OUR RATING 6/10
The game introduces us to a planet Earth that is being indiscriminately explored by large corporations – Endron, the game’s biggest villain. In addition to draining the planet’s resources, Endron conducts sinister experiments on human subjects, and the “ Earthblood protocol” mentioned in the game’s title alludes to this.
You will take on the role of Cahal, one of the members of a pack of werewolves who jointly try to save Gaia, Mother Earth. Cahal’s heart is kind, but his attitude is that of a tough and aggressive ruffian, a temperament that determines a good part of the dialogue options presented to the player.
Cahal has access to three different forms, which he can take at any time and in real time. There is the human form, the Lupus form (it turns into a huge wolf), and the Crinos form (it assumes itself as a fierce werewolf). The human form can interact with objects and talk, the Lupus form is fast and stealthy, and Crinos is a combat beast.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse Earthblood have three phases, of which two are interrelated and one is a bit as a separate option. The first two could be defined as a role phase and a stealth phase and lastly, the combat phase. They are interrelated because your human face can open many doors and the correct answer can avoid complications.
While you are in human or common wolf form, the game is purely stealth: we must infiltrate enemy territory (military bases, refineries, laboratories) to fulfill objectives such as hacking systems, collecting information or sabotaging equipment.
As a human, Cahal has a crossbow, which he can use to both eliminate enemies and destroy surveillance cameras. You can also access computers to disable cameras and clear paths. By assuming the shape of a wolf, the character moves more quickly, goes unnoticed more easily and can, for example, use ventilation ducts to access new areas.
To guide you, you can use a “x-ray view” called Penumbra , which highlights enemies and points of interest in the scene.
There are a lot of soldiers and sentries patrolling each area of the game, and you can try to wipe them out in stealth, sneakily eliminating them one by one, and sabotaging the doors where reinforcements will come in, in case you are seen – reinforcements will still come, but they will get hurt, with much less life.
In his animal form, Cahal has two attack buttons, but even his dash can damage enemies. It can also howl (which pushes enemies), heal itself and throw a kind of whirlwind, as well as pounce, throw and finish enemies. Filling a purple meter activates Frenzy , which increases your combos and makes all your strokes even more devastating. A lean but varied skill tree gives us more skills throughout the campaign. The experience points here are “spiritual points”, which we absorb from certain plants and totems.
Enemies will also get thicker as we go: at first we have just ordinary soldiers, but soon we will have enemies in battle mechs, big guys with shields, explosive drones and even the elite Endron guinea pigs , who have undergone terrible experiments and already nor can they be considered human anymore. Get rid of enemies who use silver bullets in their weapons first: as we have seen in great works with werewolves, silver is lethal to them!
It works like this: our camp is on the outskirts of an Endron plant . We must talk to our allies, who will give us missions to do inside the complex. Then we go there, face this mix of stealth + carnage that I showed up there for some areas until I reached the goal. That done, we go back to the camp, receive a new mission, and do it all over again.
Secondary missions give a slight breath to the format, but they are not very varied either. Our group is protected by a guardian spirit, Yfen, who is weakened by the presence of Wyrm emissaries. This spirit will ask us for things (like “wake up the spirits of the forest”), which can usually be done in this large hub around the camp. In the second half of the game, we traveled to another region (a desert in Nevada), but the pace of the game follows the same pattern.
There is a particularly interesting burst of creativity there for half the campaign: we must infiltrate a prison and get some information there. Of course, for that, we need to do some “favors”, and as we cannot become a werewolf inside, the game takes on a Hitman side : we must eliminate some targets discreetly, and make it look like it was an accident. There are no multiple approaches, nor anything very profound: it is a short stretch of the game, but one of the coolest, precisely because it escapes the formula.
PROs, CONs and OVERALL GAMING EXPERIENCE
The story in general is quite interesting as it presents us with certain moral vicissitudes, in addition to a very elaborate and deep setting, although unfortunately it ends up falling into certain clichés, which subtract the personality of the work. Werewolf: The Apocalypse Earthblood is a seemingly pretty game from the outside. The textures and designs look really eye-catching, giving a next gen look that sadly it doesn’t really have.
The game did a good job on certain designs, especially when it comes to the wolf form and everything related to the spiritual world. It is an aesthetic that is very reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro’s films, which has that aura of a magical and strange nature, even a little creepy so characteristic. All this accompanied by certain sequences with very interesting shots, which make us see that the people behind this project have worked a lot on it and have not tried to leave anything to chance.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood had a more modest budget production, made by an average studio, which does not fit as an “indie game”, nor as a “triple A”. So, however much, in terms of audiovisual, it is well resolved and has a very competent art direction, it is undeniable that some polishing was lacking.
The gameplay itself is quite fluid and responsive, but it lacks a little weight, especially when we are in Crinos form : striking a simple soldier and a huge mecha doesn’t make much difference. Lacks “weight” in the blows. In addition, the collision system is quite flawed. It is normal to see the character going through crates, tables and other objects.
As this is a cross-gen game, it unfortunately does not use the resources of Playstation 5. It runs smoothly at 60fps and there’s a pretty decent ray tracing in puddles and reflective surfaces, but otherwise it looks more like a game from the past generation than the new one, it doesn’t use the haptic feedback from DualSense.
What bothers most are the character models that we see more closely during dialogues and cutscenes. You will chat a lot in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood (there are even options for dialogues and questions we can ask), but the robotic and artificial facial expressions break the mood of more tense conversations. The quality of the voiceovers is fickle: some are okay, others are quite terrible.
The soundtrack is somewhat terse, and although it does have a good theme, but it is generally quite functional. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although it would have been nice if it gave it more personality. Everything ends up having a semi metal atmosphere that could have given much more of itself with somewhat more elaborate themes.
The soundtrack is good, especially for those who enjoy metal : there is a generic instrumental song during stealth, but the metal explodes heavy and aggressive when we are slicing enemies or facing bosses in Crinos form. The music on the home menu is particularly interesting – a metal with lyrics sung in a tribal tone language / dialect.
All considered, the game is neither revolutionary nor innovative, but it delivers a competent blend of stealth with hack ‘n slash – genres that are not very common to see together around – although it needed more polish, more whimsy, more refinement.
The campaign ends with a subtle hook for a sequel, which we all hope will come, bigger and better: with a decent budget (and polish), the game would really reach its potential, and maybe even become a legal franchise. However, so far what the developers have managed to deliver is a “double A” that is just good, only a little better than generic action games.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is being launched today (February 4, 2020), with versions for PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S .