It is called Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood and is the new video game from Maximum Games, the French developers behind the stealth series of Styx who passed under the aegis of Nacon, come up with a different title than usual: here is the review.
|Intuitive, hilarious fights||Not well exploited|
|Good pace, all in all||Outdated in many respects|
|Three different shapes|
|Released||February 4, 2021|
|Platforms||PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, |
Xbox One, Windows PC
|Game mode||Single Player|
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is based on a board game of the same name and tells the story of a universe split in half, where Gaia represents Mother Earth. At the same time, the Wyrm is a destructive spirit that is ravaging the planet. The latter is revered by Endron, a huge oil company whose only goal is profit and total control.
The Garou protect Gaia, i.e., humans capable of mutating into wolves: they are few, gathered in small communities in which humans also play their part in the silent war against Endron to dismantle society’s energy systems.
The player plays the role of Cahal, a Garou who, after a catalyst event, decides to exile to meditate on the counterattack against Endron. Unfortunately, the narrative turns out to be cold, supported by characters with a weak charisma with whom it is difficult to become attached. While calling itself an action RPG, it lacks the depth expected from an experience of that kind.
Even a short dialogic system implemented, with choices that do not change the flow of events but allow you to discover some more details about the universe, together with a timid portion of environmental narrative scattered here and there, present in short documents. The intermission sequences also leave something desired, with icy and very robotic animations, out of time.
The gameplay of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood revolves around the possibility, for the protagonist, of being able to transform into a wolf and a Crinos, which is a highly ferocious werewolf. The interaction, therefore, foresees three different forms, along with a linear structure practically in missions. We, therefore, appreciated the absence of a forced open-world scaffolding, which manages to maintain a more sustained pace.
The human form is the stealth approach, the only one that allows you to perform silent kills and interact with the environment and characters. That of a simple wolf, on the other hand, will enable you to run faster and sneak away without attracting attention, taking advantage of the smallest of the tunnels as shortcuts and thus avoiding well-defended places.
The idea is to thin out the ranks of enemies in stealth, deactivating the cameras and automatic turrets from the terminals, to collect the Fury, that is the resource through which you can perform special moves in the form of Crinos or the werewolf.
When you transform into the beast, the game changes its face and becomes a rough scrolling fighting game, but very fun, and where the destructible objects, with highly light physics, give strength to the visual impact. There are soft, heavy attacks, a handful of combos, and active skills that can be performed by consuming Fury, which also charges over time: two stances also peek out , the aggressive and the agile, interchangeable on the fly, which modify the intensity of the blows.
Although Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has intuitions that make it distinguishable from other exponents, especially in the presence of the three forms, there is no doubt that it is technologically too far behind: summary collisions, little detailed environments, obsolete animations, and an aesthetic realization of the characters outside. Time highlight a project that, except for reduced loads, uses practically nothing of the PS5, not even its DualSense.
This is a Double-A cross-platform title, so it doesn’t aim for huge ambitions, but nothing is surprising on a technical level. However, it takes the simplicity of the experience to make it unique, driven by linearity that is rare in today’s productions.
Contents & Progression
The campaign can be completed in about 10 hours. Despite being linear and with a reduced variety, sometimes there are choices (often illusory) that allow you to face a particular situation in two different ways, which constantly and willingly lead to aggression. There are very few side missions related to talking with secondary characters and a not-exaggerated number of collectibles. Net of everything, we appreciated the contained longevity and, as already mentioned, the pace, practically devoid of dead moments. Unfortunately, it is impossible to replay the levels once the story is complete, and the adventure will necessarily have to be restarted.
We had the opportunity to try Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood on PS5, on which the game does not enjoy any substantial improvement, in addition to the fluidity at sixty frames per second, which should now be the basis. The image is quite clean but not rich in details, with anonymous settings and flat materials: there are few, very few glimpses that have remained impressed on us, as the level design is often embedded in labyrinthine and industrial structures, with few exceptions. It disappoints the expressiveness of the characters and their animations, obsolete even for a product of the previous generation. The best part of the aesthetics is reserved for the design and characterization of the spirits, truly original (you can see one in the gallery at the end): it is a pity they have a very marginal role.
The musical sector is composed of generic environmental music during the exploratory and stealth phases, which contrast with the metallic and dynamic notes of the sections in the guise of the werewolf. The sound effects work, especially during hand-to-hand fights, although they are a bit repetitive. The dubbing in English is discreet, with a well-chosen choice of voices.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood arrives in digital and physical stores for $49.99. It is the classic price of the Double-A and many productions such as Nacon. The PS4 / Xbox One digital edition includes the PS5 / Xbox Series X | S edition, and both have the same list price, but we would have preferred an even lower figure: it’s worth waiting for a discount.
We are happy that there are still titles like Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, new video games that can provide an experience that is not necessarily ambitious, yet fun, and not bulky. Cyanide’s latest effort certainly is, but it is also a minimal adventure, with a cold story, a very bland scenario, and playability that is certainly concrete and straight to the point but tightened by the grip of old technology.