Werewolf: The Apocalypse Review

Matt Lorrigan

The resurgence of the ‘double-A’ video game has been welcomed with open arms by the gaming community in recent years. How we’ve longed for a return to the halcyon days of the original Xbox, when mid-tier publishers could put out fun and interesting games without the sizable investment required for a blockbuster title. However, with our rose-tinted contact lenses pressed firmly against our corneas, it’s all too easy to ignore another forgotten truth from that era - that AA game development often resulted in a few stinkers, as well. If you’re asking yourself what this has got to do with Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood, well, I have some rather bad news to break to you.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood is based upon the tabletop board game of the same name, and sees players stuffed into the muscular, animorphing form of Cahal. As a werewolf (or Garou in the lore) Cahal has returned to his pack after half a decade of self-exile to help protect them from the comically villainous energy company Endron, whose pollution-spewing facilities are creeping ever-closer to the werewolves’ home turf.

It’s a cool setting, even for players without any knowledge of the tabletop RPG like myself, with the game offering a clear and concise summation of the world and lore upfront. The werewolves’ home bases, hidden within forests or deserts  - the caerns -  are visually impressive locations, with an air of magic and mystery about them. It’s a shame, then, that the vast majority of your time in Earthblood is spent stalking the dull, grey halls of Endron’s many near-indistinguishable factories and training centres.

Stalking is the perfect word here, and that’s because of the one thing that Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood gets really right, is the transformations. Cahal, while in his default Homid form, can instantly shift to a wolf-like Lupus form and back again with the simple press of a button, and it’s effortlessly cool. This allows you to slink through vents or behind conveniently-placed cover, avoiding guards, before shifting back to Cahal’s humanoid Homid form to hack a computer or incapacitate an unwitting enemy. 

At its heart, Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood is a stealth game, as almost every mission begins with you entering some manner of concrete and metal building, unseen. Using Cahal’s connection to the spirit world, you can see enemy outlines and XP-giving flora through walls and surfaces (as well as, bizarrely, security camera wiring - what’s the spiritual connection there?), allowing you to plot the optimum path to your objective. The guards’ AI often yo-yos between completely oblivious and incredibly perceptive, and you’ll spend way too much time watching them awkwardly walk in circles or turn exactly 90-degrees in place, their stiff animations reminiscent of games decades older.

In the likely event that you are spotted by a guard, either because the AI suddenly decided it could see you from a mile off, or you simply got bored of waiting for a guard to finish their loop, you’re almost always forced to initiate combat. That’s where your third transformation comes in. Take a single hit from a weapon, and Cahal shifts into his deadly Crinos form, a full-on hulking werewolf the size of a car. The gameplay then, in turn, shifts from a budget Metal Gear Solid to brawler, your Crinos form kitted out with a health bar and deadly abilities. 

There’s a kind of mindless joy to be found here, as you tear apart multiple enemies with a single swipe, or execute a single foe to build up enough of a meter to keep your special abilities flowing. Each guarded room contains conspicuous industrial doors, through which waves of enemies will pour in an attempt to take you down, and there’s a satisfaction to seeing nothing but bloodsoaked walls and steel when the fight is finished. However, once Endron begins throwing jacked-up mutated guards - like little knock-off Banes that absorb damage like a sponge - and what feels like endless waves of fodder, even these fights quickly grow tiresome.

And then, after you’ve set off the alarms, causing dozens of guards and soldiers to come running to take you down, what happens? Nothing at all, apparently. As soon as you leave the bloodbath behind, the rest of the facility remains completely and utterly oblivious to your presence, allowing you to return to padding through the vents and creeping past guards. It’s obvious that developer Cyanide didn’t want to punish players for messing up a stealth section early on, but it's an odd and immersion-breaking problem. Is no one worried about what happened? Where did those twenty-or-so extra guards come from, and is the management not concerned that nobody reported back?

It’s something that feels out of place in a modern video game, and it’s seemingly compounded by the disparity between the game’s vision and execution. Third-person action games are one of the most expensive genres to produce in the industry these days, often associated with modern blockbusters - it’s why indies often take on 2D or isometric view points - and it simply seems like the developer on Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood didn’t have the money, or the time, to bring the game’s presentation up to snuff. While Cahal appears every bit the modern, gruff protagonist you might expect, many of the other character models look ancient by comparison, and every single one suffers from stiff, unnatural animation. The voice acting is really poor, and even the cutscenes are often blurry, low-resolution, and somehow look worse than the actual in-engine gameplay.

All of this is to say that, if you’d told me that Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood was a modern remaster of an old Xbox or PS2 game, I’d have believed you. It feels like a relic of an era that has long been left behind, and doesn’t even live up to the standards of many classic titles from that time. From a pure gameplay perspective, it isn’t terrible, but often suffers from simply being boring and repetitive. When this is compounded with its significant presentational issues and lacklustre storytelling, it all just ends up a bit of a howling mess.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse

Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood fails to satisfy as a stealth game or a brawler, and is let down by poor AI and shoddy presentation. At its best, it’s playable, but commits the cardinal sin of just being boring.

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The music actually is decent, with an edgy metal vibe, but the voice acting is pretty dismal at times.


A handful of areas are able to show off some nice art design and visuals. However, you'll spend most of your time looking at dull grey vents and corridors, and the game's cutscenes and character animations are unbelievably dated.


At its best, Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood is perfectly playable, but it's all very dull and repetitive, and level design isn't all that inspired. Poor enemy AI means the stealth isn't satisfying, and the game's brawls feel like they go on for far too long.


Lacklustre storytelling, unsatisfying visuals and regular bugs drag the game down, and there's very little that'll make you want to see this through to the end.


This is actually a pretty easy list to get through, but not a particularly interesting one. Read twenty notes, kill one hundred enemies, you know the drill here. The challenge will come from wanting to get through it all.

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