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Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood

Posted by GG Goblin On February - 17 - 2021

Howling at the moon.

 
The World of Darkness pen & paper RPG series has been around for more than 30 years now, starting out with White Wolf Publishing before eventually arriving at the doorstep of Paradox Interactive. While many video game players will have heard of the most famous entry in the World of Darkness series, Vampire: The Masquerade, there are many more entries in the original series, including Mage: The Ascension and Changeling: The Dreaming, that have yet to make the jump to video games. However, the World of Darkness video game library is expanding and it seems like werewolves are the next big thing. The stealth action RPG Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, from Cyanide, is out now and allows players to get all wolfy in the World of Darkness.

 


 
The player takes on the role of Cahal, a member of a werewolf pack. The start of the game introduces the player to the basic ideas while also filling the player in on the packs ongoing battle with the evil corporation Endron. It is also here that the story kicks off, with Cahal losing control of his rage and killing a fellow member of the pack. This leads to Cahal heading off for self-imposed exile. Returning some years later, Cahal finds that Endron are continuing to destroy the environment and endanger the life of his pack members, and so heads off to bring some eco-warrior justice down on the corporation.

 
The big disappointment here for many fans of the World of Darkness series will be how little the developers have taken advantage of the mass of lore that is available. The game has been around for a long time, yet Earthblood feels seriously lacking in the depth it could have had. For those new to this world, the setting will feel just as shallow, but the actually story at the centre of the game will seem just as difficult to invest in. Cahal is not the most interesting hero, and the supporting cast of major characters really don’t even feel worth the time. The voice acting is good enough, they just don’t have anything really interesting to say. The core goal for Cahal is to travel to various Endron facilities and sabotage them or remove certain bosses. The narrative outside of this, or even the motivation for doing this, is minimal and very difficult to care about. In the rich World of Darkness setting, this is a disappointing use of the source material.

 


 
Still, not all players come for the narrative, some are here just for the action. Earthblood has an excellent in concept in the fact that the player is a werewolf. In gameplay terms, this means that the player has options. When they are inevitably starting their assault on an Endron facility, the player will be able to choose how they approach, and in what form. Stealth is the natural way to start things, keeping Cahal safe while trying to reduce any potential risks when everything kicks off. As a Human, Cahal is able to use his crossbow for ranged take downs, interact with computers and the like, and even sneak up behind enemy soldiers and perform a stealth take down. Cahal is also able to take on a wolf for, allowing him to sneak around more quickly and quietly, or squeeze through small openings to reach new areas.

 
For all of these stealthy options, Cahal will rarely remain unseen for long. The game does feel slightly stacked against the player here, as the majority of guards will be in the sight-line of other guards, leading to the alarm being triggered and reinforcements rushing in. Stealth could have been a major part of the game, but rather is is just used to funnel the player into a big fight. But then, that is not such a bad thing.

 


 
This is where players get to see Cahal’s third form – the werewolf. As a werewolf, Cahal is really impressive and there is very little that would be able to stand in his way. Of course, hordes of enemies with silver bullets will put a dent in his rampage, but that is the way of things. Making use of a couple of basic attacks and special abilities, Cahal will have to fight his way through the enemies, switching between stances depending on what he is facing. The light stance gives more manoeuvrability and allows faster gathering of rage, required for special abilities, while the heavy stance is slower, but much safer and more suited for taking out armoured enemies. The combat in Earthblood is pretty enjoyable.

 
However, the fact that there is very little variety to the combat does take the shine off. As Cahal earns experience, points can be spent on a couple of minimal skill trees, but they don’t change up the action much. Then there are the variety of enemies, of which there are few, and the environments which tend to be very similar throughout. Even the boss battles don’t change things up much. Playing through a few missions will give the player everything they need to know about how the rest of the game will play out.

 
The presentation of Earthblood feels dated, like it has been plucked from a previous console generation. The cut scenes can be cool, but the moment to moment gameplay visuals just feel old. While this may not have any impact on the enjoyment of the gameplay, it is just another aspect of the game that feels uninspired.

 


 
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a flawed game. The visuals, the story, the lack of variety all lead to a game that can be a struggle to play through with any enthusiasm. The saving grace is when the main character takes on the werewolf form and becomes a brawling powerhouse. Being a massive werewolf and pounding through enemies is always fun, even if it becomes quickly repetitive. For this reason, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood may be worth spending some time with.

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 



 

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