I have to admit that when I first booted up Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, I was quite sure I was in for a crapshoot of a game. The opening did nothing to make me think otherwise. The opening cinematic was good, but once I was given control of Cahal – our hero – I was worried. The animations were stiff and talking with his extended werewolf clan had me groaning hard. The characters looked liked puppets with sticks jammed up their bums and the lip-syncing was worse than me trying to sing anything not by The Killers.
But you know what? It’s actually not a bad game.
OK, the voice acting is mostly rubbish and Cahal has the personality of a soggy condom, but the actual gameplay isn’t that bad. I’d go as far to say that it’s good, but flawed. It has a certain charm to it that’s hard to describe; it reminds me of games from the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube era. It’s something about the way in-game cut-scenes (not the fancy pre-rendered cinematics) are done. The smooth camera movements and characters who seem to glide across the screen. It reminds me of a time when game developers were suddenly having to try their hand at cinematography and the results looked like a school project. It may seem crap – and it kind of is – but it’s a comforting kind of crap, like a Happy Meal on a rainy Sunday.
I realise that I’m being fairly harsh on the game. It’s called tough love.
I’m not familiar with the board game RPG that the game is based on, so my knowledge of the lore and characters is zero, and everything I know about Werewolf’s world and mythology is coming directly from this game. I went in knowing nothing, and I’ve come out knowing just a little more than nothing. It’s not for the lack of trying, but the story is not exactly captivating stuff and I can’t stand to listen to Cahal berate his people; the voice acting for the hero is genuinely awful. In fact, it’s quite bad for everyone. Early on in the game, Cahal’s wife is killed by another werewolf and all he can muster is a “no… please… no” before he loses his shit and turns into his ultimate form.
Honestly, the guy sounded like he’d dropped his pie on the floor rather than witnessed the mother of his child having her neck snapped like a twig. Maybe he didn’t really like her? There’s more to that story, I’m sure of it.
The story isn’t much, but it’s something to keep the game moving forward. The werewolf people (the Caern) are at war with Endron, an evil corporation. And that’s about as much as I care to remember.
Each mission sees you sneaking into Endron’s facilities. The aim is to go stealth for as long as possible, taking out guards only when required. There are cameras to watch out for, too, and a thousand locked doors that are conveniently unlocked with nearby terminals which also turn off cameras. Or, you can upgrade your crossbow and take the cameras out from afar. Straying into a camera’s red ray alerts the guards and you’ll be turning into your werewolf form. This is actually how the game plays out for the most part. You can try to stealth your way through a mission, but eventually, you’ll be seen by a guard and hell will break loose. Not that I minded much because the game excels when it puts you in the Crinos form. Skulking around as Cahal the human is not nearly as fun as Cahal the werewolf, and I wish the game had done away with the stealth altogether and instead gone for the pure destruction route.
But I can see the reasons for it. The stealth gives you a break from the simple combat which boils down to mashing the light and heavy attack buttons and occasionally doing a special move to get out of a tight spot. It’s not particularly deep or thoughtful, but it is fun and, at times, quite challenging.
One aspect of the stealth that I did like was skulking around as Cahal’s Lupus form. As a wolf, you’re faster and harder to see, and you can sneak through the many conveniently placed and conveniently sized vents to avoid detection. Running across wide-open areas is still risky, but it always felt like a risk worth taking and on those occasions where I did manage to dog paw my way past a troop of corporate henchmen, I felt good about it and wanted nothing more than to scratch my little wolf behind the ears and call him a good boy. I miss having a dog in my life…
There is an RPG system inside the game but it’s quite unremarkable. You gain skill points that can be used to upgrade Cahal’s abilities. My favourite thing about this isn’t the new moves, but how you get these skill points. Littered throughout the game are plants that Cahal can sniff and they’ll fill up the point meter. It’s like catnip for wolf-men, and I couldn’t help but laugh every time Cahal took a nice big sniff of a random plant.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood isn’t a bad game, but it’s not a great game. It’s one of those middle-of-the-road deals where you have to go in with the understanding that you’re going to be trudging through a bit of crap to get to the good stuff, and even then, the good stuff gets a bit samey after a while. I think that if there was a bit more money thrown at the game, it could have been more. But as it is, it’s a B-tier game and it makes no bones about it, and I respect the effort.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood PS5 Review
Overall - Good - 6.5/10
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood won’t be remembered for long and that’s fine – by the time I got to writing this summary, I couldn’t really remember it, either.
It’s not terrible and I can see some great ideas just begging for a bigger budget. The stealth is poor but has potential, and the combat is simple, samey Prototype-esque fun that could have been more. The story and the presentation are the real let-downs here and you’d be better served throwing on some thrash-metal and muting the game while you play.
- Combat is fast, gory fun with a few challenges
- Sneaking around as a regular wolf is really cool and something I’d love to see done again (but better)
- The music fits the tone of the game with heavy metal bangers scoring the chaos
- Looks fairly good and runs really well, especially on PS5
- Cahal sounds like he’s ready to turn into a werewolf, rip out his biggest tooth, and then shove it up his own backside to end his ongoing suffering with being the least charismatic leading man in video games
- Most of the cast sounded like they were waiting to retrieve the tooth so they could also end it all
- The RPG systems – levelling up and dialogue – were really weak and meaningless
- Stealth is ultimately pointless
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS5. Reviewed using PS5 and PS4 Pro.