[PlayStation 5] Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood Review

by the_nmac

Years after letting rage take over you, you return to help them finish the war against Endron. Check our Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood review!

A unique experience full of savage combat and mystical adventures, inspired by the famous role-playing game.
You are Cahal, a powerful Garou who chose to go into exile after losing control of his destructive rage. You can transform into a wolf and a Crinos, a huge ferocious beast. You must master the three forms and powers of human, wolf and Crinos to punish those who defile Gaia, Mother Earth. But your worst enemy is yourself: if you don’t contain your rage, it can destroy you once again…
Each form has its advantages: the wolf can sneak around undetected, Cahal as a human can interact with other people, and the Werewolf can unleash its rage to tear enemies apart. This rage is your greatest asset but also your weakness…
On his quest for redemption and blood, Cahal plays a crucial role in the great war between the Garou and Endron, a powerful oil company that serves the Wyrm, a destructive spirit ravaging the planet.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood from Cyanide Studio and Nacon is a tale inspired by the classic role-playing game Werewolf: The Apocalypse by Whitewolf games. The story and lore are all able to live in this universe, but you won’t be creating your own werewolf character for this one. You are Cahal – a powerful werewolf – whose pack is waging war against Endron, your typical evil environment destroying company… but it’s not that simple. Endron is working for the Wyrm, an evil entity that wants to destroy the world!

You start five years earlier than the events you’ll be playing through for most of the game, with Cahal as a member of his tribe. However, in a battle with Endron, he suffers a great loss, and rage takes over, making him go too far. He leaves to clears things out in his head and to stop himself from doing more harm. Five years later, doing a nearby job with a friend, he finds out that Endron is planning an attack against his tribe, so he decides to go and help them. This ends up pulling Cahal back into the war.

Cahal has different forms to take on. He can be a human, allowing him to blend in with other people and have conversations. He can become a wolf, allowing him to sneak through vents and move around easier without being detected. Finally, when combat has to happen, he will turn into a Crinos – what you know as a werewolf. The Crinos will be able to hack and slash their way through most fights. It has two stances, one focusing on speed and one focusing on power. You can change at any time while in the Crinos mode by hitting the R2 button while fighting. For tougher enemies and bosses, you will be switching back and forth. There is also a more powerful frenzy mode that I will get into in a bit.

Is the game an open-world experience or a linear story to follow? Actually, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood falls firmly in the middle. You will have two major hub worlds that you can explore, and the two hubs will have spots that branch off into levels, usually leading you into Endron facilitates that you will enter and try to sabotage or destroy as you search for information. You will get your missions in the hub world, then have markers directing you to your next location to go visit.

This particular game does not use a traditional experience system for gaining levels. You do have abilities to invest points on a grid to make yourself more powerful, and you will get some points for completing missions or for completing certain milestones. But if you want to buff up, you will have to spend most of your time in wolf mode since this will give you access to Penumbra Vision. Penumbra Vision is something that will remind you of the excellent Batman: Arkham Assylum. It will highlight other characters and enemies, allowing you to plan your attack. When you move, it will turn off. The other thing that Penumbra Vision will do is highlight spirits, totems in the facilities, or life that has grown through cracks in the pavement. They will appear as white dots when you’re in wolf form. Keep your eyes open on these so that when you see them, you can get closer to absorb them, adding to your ability point meter. What did annoy me is that these are missable – especially once you leave your hub area – so you can’t go back to older levels and find them. My biggest gripe was that these were also related to a trophy that asks that you find all of them. For the most part, the trophy list is actually really solid, but this particular one will require a full extra playthrough if you miss any of them after you beat the game.

You’ll find most levels tend to be laid out the same way, but you can choose to play as a human or wolf when exploring the facilities. You will wander around the facility through empty hallways before reaching bigger areas with guards that you need to take out. I always tried to do this stealthy by sneaking around as the wolf and taking guards out one by one, not being seen. While you are sneaking around, you can gain access to computers to disable cameras, open doors, or turn off turrets.

If you fail to be stealthy and are caught, you will go into Crinos mode, requiring you to fight. There will be doors – which I refer to as monster closets – that will dispatch guards once you defeat the ones in the area and will keep dispatching them for a while. If you managed to destroy the panels beside them, when they come out, they will get electrocuted on the way out, causing significant damage before you’ve even laid a finger on them. These are key to making the earlier battles easier to survive.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood will definitely push the stealth options when you play it. I found the stealth to be very basic, but it worked – most of the time. There would still be moments when I was caught, and it didn’t feel quite fair, but what do you do? Fight, I guess! And I got pretty good at it. And even though there were still more powerful enemies I couldn’t take out, I was usually able to sneak around, take out some guards, get to a terminal, open a door from it and sneak without being caught.

When I did fight, I found myself running around in the Agile Mode, damaging guards enough to grab and execute them. Executing them caused my rage meter to fill up quickly, causing me to go into Frenzy Mode. Basically, you’re way more powerful when in Frenzy Mode, making destroying the tougher enemies significantly easier. I definitely took all of my ability points and funneled them directly into combat skills for a boost to rage and heath. By the end of the game, I had unlocked most of my skills, and my Crinos, for lack of a better term, was a beast.

While the exploration and combat satisfying are satisfying, I do need to complain about the visuals. I played the PlayStation 5 version of the game for this Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood review. Cahal looked great, and it’s obvious a lot of care went into making sure his character model looked just right. Unfortunately, every other character looks terrible! This is evident early on when I met Cahal’s daughter – before I knew it was his daughter. I couldn’t tell she was supposed to be a teenager until the game told me she was! Most facilities use recycled and regurgitated environments over and over again. While loading times are faster for this PlayStation 5 version – thanks to the SSD on the console – there doesn’t seem to be any benefit for this one over the regular PlayStation 4 version. There is also no special DualSense implementation with the haptics or the triggers, which I was disappointed in as well.

After the visuals, once again – other than Cahal’s performance – I do feel the voice acting is pretty wooden, with most characters falling flat. The main bad guy sounds like what you would expect an evil executive to sound like. It’s just not great, and for a game that gets the narrative part right, this kind of breaks the world they are trying to present.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a solid “B” style game that fills the void of what THQ would have put out during the PlayStation 2 – and early PlayStation 3 – generation. It has a solid narrative, with a good combat system, although you will need to suspend disbelief a bit for the number of enemies that will come out of the monster closets, or why bad guys in the other rooms don’t come over and check what’s going on. It’s not a visually stunning game, and the PlayStation 5 version doesn’t fully take advantage of what the console can do, but at least you’ll get some fast loading times.

This Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by NACON.

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