Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood Review (PC)

Werewolf The Apocalypse Earthblood

The initial data from the world of Werewolf: The Apocalypse promise an excellent basis for the creation of original role-playing games, action games, and even global real-time strategies. Fortunately, mythology allows you to roam: here and endless bloody wars, generous with epic events; and ancient deities existing in the modern technogenic world; and curious features of the universe; and dozens of different werewolf breeds (there are even shark werewolves).

In short, it is surprising that such a rich intellectual property did not become the progenitor of a couple of successful game series. On the contrary, as many as three games under the flag of Werewolf: The Apocalypse have been canceled at different times. But here’s a sudden abundance: last fall, a role-playing visual novel with the subtitle Heart of the Forest reached digital stalls, and this year the action game Earthblood was released on current platforms.

It’s a pity, they cut out a monologue where Ifen laments that he wanted to get into Dark Souls, but did not pass the casting

Werewolves in polygons

The first thing that catches your eye is an insanely unpleasant and rejecting picture. And a dog with her, with outdated graphics – we know dozens of examples when the visual part did not use the entire technological arsenal of a video card, but was implemented skillfully and with style. In Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood there is no hint of aesthetics, and the video sequence evokes animal horror: unnatural animation of everything, nightmarish physics of hair and particles, ineptly chosen and terribly tiring colors.

Levels also deal a crushing blow to the sense of beauty. Most of Earthblood will have to clean up faceless box-arenas, differing from each other only in size and waves of enemies. The developers did not bother to think of a single interesting place of action, and therefore the fights take place within the walls of dull laboratories, dull garages, ordinary production workshops and some kind of improvised rooms for dirt.

During the battles, the environment fervently scatters in different directions and immediately disappears ...

During the battles, the environment fervently scatters in different directions and immediately disappears …

Opponents are expressionless to the same extent as locations: gray warriors of varying degrees of weaponry (from simple shotguns to sniper rifles loaded with silver bullets), mechs, mutated soldiers and, of course, bosses. The culminating foes – lycanthropes, super-mechs and corrupted ancient spirits – do not stand out from the crowd. They are just as ugly boring – both in design and combat features, and are defeated mainly by frantic exclamations. But what is there – the whole game at any of the difficulty levels is played with the same uncomplicated method …

Under the tail

It’s no wonder that after just half an hour of communication with Earthblood, the brain requires a rest from such a routine, as if half a day had passed. Even mechanics, which in theory should add variety, do not help, such as the ability of the protagonist to take three different forms: homid, lupus and crinos. The first – human – for controlling control panels and clumsy crossbow shooting in stealth segments. Also, in human form, you can fold the neck of enemies. But, as for me, the form of lupus – an ordinary gray wolf – is more handy for “quiet” passage. In it, movement across locations is faster, and the guard detects more slowly, and only in this disguise is it allowed to run, jump and crawl into the ventilation.

For successful silent elimination of an enemy, rage is awarded, which can then be used in battle

For successful silent elimination of an enemy, rage is awarded, which can then be used in battle

Crinos, the form of a huge werewolf, is designed exclusively for fierce combat. To spend playing time, by the way, will be mainly in it. In combat, the lycanthrope can switch between two stances – fast or powerful. The choice of additional abilities will depend on this – extremely meager and insipid. For example, in the “accelerated” form, the hero emits a roar, overturning enemies, and in the “strong” form, he is able to make a crushing dash forward, shredding everyone in his path. Also, in battle, the scale of insanity is gradually filled, which, on command, transfers the hero to the state of “wolf crush”. The effect is corresponding – the outgoing damage becomes more.

During the passage, the player is given spirit points, which, if desired, are spent on improving some parameters. Upgrades are divided into two global categories – tactics and combat. Investing in the first one is a waste of time, because none of the offered talents is of any value. That the improvements for the crossbow, which is painful to use, that the improvements in the shape of the lupus, which, due to the clumsy stealth, are simply meaningless. Combat skills are another matter, so it is highly recommended to improve them – not for fun, but to preserve nerve cells. After all, battles stretch and stretch over time, there are more and more opponents, and death promises a return to the very beginning of the “exciting” skirmish. So the opportunity to replenish health through damage or increase the power of abilities are not at all superfluous …

The wolf may not perform in the circus, but he still prepares the numbers ...

The wolf may not perform in the circus, but he still prepares the numbers …

Wolf life

But, as it turned out, the most severe test in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has nothing to do with the gameplay – it would not howl at the incoherent mess that is passed off as a plot. The expansive universe of Werewolf: The Apocalypse is hastily immersed in a clumsy video – gauge the scale – gleaned from stock clips and TV footage. From the mythical story of the three divine pillars of the universe and how Wyrm, one of them, went mad, the narrative moves to momentary collisions. A group of eco-activists, mostly werewolves, are fighting against the sinister oil conglomerate Endron. After all, the villainous corporation not only pollutes the environment, but also literally serves the Wyrm, helping him to embrace the corruption of the whole world.

Against the background of unequal confrontation, the main character of the play, Kahal, has his own personal tragedy: his wife dies during the sortie. The sufferer does not find a better way out than to leave the pack, abandon his own daughter and, of course, deliberately reflect because of the “difficult, but forced” decision. But now, years later, clouds are gathering over the forests, and the clone of the hero Matthew McConaughey from the movie “The Power of Fire” is forced to return to his comrades-in-arms, destroy the plans of a terrible corporation and establish contact with his daughter.

The werewolf camp is located just a couple of tens of meters from the "citadel of evil", into which the hero repeatedly invades during the game. Conveniently!

The werewolf camp is located just a couple of tens of meters from the “citadel of evil”, into which the hero repeatedly invades during the game. Conveniently!

The unoriginal and straightforward plot to yawn regularly tries to put pressure on pity, killing one “positive” hero after another, sometimes to heighten the tragedy also with the hands of Kahal – under the pretext of forced defense, of course. Emotionally, this works in almost no way, because the authors do not even try to reveal any of the characters (including the main one). The whole dramatic arsenal boils down to voicing motivation / agony out loud. The story itself repeats the same narrative pattern in cycles, leading the player to one of two indistinct and slightly different outcomes. The ending depends on a single choice and, by the way, in any case, remains open, hinting at an inevitable sequel. Everyone would have such self-confidence …

In some places, it seems that part of the plot is generated by a neural network – such scenario trifles as cause-and-effect relationships, the validity of the actions of the heroes and common sense are so famously thrown overboard. Here is one of the most revealing episodes: Kahal, in order to get into the prison controlled by Endron, pretends to be a famous (!) Serial killer, gives himself up to be arrested and, obviously, condemned to the fullest extent … can penetrate closed objects with ease. Yes, and his appearance seems to be known to the representatives of the corporation … And yet the brilliant plan works in an amazing way – Kahal finds himself in the coveted place of imprisonment, in order to break through the security in ten minutes, smashing everything in his path …

The prison level, however, presents an interesting observation. Judging by those scraps of mechanics that are found in the dungeons, the game was originally planned with a slight role-playing bias. For example, here there is a whole quest chain where you need to negotiate with a local authority by completing a couple of “wet” cases for him without noise and dust. Alas, it doesn’t matter what was originally planned; what matters is what happened at the end of the path – a terrifying and awkward monster that brings only animal melancholy.

Pros:

  • not a bad crash test for a computer mouse and human patience.

Cons:

  • outdated and rejecting picture;
  • monotonous and faceless locations;
  • boring and uninteresting gameplay;
  • an incoherent plot filled with tiring dialogues and wild narrative absurdities;
  • all the more or less curious ideas are implemented frustratingly lousy.

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