Cyanide Studios achieves with Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, a hybrid that covers many edges without shining.
The arrival of Werewolf:
The Apocalypse – Earthblood brings the clash of 2 interesting perspectives to the table. On the one hand, the return of Cyanide Studios, along with Nacon on this occasion, a reliable developer with years of experience in AA titles. While on the other hand, we are presented with a methodology always as attractive as lycanthropy, which has a twist.
The Apocalypse is a semi-open world RPG and action-adventure that uses the different transformations of the protagonist to distribute the mechanics of the entire game: interaction with characters and objects, stealth, and combat.
What does it result in? A proposal that seeks to be fresh and attractive but that with the passing of the hours, that ambition to offer a recommendation with too many nuances with such little depth plays against itself.
Fighting our own demons
The Apocalypse – Earthblood is based on a homonymous role-playing game that focuses on a fight carried out by the Garou, a community of Werewolves that live in the wild and serve Gaia, a deity that is represented as the ” embodied nature ”.
This community, which lives far from society and technological advances, is involved in a war without quarter against the Enron group, a multinational that explores the planet’s resources and has among its plans some ambitions that affect the development of weapons and super soldiers.
Using the wyrm’s corruption, a spirit being, and other supernatural elements from these Garou cultures.
In all this context, we play Cahal, a member of this Garou community who, together with his wife, daughter, and other members, emphatically fights against these corporations until a fateful mission makes our protagonist go into exile for several years from this. Fight until fate makes the roads with his companions and against the company he swore to destroy meet again.
The story of the game comes and goes in a dance of hackneyed elements and plot twists that will come from miles away, but it rescues an attractive point in its narrative and is how these Garou lose control of their actions when they transform into werewolves – baptized Crinos -.
In this instance, they have no reason and act by the impulse that runs through their veins, transforming themselves into murderous machines that do not distinguish friend from enemy.
With this context, Werewolf: The Apocalypse also brings to the table that idealistic and tangible fight against large corporations that exploit resources and irreversibly damage our planet, with the consequences that we already know.
Here it is taken to the extreme since it includes a werewolf, transformations, an epidemic of creatures, and silver bullets. Still, the supernatural nuance does not detract from where it wants to point its narrative structure.
As for its gameplay, the adventure pigeonholes each of its mechanics well depending on the Cahal transformation. When he is in his human form, we can interact with other characters, control technology, make our way using doors or deactivating cameras.
If we go to its wolf form – or lupus – the dynamics move to stealth: we will infiltrate through ventilation pipes or go unnoticed in areas with enemies to not be discovered and avoid combat. Not fighting is within the possibilities and is a tool provided by Werewolf: The Apocalypse to avoid more than one area.
Third and last is the most attractive transformation in the game, and it is that of a werewolf, intended purely for combat and in which we will only transform when we are facing enemies. We will automatically return to human form once we have liquidated to all rivals.
Controlling this form is the most enriching of the whole adventure and really has the most fun when going through the experience.
Transformed into Crinos, we will have 2 different positions to engage in combat: agile and massive. The first is much faster and faster attacks, while the second position is raised to resist blows and not lose stability, while we link the most powerful combos.
Both forms of fighting can be interspersed indefinitely during the confrontations and enhance our variants in the attack.
Going to the plain, we have a weak and a strong attack, skills that we are developing in a more than known skill tree, and we also have the possibility of a dodge and a jump to give more dynamics to the movement of our werewolf.
My problems with combat were not as many as with the structure of the game in general. Controlling the beast in action transmits that feeling of vehemence and fury in each of the fights, with rivals who will use everything from brute force to great machines to bring us down and even the use of silver bullets, our kryptonite that in the game is translated to reduce the maximum capacity of life.
In this hack ‘n slash edge, we distribute as many attacks as we also receive them. We are a sponge of bullets and blows that end up taking a little magic out of that solemnity imposed by the creature we transform.
Let’s not instill a real terror, but it only translates into a beast that claws its way and destroys everything in front of it. I would have liked the dodge to have another significance or that we had a chance to block the attacks we receive.
After all, once we can learn to heal ourselves, it is a matter of recharging our “rage” bar to recharge life and not be in danger.
As often happens in this type of game, it is fun to wipe out waves of enemies, but the real challenges are not quantity but quality. Here we will have many bosses that range from human-controlled bipedal robots to other werewolves, in fights that point more to a tactical aspect than to crushing buttons.
But really, combat, as I said above, is the point that least dislodged me when completing this adventure that took me approximately 11 hours.
The Apocalypse manages a semi-open world mission structure: we have a base, and from there we go, without moving so much, to fulfill the different missions, which almost all handle the same methodology: we arrive at a location and go through room after room, opting for use stealth or (if we are discovered or want to be found) transform ourselves into werewolves and solve everything with sharp claws.
If we engage in combat, we will have to eliminate all the enemies in that area and return to our human side. There are no alarms activated in other zones, nor are there repercussions in the rest of the level. What happens there stays there.
Another point that throws me off its mission structure is that it doesn’t matter if we take the path of stealth or violence: we have no rewards in any way.
The way to gain experience is by finding spirits using our “Umbral Vision” (like a Sorcerer’s Sense in The Witcher 3), which also helps us show where the enemies are and where we can access points to deactivate cameras or open closed doors.
This constant repetition takes much of the excitement out of the game. While we go through various locations throughout the adventure, we feel like we’re doing the same thing all the time and many times without direct reward for the effort we make.
Fighting is entertaining, but after going through 5 completely equal areas, we prefer to transform ourselves into wolves and go unnoticed to continue with the story’s development.
During my experience with the game, I had no problems in terms of performance, and even when the screen was covered in enemies and blood, the fps were relatively stable and fluid. Graphically, we are facing an AA game. Although we are already in the middle of the path of the old and new generation of consoles, there is not an audiovisual potential sufficiently striking to highlight it.
Suppose I notice well-worked character modeling and scenarios with a certain level of detail despite its more limited budget. The transitions between the different Cahal forms are well achieved, although some locations sin of the same repetition as the same methodology of the game.
The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a bunch of good ideas with a midway execution. If Cyanide had emphasized a little more on some edges without spilling efforts everywhere, the result would have differed.
It is not a disastrous game far from it, but the constant repetition is something that begins to weigh from the first hours of the fun, and its most attractive point, the combat, is tarnished with its systematic modus operandi.
We carry out this analysis thanks to a code provided by Nacon Spain.