The World of Darkness series is one of the best games that you can base things out of. Most notable of these is the well-respected Vampire: The Masquerade. However, there’s also another game based on the World of Darkness series that just came out recently. One of these games is Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood.
What Is Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood?
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is an action RPG. The title takes inspiration from the tabletop RPG Werewolf: The Apocalypse game.
The game is created by Cyanide through the use of the Unreal Engine 4 game engine. They also did it while cooperating with White Wolf Publishing. This is to ensure that the game stays true to the original tabletop RPG that the game is based on.
What Type of Game Is It?
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a single-player third-person action RPG where the player takes on the role of a werewolf. The player character, Cahal, explores various locations in the vast American Northwest that take the form of hub worlds. Within these hub areas, the player attempts various missions that can have various effects on the game’s world. These effects can include finding more secondary missions or obtaining new skills and information about your enemies.
The player also gets the chance to go to Penumbra. Penumbra, in the lore of World of Darkness, is a place that’s in the middle of the physical and spirit worlds. It’s here where Cahal can get sidequests or challenges from a Great Spirit. This Great Spirit will give various rewards to Cahal for completing these challenges. These include opening shortcuts between areas or more useful items and information.
Release Date and Playable Platforms
The game was released back on February 4, 2021. It’s available for the PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, and the Xbox Series X.
Unleash your Wolf
In terms of the game’s combat, Cahal is a Werewolf. However, he isn’t just any ordinary Werewolf; he’s Garou. And this comes with certain benefits. For one, he can take on a wolf and human form at will in addition to his combat werewolf form. Each of the three forms available has its gameplay mechanics: the wolf form is great for tracking, stealth, and exploration. In addition to this, it can also go through vents and other narrow passages.
Meanwhile, the human form is used for interacting with other individuals as well as objects in the world, besides hiding the fact that you’re a werewolf, allowing you to sneak into areas where werewolves aren’t allowed. And lastly, the werewolf form is primarily used for fighting and killing your enemies.
The player develops the abilities that the werewolf will have through a skill tree. It’s there where players can choose between different archetypes that can lead to different strengths and weaknesses. Through this, Cahal will also gain access to various power-ups that are drawn from the supernatural, as well as from nature.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood’s setting puts you in the American Northwest in the World of Darkness series. The world has supernatural beings out the wazoo, from Vampires, Werewolves, to even Fae and Dragons. It’s ruled by three main entities: the Wyld, who oversees nature; the Weaver, organizing the Earth; and lastly, the Wyrm, which used to be a balancing force between both the Wyld and the Weaver. It was originally a force for renewal, of breaking down the old to make way for the new. However, over the years it’s turned into a force trying to destroy everything.
The game, however, won’t go that much on that part of the lore. Instead, it focuses on the werewolves, also known as the Garou. Their culture and nation are made out of 13 different tribes. They’re different from vampires in the way they go throughout their interactions with humanity. Vampires, go and mingle with humans. Meanwhile, werewolves are recluses and work to preserve nature.
However, due to the differing opinions of the various Werewolf tribes, their way of preserving nature varies. Some tribes are antagonistic to humans, while others wanting to work together WITH humans to help preserve nature. But, that’s a story for another day, let’s get to the review.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood Review
Now that we’ve established what Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has for itself, let’s take a look at how it got all these things together to form a cohesive game, shall we?
The gameplay loop that Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has is pretty satisfying, for the first playthrough. After that, the game immediately gets a bit stale as the gameplay loop starts to become repetitive. However, this is also hampered by the game’s bad controls, which we’ll discuss below.
In terms of its controls, the game isn’t that good. If you’re going at it on a console controller then you’re pretty much fine, for the most part. However, it’s on PC that you might get some issues.
The PC’s controls can get very clunky on bad days, and downright hard to control at worst. There’s a lot of ways for your character to bump into something by accident when you don’t have precise control over them. In addition to this, there’s also the fact that the game’s aiming for the ranged weapon is just bad. It’s an incredibly difficult task to aim for specific enemies using your crossbow. Speaking of which, let’s talk about the aim mode, shall we?
Bad Aiming and Lack of Other Functionality
This part of the game deserves special mention due to how bad it is. Usually, there’s a bit of leeway in the controls of aiming at other games. This can come from Aim Assist or other such mechanics. Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood doesn’t have this, and it’s all the worse as a result.
In addition to this, the game also doesn’t have any additional utility gadgets. The crossbow can be considered one, but it’s mostly a primary weapon for the human form to sneak around. There are utility items available to our character, though these are usually items that can help in battle. An example of this is an item in the game that gives some rage meter to our character. But other than those, that’s it in terms of items, which is a sad thing.
