Ever since I was a kid, werewolves have been one of my favorite mythical monsters. And while we have been treated to an uncountable amount of awful werewolf films, we really haven’t had too many video games about the creatures. Thankfully, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is ready to fill that void. But will it be An American Werewolf in London or one of the Twilight films?
You take control of generic gruff bald man, Garou Cahal, whose name I legitimately could not remember without Googling. After being exiled by his bio-terrorist pack for a tragedy caused by his uncontrollable werewolf rage, he finds himself joining up with a new group to fight the evil, planet-draining corporation that is also apparently being corrupted by an alien. So you know, the typical setting for any run-of-the-mill RPG.
Despite being considered an RPG, the game is almost nothing but straight-forward, linear missions that can be tackled by stealth or brute force. The stealth approach offers some interesting mechanics, like using your normal wolf form to slink around vents to avoid combat. I started out using these tactics only to quickly switch to the classic “crush everyone into mush as a massive wolfman” style when I realized how very broken the stealth mechanics are. You’ll have some guards who can see through walls, while others who apparently have no actual eyeballs. It’s super frustrating to say the least. Luckily, the werewolf form offers some fairly satisfying combat. It feels pretty good to smash, throw, and rip entire rooms of baddies into nothing but piles of gore. But after the sixth hour of doing that exact thing over and over, it stops being as much fun.
The insanely grinding generic metal music doesn’t do much to help either. While I understand a heavy, hard-hitting soundtrack is needed for a game where you transform into a ten foot wolf and tear people into pieces, it just lacks any sort of hook or depth. It feels more like music you’d hear in a sitcom where one of the kids is going through a goth phase. Maybe it’s just personal preference, but I honestly could not stand the soundtrack in this game.
The narrative has a lot of potential to be an interesting and fresh take on some tired tropes. But it falls flat when told through the repetitive and sometimes broken gameplay and presentation. After a bit of research, I discovered that Earthblood is based on a fairly well established tabletop game and book series. But since I have zero interest in tabletop games, and never passed the third grade, I really have nothing to compare the game to in terms of writing and story. I can definitely see something interesting lingering in the background, it’s just a shame it never took center stage.
Visually the game looks…not good. It’s a cross-gen title, but it looks more like it’s crossing the last generation rather than entering into the new one. Faces looks dead and vacant, as do the animations. I understand this is a lower budget title, but this seems bad even for a no-budget game. It’s just not pretty to look at, and seems more like a direct PS3 port, rather than a new PS4 game…not to mention PS5.
Overall, Werewolf: The Apocalypse-Earthblood is as muddled as its name. Unsure if it wants to be a stealth title, hack-n-slash, or RPG, the title takes what could have been an interesting narrative and waters it down to a game you’ll grow tired of long before you finish it. I really can’t recommend this title unless you are already a die-hard fan of the source material.