Set in the same universe as Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is out today for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. I admittedly don’t know much about the world or lore of World of Darkness, but immediately upon seeing the reveal for Earthblood last year, I knew for damn sure that it was a game I wanted to play. Werewolves taking on an evil corporation that utilizes giant mech suits with chainsaw and rocket arms? Yes, please. Unfortunately, I was a bit underwhelmed by what I was given. Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has early moments of ripping-and-shredding fun, but is ultimately an experience that feels like it should have been released for the PlayStation 3.
In Earthblood, you take on the role of a werewolf named Cahal who is the member of a pack that’s hellbent on taking out Endron, the aforementioned evil corporation. After a mission goes awry from Cahal’s uncontrolled rage, he abandons his pack, but is eventually forced to return to save what remains of his family while taking out the Endron corporation once and for all.
Earthblood’s story is a bit cliche – a group of supernatural ecoterrorists taking out an evil corporation – and it really doesn’t do much to get outside of the box. It’s hindered further by the unconvincing voice acting that is surprisingly lackluster. There are a few overtly intense moments in Earthblood that warrant emotional reactions, but most of them come with character reactions that are less convincing than how I react when I stub my big toe (which I may have done while writing this review). These characters could have been a lot stronger if I believed them more. Especially since these moments took away any sort of immersion that the game might have had on me.
For the most part, Earthblood does good enough to keep me engaged, at least during the parts that require stealth. Cahal can take on three different forms – his human form, which allows him to operate machinery like computers and keypads; his Lupus form, which is his standard wolf form that allows him to stealthily move around areas relatively undetected; and his Crinos form, which is his upright werewolf form that lets him shred through wave after wave of enemies. I enjoyed the stealth sections where Cahal weaved his way throughout various enemy-filled areas, picking them off one by one with his hands or crossbow.
That said, there are some inconsistencies in terms of when I am spotted and when I’m not. These enemy soldiers aren’t exactly smart. Most of them stand in a fixed position, while maybe a handful of patrolling soldiers walk around the area. There are many times when I can do the exact same thing twice – walk the same exact route – and get spotted once (which restarts you from the checkpoint), but the next time have no issue. Like I said, when it works, I enjoy the stealth component. The inconsistency just makes it feel like I’m not really in control of the situation at all, relying mostly on luck.
I am less enthused, on the other hand, with Earthblood’s combat system. In Crinos form, you’re basically tasked with taking on hordes of enemies using your special slash-and-stab wolf-boi abilities. While it’s fun (and funny to watch Cahal grab a soldier and huck his ragdoll body into another group of soldiers), that’s basically all there is. Despite its RPG progression tree, combat never really changes, leaving a redundant taste in your mouth after the first few battles. This extends to the boss fights, which are a bit more ramped up in terms of difficulty, but ultimately the same repeated combat experience.
Finally, during the “horde” encounters, groups of enemies just kind of… appear. There are doors and such for enemies to enter from, but they just magically appear in front of the doors. This may not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it bugs the hell out of me. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised though, since the character models themselves feel plucked right out of the PS3-era. It’s just frustrating to have such lacking visuals, especially considering the work that appears to have gone into the presentation of the game’s cinematics.
It was Earthblood’s original trailer that immediately drew my attention. It looks like it could be a feature-length CGI film. This extends to the in-game cinematics (excluding the scenes of forgettable exposition). It’s apparent that plenty of care went into making great-looking cinematics – more so than what feels went into the actual gameplay visuals. Perhaps Earthblood would have just been better off as a feature-length film (with more convincing voiceover direction).
As I mentioned, I have no experience with World of Darkness other than the small bit of knowledge I have from reading our articles here at TheGamer. It’s entirely plausible that I’m missing something nuanced from the overarching narrative within that universe, but as someone who just came into this looking for a fun experience playing as a werewolf, I can’t say that I was impressed with anything other than the cinematics. That said, while I may not be interested in replaying Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood any time soon, the game did increase my intrigue to learn more about the World of Darkness universe. I think maybe I’ll steer clear of werewolves for now, though, and instead see what the WoD’s vampires have to offer.
A PC copy of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood was provided to TheGamer for this review. Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
Next: Destruction AllStars Review: Bucket Of Bolts
- Game Reviews
- Vampire: The Masquerade
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood
- World of Darkness
Sam has been writing for TheGamer since early 2018, earning the role as the Lead Features & Review Editor in 2019. The Denver, Colorado-native’s knack for writing has been a life-long endeavor. His time spent in corporate positions has helped shape the professional element of his creative writing passion and skills. Beyond writing, Sam is a lover of all things food and video games, which – especially on weekends – are generally mutually exclusive, as he streams his gameplay on Twitch (as well as TheGamer’s Facebook page) under the self-proclaimed, though well-deserved moniker of ChipotleSam. (Seriously…just ask him about his Chipotle burrito tattoo). You can find Sam on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as @RealChipotleSam.
Source: Read Full Article