REVIEW: ‘Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood’ Fails on Almost All Fronts (PS5)

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Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, the newest game from French developer Cyanide and publisher Nacon, is a bit of a special case. This action RPG would probably have fell to the wayside in a normal year but, since there aren’t many games out natively for Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X|S, a fair amount of eyes, including my own, are on Earthblood.

After finishing the game, I really wish they hadn’t.

The game follows Cahal, an eco-terrorist werewolf trying to save nature from pollution. After accidentally killing a member of his tribe in a fit of rage, Cahal sets out on his own to find himself. After discovering Pentex, one of the world’s largest corporations, has set out to destroy his tribe, he rejoins them to stop Pentex once and for all.

Though Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood gives some minor setup, it feels like you have to have done your homework to really understand what is going on in the game’s story. Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is part of the World of Darkness universe, which has a long history dating back to the early 1990s. If you don’t have any prior knowledge about World of Darkness, be prepared to be just a bit lost in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood.

Even if you’re completely comfortable with words such as Garou, chances are Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood’s story will still leave you wanting. Players are given little to no backstory on Cahal or any of the other main characters and his story of leaving the tribe is glossed over in a matter of minutes.

As the game progresses, the story just becomes more and more boring. From the beginning of the game to when credits roll, nothing remotely interesting happens, leading me to be pretty checked out during all instances of dialogue.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood does not feel like a game that was released in 2021. Just about everything about it screams “dated,” most especially in its graphics and gameplay. It simply looks rough. Though the world and environments may be a bit undetailed, they don’t look necessarily bad. What does look bad, however, are the character models. Almost every single character in the game looks like they were pulled straight from 2002 and up-rezzed to high definition.

Worse yet, animations in cutscenes and minute-to-minute gameplay are horrendous. Characters walk around like robots and unnaturally snap from action to action as if they were animated by complete amateurs. There were even multiple times that NPCs would glitch out, T-pose for a second, and then return to their original pose.

The character models can be largely forgiven during gameplay as Cahal is the only one in the game that looks like he had any work put into him. The second a cutscene begins, however, get ready for some jank.

Werewold: The Apocalypse - Earthblood

If Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood were to have any redeeming points, it would be its gameplay. Earthblood is spent between two main gameplay styles: stealth and action combat.  Stealth is relatively straight-forward. While sneaking around each of Pentex’s bases, Cahal can switch back and forth between his human form and his wolf form. The wolf form is the best at stealth and can fit through vents, but Cahal has to switch back to his human form to perform stealth kills, open doors, pick up intel, or sabotage enemies.

Stealth in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is oddly satisfying. Pretty much every encounter in the game can be completed while stealthed if players try hard enough and getting past a ton of enemies with sheer skill alone feels great. Don’t expect anything too deep here, though. Each stealth encounter feels incredibly similar, and the dumb-as-rocks enemy AI is laughable. When Cahal has to face tons of enemies in active combat, he switches to his werewolf form. As someone who enjoys mindless button-mashing, I also found Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood’s action combat at least somewhat enjoyable.

Combat is incredibly straightforward and doesn’t have much depth. Players can switch between an agility mode and a heavy mode. Both modes have three different skills that can be used after Cahal builds up his rage by killing enemies.

Outside of deciding which special move to use when all players really have to do to succeed in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood’s combat is mash buttons until they win. If you enjoy games such as Dynasty Warriors, then you know that ripping through hordes of enemies effortlessly can be a ton of fun. Earthblood very rarely mixes things up, however, leading combat to become more and more tedious over time.

As players complete each level in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, they gain “spirit points” that can be used to upgrade Cahal’s combat and stealth abilities. Though this unlocks new special moves and adds a few buffs, progression is never tangibly felt throughout the game. Cahal feels just as powerful in the first mission as he does in the last.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood had a lot of potential. The World of Darkness universe is clearly full of interesting lore, creatures and characters, so it’s a shame that the game drops the ball so hard. While some players may find some surface-level enjoyment in the game’s stealth and combat, the lack of depth or player growth makes them feel old fast. Even if you are a World of Darkness superfan, it’s probably best to skip Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, at least until it’s heavily discounted.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

 


Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood
  • 4/10
    Rating - 4/10
4/10

TL;DR

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood had a lot of potential. The World of Darkness universe is clearly full of interesting lore, creatures and characters, so it’s a shame that the game drops the ball so hard. While some players may find some surface-level enjoyment in the game’s stealth and combat, the lack of depth or player growth makes them feel old fast. Even if you are a World of Darkness superfan, it’s probably best to skip Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, at least until it’s heavily discounted.