Werewolf - The Apocalypse: Earthblood Review
'You had me at werewolf' ... read more on what Gareth Woods thought of the game:
When I first saw this title announced I must admit I didn’t know that it stemmed from a fairly popular tabletop game, but seeing that you get to play as a werewolf tearing into a variety of corporate baddies who are destroying the environment, I was like “you had me at werewolf”.
Unfortunately, Werewolf – The Apocalypse fails dismally at delivering anything close to an enjoyable experience. It’s a rather sad state of affairs when you can’t make being a 300kg rampaging man-beast fun.
The game actually shows a lot of potential with a reasonably satisfying gameplay loop as you switch between your various forms to complete each mission. The Homid (human) form which allows you to perform actions such as hacking computers, social interactions and stealth kills. The Lupus (wolf) form which is for quick, agile movement and for sneaking around is tight spaces like air ducts and finally and my personal favourite, the Crinos (werewolf) form. The final form turns you into a massive monstrosity capable of demolishing waves of enemy soldiers without flinching.
The problem is that even while these various forms create numerous opportunities for interesting gameplay and level design, they are sorely squandered by poor execution. For one, as the Crinos werewolf, you seem to have no weight which certainly dilutes the power and gravitas of being an unstoppable force of nature. Your movement feels “arcadey” (and unintentionally so) and the enemies just seem to stand there and get mauled to bits instead of reacting how I think real people would when faced up against a 10-foot-tall monster.
Similarly, while the stealth elements are well designed as you avoid detection from cameras and other soldiers, while slowly thinning out enemy forces on the way to achieving your objective, all this hard work is undone by the fact that being detected has very little consequence. If you do fail to stealthily get through an area undetected, you simply switch to Crinos mode and tear every enemy to ribbons (which is usually faster than the intended stealth game plan). If anything, given the outcome, from their perspective it’s way better for the enemy soldiers not to find you, rather than having you go on a rampage.
The voice acting is also bad, ranging from something similar to those text-to-voice applications to something out of a day-time soap opera. Characters will see loved ones killed by enemies and react with the level of disappointment and annoyance one would expect from seeing a fly in your food. All this is not helped by the fact that the overall story and lore created by the Werewolf: The Apocalypse tabletop game is very poorly explained. So invariably you end up skipping most dialogue sections just to get back to the game.
All in all, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a disappointing mess. All the opportunity of a rich, character-driven world created by a popular franchise of tabletop games and add to it the satisfying experience of playing a shapeshifting werewolf and somehow this was the result, seems like a massively squandered opportunity.