Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has its roots in the tabletop role-playing game known as Werewolf: The Apocalypse by White Wolf Publishing, itself a part of the larger World of Darkness series. Earthblood is developed by Cyanide, in cooperation with White Wolf Publishing, and published by Nacon. If you haven’t heard of the game before, it’s a third person action RPG in which you play as Cahal, an eco-terrorist werewolf. Oh yeah, we’re going there. That’s enough of the Wikipedia entry, though, and let’s get into what makes the game.
When you don’t have the highest spec PC, the options menu is your best friend. On the default max settings, my GTX 1660 and i5 9400F can run the game with no dropped frames, though the CPU does start whirring away loudly. It doesn’t have the most varied set of er, variables, to adjust, and it’s not the most demanding game out there that’s for certain.
The game has controller support be it for your Xbox one or Dualshock 4 on PC, besides the keyboard and mouse. Let me just say it right now, it’s probably better to play it using a controller instead. In the tutorial level, the on-screen instructions didn’t always match with the keyboard/mouse set, and I felt it was somewhat awkward to control, oddly enough. Controller keys are non-rebindable though, sorry.
I was also a little disappointed to see no accessibility options. At the very least, you do have the Easy, Normal and Hard difficulties with Easy touted for those who simply want to enjoy the story.
I will say, the cinematic cutscenes look really well made, and the letterboxing effect for the opening movie set the mood for the game. However, I confess being let down once I got into the game proper. I could nitpick about the somewhat awkward models which look stiff, the lip flaps for speaking that look strange if you happen to notice them… at least the environments look mostly fine, though I’m sure people with higher expectations will have more to pick apart. The subtitles and text are legible, no overtly fancy fonts used here.
I won’t be criticizing the voice work or music too much either. I find them fitting and decently done. There is some issue where tooltips, like in the tutorial section, can be inaccurate for keyboard/mouse users.
One more thing: as I played more of the game, I gradually felt more motion sick. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason why, but if you’re sensitive to certain visual feedback, that’s your warning for you.
Earthblood tries to blend its stealth elements alongside the wanton destruction possible when you transform. It’s honestly a hit or miss when it comes to the whole sneaky stuff, as I feel the enemy sometimes shouldn’t be spotting me, yet they do. It’s not a stealth game, so I won’t judge it too harshly in that aspect, but where there is stealth, it feels more clunky than anything else.
The combat is fortunately more satisfying, where you can rampage and claw away at every unfortunate being that dare stands in your way. The regular mooks are, as the name suggests, aren’t much to worry about in Normal difficulty, with the ones with actual health bars and tells to their attacks the ones who would be doing the bulk of damage to you. There are the guys with shotguns, with shields, and those packing silver bullets – the last of which will reduce your max HP for the duration of combat. There are the bosses too, of course. I’m pretty careless and just do button mashing which gets me by in the early game, shh. You can dodge attacks as well, if you’re able to react fast enough. It helps if you get used to the timing as well.
As a puny human, you have access to a crossbow, which you’ll need to reload and pick up ammo for. Honestly, you can forget about that as your main form of combat will be your transformation. You can find flasks of what I assume are whiskey to build up that rage meter and go hog wild (wolf wild?). You’re able to transform into your smaller wolf form for faster sneaking, where you understandably won’t be able to interact with doors or other blasted things that require opposable thumbs.
The game is pretty much linear, and shuttles you from mission to mission. Exploration isn’t the game’s selling point, though you would want to go sniffing around with your Penumbra Vision to find Spirits of interest to get levels and points to work on that skill tree of yours.
There’s no manual saving, the game auto saving whenever you reach the relatively plenty checkpoints. A good thing too, or else it can start feeling like a slog instead.
As mentioned, you’re an eco-terrorist werewolf, which honestly sounds badass in a campy way? With it being part of the World of Darkness world, and no initial exposition dump on you, there probably will be terms you’re unsure about that the game may make it seem like you’re expected to know. Which, well, our hero Cahal knows, so you’re mostly spared the “As You Know” kind of story telling.
Other than that, you’ll be learning all about Endron’s nefarious deeds of sucking Gaia – that’s Earth to you – dry without a care, and you’ve got to stop them. The story isn’t anything too special, the inciting incident of Cahal’s abandonment of his pack pretty cliché with copious Man Pain, so it’s up to you to decide if the storytelling is up to your tastes. Cahal could use a chill pill talking about giving Endron workers no mercy for selling their souls to a big bad corporation: some of us gotta work within the system, you know?
Needless to say, I’m not feeling too kindly about the narrative. I’ll give it a chance, at least.
For those who were looking forward to a video game expansion to their tabletop series repertoire, I’ll leave that to you to try if it adequately makes references or adds more to that series. As an outsider who knows nothing of the general Werewolf: The Apocalypse universe, the worst I can say about Earthblood is that it’s serviceable – neither groundbreaking or deserving of panning. Probably a title best enjoyed by fans.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is now available on PC via the Epic Games Store, PS4 and PS5, as well as Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood
A cliché doesn't have to be bad, but being middling in everything simply makes this werewolf only okay.
- Fairly satisfying combat
- Narrative is not especially groundbreaking
- Controls can be awkward
A moderately powerful howl.