Other than that though, we also need to talk about the game’s stealth mechanics.
Right, the game’s stealth mechanics are acceptable if you look at it from the perspective of a previous console era. You sneak around using either the human or wolf form, going through vents and hiding in convenient areas placed all around the arena. The game also encourages you to take out enemies using a stealthy approach.
However, when you compare it with games that have stealth like the Hitman series, it feels lacking.
There’s a lot of jarring things that become apparent when you play the game stealthily. We already talked about the game’s atrocious aiming mechanics, but that’s not all. There’s also the fact that the stealth feels a bit forced into the game; it feels underdeveloped. The enemies are usually paired together, making stealth near impossible with their fields of vision covering each other.
As mentioned in the previous section, no gadget or utility helps in stealth, only combat. This means that all you have to help in stealth is the environment, which, as mentioned is already against you with all the guards and your skill.
However, what’s the use of a player’s skill if the very environment of the game is against you? Well, that’s the point. The enemy AI isn’t conducive to a good stealth game. Above all else, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is an action and hack-and-slash game, and the gameplay shows.
The game’s graphics wouldn’t look far from your average PlayStation 4 game of yesteryears. However, it looks dated, and something that you wouldn’t expect to see in the new console generation. This is honestly quite sad as the game does have some good lore to it related to the World of Darkness series. Something which we’ll discuss below.
In terms of the game’s music, this is where the game shines. For one, there’s a lot of good tracks in the game that comes out on cool moments. In addition to that, the game’s main theme is also intense.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood tells the tale of Cahal, who is a werewolf Garou that exiled himself after a mission gone wrong. After a few years in exile, he returns to find his home besieged by a ruthless oil company by the name of Endron. What people didn’t know is the fact that Endron is a capitalist front for “The Wyrm” an evil spirit that wants to destroy Earth.
Given that he’s incredibly dedicated to his own family and feeling aggravated at the attack at his home, his decision is obvious. Cahal decided to come out of hiding to help his family in securing their home and destroy Endron.
The game’s story is based on the full World of Darkness tabletop game, similar to Vampire: the Masquerade. And due to this, there’s a lot of lore that’s hidden underneath the whole “Werewolf vs. Corpo” setting that the game has. Another thing to mention is the fact that it’s also a pretty faithful version of the Werewolf side of things in the World of Darkness series. Just this alone would be enough for World of Darkness fans to give this game a go. If only for the lore aspect that the game has.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood vs Similar Games
Now that we’ve reviewed the game, let’s see how it fares to other action RPGs like it. Particularly, the Hitman series for its stealth and Vampire: The Masquerade for its similar universe.
The Hitman series is the most direct parallel to Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, and for good reason. From the near bald protagonists to the emphasis on stealth and using it to get the job done, you can see where we’re going here.
However, that’s where the similarities end. This is because Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood isn’t a stealth game at its core like the Hitman games. It’s an action RPG, with all the bells and whistles to it. The only thing that we can compare the game to the Hitman series is the stealth mechanics—which, as we’ve already mentioned, is not that impressive.
Their movement also has a huge night and day difference. For one, Agent 47 of Hitman fame is incredibly fluid and precise in the movement side of things. Something that Cahal of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood doesn’t have. It might be a bit of an annoyance for people to go from something so precise to an almost lumbering gait, even on the Human and Lupus modes.
Check out our review of the latest Hitman 3 game!
Vampire: The Masquerade
As of right now, Vampire: The Masquerade is superior to Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood. The game has more options as to what the player can do to progress the game. The stealth is well developed, the action is great, your various interactions have merit, and a whole lot more of things. Overall, Vampire: The Masquerade is a better game currently compared with Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Earthblood. This is sad since both are in the same series.
Should Gamers Be Excited About This Game?
From what could be seen on the game’s trailers, there are a lot of things that Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood promises. From stealth segments to frenetic combat, the game combines that with a healthy dose of World of Darkness lore for people to enjoy.
However, there are some concerns to consider: from the weird look of the graphics, the wonkiness of the combat on occasions, and the unusual ragdoll physics to the bad AI and even the aiming of the crossbow. The game’s good, for its lower budget, but there’s a lot of things that need polishing before it can be considered a great game. It’s good, but not great.
Overall, if you’re looking to play this game so soon as its release, don’t. The game still has a lot of things to fix, and generally, it’s a good policy to wait for two weeks to a month before buying a game. Still, if you see this review and feel like playing the game without paying a penny, wait for it to be available on PS Plus. That, or wait for a good sale to come out on the Epic Game Store if you’re on PC. At its current state, paying $50 for this game is not a bang for your buck.