Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a hybrid stealth/action game that plays like an unearthed relic from the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a stealth/action game developed by Cyanide and published by Nacon. Earthblood is based on the Werewolf: The Apocalypse tabletop game, which is set in the same World of Darkness setting as Vampire: The Masquerade. Earthblood has some fun ideas and moments, but it’s let down by its extremely basic and repetitive gameplay.
While vampires must struggle with their addiction to blood, werewolves must learn to control their rage. Earthblood follows a werewolf named Cahal, who is part of a pack that engages in eco-terrorism against the wicked Endron corporation. Cahal abandons his pack after accidentally killing a friend in a fit of anger. He is forced to return years later, in order to save his family from the encroaching presence of Endron and its private army.
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Cahal must go on missions to undermine Endron’s activities, and he does this by switching between three forms. His human form can operate machinery, perform silent takedowns on unsuspecting enemies, and kill foes from afar with crossbow fire. His Lupus form looks like a regular wolf, and it moves fast, is extremely stealthy, and can squeeze through vents. Cahal’s Crinos form is used for battles, and it can tear man and machine apart like paper. The player must use these different forms to complete secret missions to defeat Endron. he intention is to weaken the enemy as much as possible before switching to the Crinos form to annihilate them.
This is an interesting idea in concept, but it falls apart in execution. The stealth gameplay barely works due to enemy placement and each section being broken into small areas where everyone is within sight of each other. The player will be lucky to take down one foe before the alarms start blazing and it’s Crinos time. Fortunately, the battles are fun, beat-em ‘up style experiences. The Crinos form can switch between the Agile stance and Heavy stance to shift focus between mobility and damage.
Earthblood captures the spirit of the tabletop RPG in the way it represents the strength of werewolves – Cahal’s Crinos form can shatter objects in the environment by coming into contact with them, and human-sized enemies won’t last long against a single swipe of his claw. The player will need to balance the options available to them in order to survive, as most fights involve being outnumbered by enemies with ranged weapons. A single human grunt won’t last long, but a squad with a mixture of weapons that fire silver bullets are a danger to Cahal.
It doesn’t take long for Earthblood to show its hand, as every mission in the game is an identical procession of the same scenarios. The monotony isn’t helped by the fact that every area looks almost identical – even ones that shouldn’t, like a section involving a prison – and the handful of enemy types are constantly recycled. Earthblood shows almost everything that it has to offer by the end of its first mission, with only a few new enemy types introduced over the course of the game. Cahal can improve his skills via a basic RPG-style progression system, but Earthblood never shakes things up in terms of gameplay, and even the boss battles are just juiced-up versions of regular encounters. This familiarity drags the entire experience down, and its few interesting concepts are lost in a sea of recycled encounters and rooms.
The overall presentation of Earthblood is also lacking, with character models and levels that wouldn’t look out of place on the Xbox 360. The visuals, combined with some cheesy heavy metal tunes that play during the battles, make Earthblood feel two generations older than it is. The story of Earthblood is bare-bones and none of the characters are particularly interesting, with little more than lip service being paid to the expansive lore of the source material. One fun gimmick the game has involves being able to turn into a werewolf during dialogue sequences Mass Effect Renegade-style, allowing the player to cut enemy chatter short and go straight into battle, but moments like that are rarer than they should be.
Earthblood feels like a movie tie-in game from the PS3/Xbox 360 era, with a few extra gimmicks like skill points and stealth sections thrown into the mix. It has moments of simple fun, but there is little depth in its gameplay systems to keep the player engaged for long. The Werewolf: The Apocalypse license is little more than window-dressing, and fans who want to check out something more faithful to the tabletop RPG should seek out Heart of the Forest instead.
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Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood will be released for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on February 4. 2021. Screen Rant was provided with a digital code for the Xbox Series X version of the game for the purpose of this review.
2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)
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About The Author
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Scott has been writing for Screen Rant since 2016 and regularly contributes to The Gamer. He has previously written articles and video scripts for websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, and TopTenz.
A graduate of Edge Hill University in the UK, Scott started out as a film student before moving into journalism. It turned out that wasting a childhood playing video games, reading comic books, and watching movies could be used for finding employment, regardless of what any career advisor might tell you. Scott specializes in gaming and has loved the medium since the early ‘90s when his first console was a ZX Spectrum that used to take 40 minutes to load a game from a tape cassette player to a black and white TV set. Scott now writes game reviews for Screen Rant and The Gamer, as well as news reports, opinion pieces, and game guides. He can be contacted on LinkedIn.
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