I grew up playing plenty of pen and paper RPGs. Vampire: the Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, D&D, Hero System, and plenty of others. This also opened the world of TCGs with Magic: the Gathering leading my group into playing Jyhad and Rage (the Werewolf TCG). The Hero System and Werewolf were my favorite pen and paper games and Rage was a premium and amazing card game.
My expectations were cautiously high when I heard about the release of Werewolf: The Apocalypse Earthblood. The video game version of Vampire: the Masquerade, called Bloodlines was incredible for its time and I hoped for more of the same here. What was delivered fell very short.
A game like Werewolf should have a very strong story with deep lore. Decades of world building has created something unique in the universe and while things are mentioned in the game, it is never fully explored. Bad things happen, then you need to constantly harass “Bad Corporation A” as much as possible to defend nature and the tribe.
The story isn’t great but it doesn’t destroy the game. The delivery of the story, though, does. I felt a constant pull of PS3 design choices as I played through a chunk of the game. Voice acting was fine for some, good for others and… existed for the rest. There was no strong hook to the story and the delivery was done through robotic animations from the characters. It all felt very archaic and hinged on a one note story line. If you are looking at the title for a solid story, this isn’t going to deliver.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse is a mixed bag. Character models and animations are stiff and a generation or two behind current norms. In combat and exploration, things are fast and smooth, but that is the only place. Granted the most important place for smooth animation is when you are actually playing, but it feels like two different games stuck together.
On PS5 the game looks far below the expectations set by other titles. FIFA 21 is no great upgrade that showcases next gen titles, but it looks significantly better in every aspect and feels much closer to a “next gen” title. Then look at games like Miles Morales or even the God of War upgrade patch and you start to see that this was never intended for the PS5.
Not a huge deal for a budget title, but at an asking price of $50 USD, I can’t call this budget. Just because Godfall released at $70 USD does not mean $50 USD is a budget price. That’s close to a full game price. I generally don’t throw pricing into the mix, but this title is obviously not meant to be triple-A but it is priced close to the expected price.
This is where Werewolf: The Apocalypse really missed the mark for me. I do appreciate that there are three forms that can fill different roles in gameplay; Human, wolf and werewolf. As a wolf, you get to sneak and explore. As a human, you can converse and shoot people with a crossbow. As a werewolf, you slice and dice and make a bloody mess. Of the three, werewolf/crinos form is the most fun.
There is one of the problems though, there are more than three forms in the game. Homid (human), Glabro (humanish wolfish), Crinos (werewolf), Hispo (big bad wolf), and Lupus (wolf). This was key in making the pen and paper game compelling and while I understand the cutting of Glabro and Hispo forms are meant to streamline the title, I didn’t get into Werewolf: The Apocalypse for a streamlined game.
Another issue is character creation, or lack there of. This is a game that is much closer to an action RPG where you choose a character and fill out a skill tree. With games like Divinity, Cyberpunk 2077, and many others on the market that allow character customization at the start, this is a huge missed opportunity. You never feel connected to the main protagonist and the fact that he is rendered in much more detail than the rest of the characters adds to that disconnection.
Combat is fun enough though. Beating up guys in Crinos form is bloody and brutal. The rest is generic and fairly boring. You just go through the game, run to the required locations, fight some, and move on. There is a true lack of investment in the story or character which makes the game feel much more like a brawler than a true RPG.
Ultimately, Werewolf: The Apocalypse seems to lack ambition. I know the team did their research and understand the Umbra and the world and all the intricacies of the system, they just did not implement them fully into the game.
After playing other titles that draw you into the world and make you care about your character(s) and the world, it is sorely missing from Werewolf. I hope this is the start of something bigger, but I do not expect this title to do well out in the wild so the future of the series is up in the air. More time with the game or more ambition could have fixed many of the issues, but as it stands, the game is a clawless shell of what it could have been.
Want to support BacktotheGaming.com and our chosen charities? Follow this link for 30 days of free Amazon Prime. It costs you nothing and we get a little kick back from Amazon. 20% of which will go to charity.
Sometimes we use affiliate links in our media. All links support the site and help keep food on the table and servers running. We will keep an updated list of affiliates on each article. Humble Store, GameNerdz.com, Amazon. If you like what we do, shop through our link and help support the site.
For the latest in gaming and entertainment, be sure to like Back to the Gaming on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. You can also support us via Patreon, which allows us to create better content for our audience.