Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a new RPG set in the same world as Vampire: The Masquerade. However, it’s being handled by a completely different team than that previous game. This gives players a completely different perspective on the World of Darkness tabletop series.
Developer Cyanide has a bit of a checkered past. The studio has mainly focused on sports simulation games but has produced some positively reviewed stealth projects. This includes the likes of Styx: Shards of Darkness.
With Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, the developer is obviously hoping to expand its horizons, something it struggles to live up to.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood starts with a werewolf named Cahal fighting against an evil corporation. The werewolf is essentially an eco-warrior, attempting to save the planet from those who are polluting it.
The first mission introduces Cahal, his clan, and the Endron corporation. From there, the action quickly unfolds, with Cahal banishing himself from his family after he loses control of himself. After killing a member of his pack, he flees to keep the rest of the clan safe.
The rest of the game is spent with Cahal waging a war against Endron. The company threatens the home of his family, prompting him to return after five years of banishment.
But try as it might, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood fails to get players invested in the narrative. The characters are all forgettable and bland, while the plot just does nothing interesting. It’s the kind of story you expect from an action arcade game, not an RPG set in a rich fictional world.
Without a compelling narrative, the motivation soon fades as it is hard to find a reason to continue.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood includes a rather unique hook in that players can transform into different forms. There’s a wolf form for moving around quickly and nimbly, and a human form for interacting with technology. The final form is the werewolf, which is used for the explosive combat sections.
But the game does very little with this distinctive gameplay concept. The stealth sections are boring and almost impossible to complete, with so many enemies placed between you and your goal. There’s also very little reason to use the wolf form. Players are occasionally forced to become the animal to traverse through small gaps but it all feels a bit wasted.
The actual combat is arguably the most satisfying thing about Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood. Transforming into a werewolf and letting loose against your opponents is fun in a chaotic way.
Unfortunately, even the bombastic fight sequences can’t hold your attention for too long. Every battle soon starts to feel the same as the rest. There’s just so little variety of both enemies and abilities that combat becomes stale all too quickly.
This is not helped by the fact that every environment looks and feels identical to its predecessor. Even the boss battles fall into the same trap of failing to shake things up too much.
Stretching this out over the course of a dozen or so hours of the campaign makes it lose any appeal. Ultimately, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood just doesn’t have enough to create a consistently enjoyable and engaging experience for players.
Perhaps the worst thing about Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, though, is its presentation. Many people picking up this game might assume it’s from a previous generation. The visuals look distinctly from the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era. Nothing about the presentation screams that it is a game that has been released for the Xbox Series X.
It is not just the textures or general look of the graphics either. Everything about Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood screams low quality, including the animations and choppy frame rate.
Things do not get any better when it comes to sound design, either. The voice acting is all rather basic, giving you the impression that the performers didn’t believe in the script. Some lines are given in a completely overenthusiastic way, giving the dialogue a feeling of absurdity. Yet, at other times, it appears as if the voice actor is completely disinterested in what they are saying. Mix this in with a cheesy metal soundtrack and you get a game that sounds as bad as it looks.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood also suffers from its tiny in-game world. There’s very little room for exploration and world-building because every area is an enclosed space. The game simply does not allow the player to discover things about the world by themselves.
This is a major problem. The game is trying to get you to forge an emotional connection with the planet and its inhabitants. But that ends up being largely impossible.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood certainly has some good ideas. It is made up of a few interesting concepts, such as the premise behind the story and the distinctive gameplay idea.
But it fails to ever use these starting points as a way of building on the overall experience. The game ultimately falls flat, with even the combat getting too repetitive after just a few hours.
This leads to a monotonous game that is lacking any real redeeming qualities. It’s especially disappointing considering the rich source material it is based on.