Review: Werewolf: The Apocalypse
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, is a mouthful if the title is to give any indication of how indecisive the developer is. You may already have a good idea of what to expect from the game.
To keep it easy and save you a tripping tongue, we'll keep it at Werewolf. This action RPG is developed by Cyanide Studio and published by Nacon. Both are not completely unknown in the video game industry, although Cyanide is somewhat known for its mild successes in the past. For example, you know them from Le Tour de France, Blood Bowl, Call of Cthulhu and Styx. Previously almost all published by Focus Home Interactive.
In Werewolf we dive into Cahal's skin and fur. One, you guessed it, werewolf. With Cahal you can take on three guises to perform different tasks. A human form, a wolf form and a werewolves form. In the werewolves form you then have two different postures: fast and powerful. Both useful, depending on the threats you face during combat.
Who's a good boy?
At least not Cahal. You were expelled from your pack because you accidentally killed one of your ilk because you couldn't control your anger. You eventually return to the pack to protect them from a new evil. Werewolf is set within an overarching ' World of Darkness story '. It goes back quite far to 1990, but even if you are not familiar with this at all, the game and the story are quite easy to follow. There is in fact a clichéd evil organization that uses a company, in this case an oil company called Endron, as a cover for covert operations. In this case mainly experiments and world domination. It's up to you to put a stop to this.
The story turns rather predictably with some setbacks, where the bad guys always have a small lead. You will have to deal with moral issues, personal loss and a greater importance of making choices. However, you only have to make this choice at the very end, so that the end of the story has two sides. Furthermore, you play quite linearly through the story and you do not notice the RPG aspect very much. But where?
You start the game in a fairly defined area, but it slowly opens up more and more as you progress through the story. It's not an open world, but you are a bit free to explore and collect things. It remains very mild. This way you collect documents that give you more information about the story and you collect old spirits to earn experience points.
With these points you buy new skills in the very short skill tree. By the end of the game you've bought almost all skills, so it's mainly interesting what you want to start with and not necessarily what kind of player you are, because there isn't much choice. In your playstyle you are also limited to following the common thread with here and there (I counted 2 or 3) sidequests. You actually perform these during the main mission and don't send you all the way into the forest. It's better to think of them as an extra mission during your main mission.
The most choice you have in the game is when colliding with a group of enemies. This is also the bulk of the game. You can do some stealth by killing enemies unseen in wolf form, or by simply avoiding all enemies to get to your next target. Stealth in this game is often up or down. Enemy AI is inconsistent so it doesn't always function well. One minute they see you standing behind something. The next moment they have no idea of your presence as you literally walk right past them.
Since stealth doesn't work that well and it doesn't really work against you to start a fight, about 70% of the game consists of fighting enemies while you're a werewolf. As soon as you are seen in an area with enemies, you will explode and turn into a werewolf. At this point, even more enemies storm into the room and you fight in waves against a group of enemies. There are a number of different types of enemies and one of them works to use your quick form. Against the other enemy, your more powerful but slower form is more effective. All in all, the combat isn't very challenging or difficult. There are some things to keep in mind, but in practice it's really just hitting the attack button while keeping a skewed eye on your life bar and replenishing it if necessary.
There isn't much variety in the enemy types. By the end of the game, they're mostly just annoying and not necessarily challenging or interesting.
Idea and elaboration
There is quite a lot of potential in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood. The idea is nice. There is a way out of any collision with enemies through stealth. But in practice there are no consequences for one or the other. Your life bar can be shortened if you are hit with silver bullets. This section can no longer be completed, but that only applies to that specific encounter. This doesn't carry through the rest of the game. So there is no risk involved. Enemies are only aware of your presence in a specific encounter. Once the hunt opens for you, this is again only during this encounter. In the next room they don't have a clue of your presence until you are seen again.
The best thing about the whole game, which I personally would like to see a lot more of, was the conversations with key people. during missions you will encounter enemies that you can have a chat with. By choosing the right answers in a dialogue, you will find out important information and escape a certain area without being noticed. You can also burst into anger during such a conversation and turn into a werewolf to devour such a person. Unfortunately, these moments only occurred three times in the entire game. These key moments really tied the whole story together for me and made you take on a role where you thought about your own purpose, the context of the story, the interests of the person in front of you and the big picture. For a moment everything comes together.
Werewolf has some nice ideas, but fails to weave them together into a good and fascinating whole. The story quickly loses its charms through cliché twists and events with people you have not built up a bond with. At times the game doesn't look bad with a lot of effects during battles, but at other times you could also say that you are playing a Playstation 3 game. In the end it feels like a disconnected whole with strange design choices that are not very well thought out. After an hour of playing you have seen everything the game has to offer. The next 8 hours are just more of the same in similar areas and similar missions. Fortunately, the game on Playstation 5 plays very smoothly and there are few major errors. Sometimes things don't go well with climbing in wolf form,but otherwise there are occasionally only some visual abnormalities.
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