How could my hopes and expectation be not high for Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood? Being based on the tabletop game World of Darkness the potential is definitely present. Just look at Vampire: Masquerade, which is set in the same universe. Being a massive and brutal beast, werewolves are creatures people don’t mess with. So imagine my surprise when I ended up playing like Solid Sna- sorry, I mean Cahal who sneaks around while being pressured in time. Sadly, not much makes sense in this latest game from Cyanide and Nacon.
We played Werewolf: The Apocalypse for 17 hours on Xbox Series X.
What we liked!
- Low-budget Metal Gear game: For some reason Cyanide decided to make this game into a full-on stealth game. Important to note here is that you don’t have to be stealthy at all. You can literally bash the door in, go full werewolf-mode and shred every enemy in the room. There isn’t a single benefit from being stealthy, many times it doesn’t make sense either. Someone is on the verge of being killed and Cahal takes his precious time avoiding everyone while he could simply decapitate everyone in mere seconds. So why wouldn’t I take the fast approach? Well, Werewolf’s combat ain’t that great so I preferred to shift into wolf-mode and be gentle to the enemies. Cyanide made it abundantly clear how you clear rooms in a non-violent way. Fences always seem to be the correct height to hide behind, HUGE vents can sneak you into security rooms to shut down camera’s or open closed doors, you can sabotage reinforcement doors for when the Solid Snake approach fails. Stealth gameplay tests your observation skills and fair is fair, Cyanide did some good work here. It becomes a bit repetitive as you seem to press a million cameras, doors, or whatever buttons. It is mostly always the same, room after room but I enjoyed my furry time here.
- Combat is lacking any sort of liveliness and excitement: Come on Cyanide, how do you not make fighting as a werewolf awesome? I guess I’ll have to go back to Killer Instinct and Sabrewolf for some epic combat. Anyway, combat is very basic and insanely repetitive to play. You have two different forms, an agile form and some kind of slow tank form that nobody will use. It has some tricks to make combat easier that involve using your Rage-meter, self-healing for example, or doing a powerful whirlwind move. It gets the job done but I was hoping for a bit more balanced and challenging gameplay.
- Shallow story: You have to be something that is familiar with the universe to understand what the hell is going on here. What is a Garou? What is a Fomori, some kind of vegetable? So by not solving this you immediately alienate half of the player base, or maybe even more. When all of this is lost we still have a mildly interesting main character, his name is Cahal and he looks a bit like the protagonist from Rogue Warrior. His journey through this 18 hours story (drastically shorter if you don’t play stealth) is about not giving in to his Werewolf rage, meeting extremely dull designed and emotionless characters, and battling against Endron. A mega-powerful company that threatens the tribe. Conveniently for Endron all their bases seem to be exactly right next to the tribe’s base, very unrealistic but it works for entertainment value.
What we disliked
- Dialogue and voice-acting: A lot of significant people die in this game. when this happens the player should feel an emotion. The only emotion I had was rolling my eyes while laughing about how bad the voice-acting is in this game. You know the Stellaaaaa scene from the movie A Streetcar Named Desire, it is that kind of quality. The voice-actors didn’t have much to begin with, dull writing is a big problem for a game like this.
- Werewolf’s main problem, being dated: This kind of hybrid gameplay might be considered special but it could have fooled me to be a remaster from the Xbox 360-era. Visually it seems stuck between trying to be impressive, the starting hub doesn’t look bad for example, or simply being awful. (interiors) Cyanide used a very simplistic way to show shadows, as a result, things look weird and fail to give a lasting impression. So yeah Werewolf: The Apocalypse isn’t on par with Xbox One games from the past years. I did have fun with the gameplay but here things get really dated, how many times have we been crawling vents? How is it possible that you can’t move bodies in a stealth game? How many freaking buttons do I have to press to clear a room, damn cameras are all over the place! This would have been a great game when we lived in 2010.
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