. In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Rage is a big thing and we get to see it in action in Earthblood but the consequences of it overflowing only seem to happen once in a real way. One of the interesting gameplay pieces that could have been in there and lock us out of paths and options in the game could have been us losing control in the middle of a conversation and Rage out. Instead, this was something we could trigger if we wanted to and never even needed to if we did not want to. There never seemed to be any consequence from it either outside of having to fight a bunch of enemies or just talking your way out. Even if your Rage was boiling over. It feels like a missed opportunity that instead allows you to easily boost your Rage which is used much more like a Mana bar for all of our special abilities and moves in the fight.
Finally, when it comes to the combat, it felt about as by the numbers as we should have expected in a Werewolf title. That is not the gripe here as I rather enjoyed it, but it always moved into a very specific set piece in the game the felt like we were just being ushered from one to another. Almost like many of the side-scroller fighter titles out there. This would not be a huge issue if that is how the game was originally designed, but given the freedom of the world that we need to explore here, it feels a bit off. For instance, there were many times I would run by an area where enemies would just wander the "arena" wanting for me to enter but never followed out to engage even when I was in full view. Mixed in with the fact that we could not turn into the full Crinos (war form) until we were in these locations too. There might not have been a reason to do so outside of these locations, but it just felt like it was an odd choice to force here and force it was.
While the story delivery and all was a bit off for me, I do have to say that Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood does a great job at giving us a good story in the World Of Darkness as well as something that dives into the lore of the IP too. This was something I was worried could be the case that we would miss out on. While there is a whole lot more to Werewolf: The Apocalypse than they were able to get to with how long it has been out there. Cyanide did an amazing job to be able to give as much lore as possible to bring in those that have little knowledge of the setting but plenty for the fans out there to spot and enjoy. Even if some of them are little name drops and points toward the many other IPs out there. They could have just given a quick overview and let us all go, but they mixed it all in so well that thankfully they did not. This is great for those that want to dip their toes in while having some fun action gameplay right now without the need for 30+ years of books and lore to read through.
Moving on from that, while the dialog may not offer up the same level of freedom that the tabletop version of Werewolf, the game did a great job to give us a way to play the game in the way we might want to. Mostly it was in the way of stealth or combat but it is done that you can go about most of the game as you so wish. There are a few places out there where combat is the only option, but I did manage to play most of the game using the stealth and social options instead. It did make things considerable a bit more difficult as the easy option is to just Rage and leave a bloody mess behind. This is something that could have just been ignored and skipped in Earthblood here but given the level of freedom the different forms can normally give; we get to see them the same way here. This is not the biggest surprise given their past titles before Werewolf here, but they made it fit in really well for us once again. All to the point where I want to go back and choose only the combat options to see how different it could all be.
Speaking of, I was a bit iffy on the combat from the start of Earthblood here. We have two stances with one for agility and once from strength. Mixed in with the usual normal and heavy hits with dodging and special attacks mixed in. It is a little rough to enjoy at the early place of the game, but once you get a few unlocks and skills added, it flows a lot smoother and feels more like a Werewolf fight. It might not be anything mold-breaking, but it fits so very well in the game that it is easy to ignore that. There is no reason to fix something that is not broken and they did not do that here. At least in my eyes and fingers as I never felt like I could not survive the fights but also felt like there was a real challenge out there. Something that also feels like it escalates perfectly as the enemies become more varied and powered in the later portions of the game too. Most of which flowed just as I always imagined my characters would move when playing the tabletop version of it all.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood, when it comes to the visuals, do not really line up with some of the marketing videos we have seen recently. I played the PS5 version of the game where it could have been fairly close. While it did take me out of the experience a bit when it came to the narrative, it did not ruin the overall game to the point where I wanted to put it down. This was all due to the stealth and combat in the game giving the proper levels of fun mixed in. Sure, it felt like it was in extremely set places and we were moving from location to location without a smooth transition, but that was kind of nice to know when trying to dig deeper into the lore and story out there. Given that we also have multiple other aspects of Werewolf mixed in with the Spirits and other links to the bigger world in general, it was nice to know it could be done with freedom instead of feeling pressured there. I would see that fans of the IP will have a good time with it all and those looking for a fun action-RPG too. For those outside of those circles, it could be a bit iffy on if you will fully enjoy it all.
I give Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood 4 Animal Spirits on the Animal Spirit scale.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood — Launch Trailer
Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood was developed by Cyanide and published by NACON for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC on February 4th, 2021. A PlayStation copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.