At first blush, Werewolf The Apocalypse: Earthblood looks like the kind of game I’d enjoy. An action-RPG where you play as a dude who can transform into a werewolf and shred up enemies certainly sounds fun. And it’s based off of a popular tabletop roleplaying game, so there’s plenty of source material to draw from.
Unfortunately, Earthblood is just not very good. The game is not fun. It’s stiff and looks dated. The graphics are the least of its problems, but they’re nothing to write home about, either.
It doesn’t help that the game opens to a whole bunch of very bad, very stilted dialogue between a bunch of very generic, gruff, painfully dull characters, none of whom you feel like you’ll get to like any better as the story goes on. A game about werewolves should not have such a boring opening. A game should not make you want to quit in its first five minutes. Earthblood tempted me sorely.
After this mind-numbingly tedious, awkward intro you set off on your first mission. It starts off as a clunky stealth mission into an Endron facility. Endron is the evil corporation that serves as antagonist here. First half of the mission is stealth, lots of sneaking, some crossbow takedowns, you know the drill. It’s not the fun type of stealth from a game like Dishonored. It’s tedious. You can switch back and forth from human to wolf during this segment, and you’ll need to in order to navigate certain obstacles.
When stealth is no longer an option you transform into a werewolf. This is more fun. You’re huge and insanely powerful and can just rip and shred your way through dozens of armed guards at a time. Some more difficult baddies with shields provide a bit more challenge, but not much. You have two different stances to choose from in this shape—one more nimble and agile, the other focused on stronger attacks.
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And okay, I can get behind this part of the game. It’s nothing special but I enjoy the occasional ultra-violence, and tearing up puny humans with my giant wolf claws is a fine diversion. It’s pretty basic combat but it’s fast and ferocious and, other than some awkward camera angles, enjoyable enough.
After you make your way through maybe a hundred of the poor bastards you face off against the first real boss fight of the game: Another werewolf. An evil werewolf who just killed your wife.
This fight is also decent fun, making much more use of your dodge ability and timing, and it’s certainly a lot more challenging than the mooks you ripped through before—but I still beat him on my first try. That’s on normal difficulty, mind you, so it’s possible amping up the challenge would make all this more enticing.
In any case, after this the game jumps forward five years. Your character, Cahal, is exiled from the pack after accidentally killing his friend while still in berserker mode. He didn’t mean to, he was enraged with grief, but he’s still out. I’d care if I actually cared about Cahal but I don’t.
The story picks up a few years later and pretty much plays out the same as before—bad writing, stilted dialogue, unlikable characters and repetitive missions broken up into stealth/rampage. Rinse and repeat. Enemy AI leaves plenty to be desired which can be funny at times, but isn’t a mark in the game’s favor.
Earthblood is apparently nine or ten hours long depending on how you play, but I’ve had my fill. It’s just too much of a drag to complete. Sometimes you just have to know when to quit, and since I won’t be offering up a scored review, that time is now. Maybe if it had just dispensed with the story stuff and the stealth altogether, and instead been a rampage action-platformer where you navigate increasingly difficult levels and foes it would be a game worth your time and money. As it stands . . . hard pass.
Bottom line: Earthblood is a janky, tedious game with an unlikable cast and poorly written dialogue. Some fun werewolf combat does not make up for the rest of the game’s myriad shortcomings. Stick with the tabletop RPG version of the game. Or Werewolf The Apocalypse: Heart of the Forest for something entirely different.
Check out the first 20 minutes of of my time with the game below if you want to see what I’m talking about: