Every objective constantly appears to end in the very same method.
I sneak in, stealth-style, and hide behind the insanely hassle-free waist-high panelled fence. A fast burst of Penumbra Vision – simply another name for that oh-so-common computer game mechanic that lets you translucent walls and strong items – programs me there’s 5 – no, wait, 8! – opponents in between the exit and I.
For a number of minutes, I sweep around the border, carrying out a number of sneaky takedowns, up until somebody, in some way, areas me from the opposite of the space, tickling not just his spider-sense however that of every other soldier in here with me, too. Some huge man with an unfeasibly massive weapon stomps over to where I’m hiding, smashes down the fence I was bent behind, and what do you understand, it’s battle time.
Eventually, you – that’s Cahal, who appears like he plays drums for a Motorhead homage act in his extra time – will take a look around and understand the space that was when filled with fencing and boxes and numerous living, breathing individuals is now totally empty save for a handful of twisted remains and oceans of spilt blood. You jog to the door, press the button and action through, instantly move into a bent position, ear-wig on the neighboring soldiers, and the very same thing takes place all over once again.
To be reasonable, battling in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood – rather a title, eh? – hardly ever feels unfulfilling. It’s overblown and bloody and ruthless, however while the stealth series see you sneak about the location as an interminably forgettable old white man, the battle series, as maybe intimated by the name of the video game, are a little various. The minute things get hairy – no pun meant – he’ll change into an enormous, savage monster and the taking place fight – which is constantly accompanied by a scream of rock music and a throbbing drumbeat – is frenzied, and generally enjoyable. Kick the last remains to the ground and Cahal will change back into his humanoid kind, helpfully representing the battle, in the meantime a minimum of, is over.
Stylistically – even mechanically – it seems like something of a love letter to the older action video games us old-timers matured with. It takes its hints and motivation from old-school Metal Gear Solid and the very first number of Resident Evil video games, from the set-pieces and animal style to ball game. Towards completion, however, the tribute teeters precariously near to pure rip-off, with the last act occurring on an oil well that’s noticeably comparable to Metal Gear’s Big Shell, total with a helpful vent system for Snak- I suggest Cahal – to wiggle through.
But while Snake was quite proficient at surpassing opponents unspotted, Cahal’s endeavors aren’t rather as effective, undoubtedly since the chances appear ever stacked versus him. There are constantly many opponents rammed into each location that even with their terrible AI and a handful of crossbow bolts (you’ll discover not to count on them; you’ll never ever have adequate), you’re most likely going to wind up getting your claws out prior to you reach the opposite.
I’m not grumbling about that precisely, however though completely perfunctory, the fight will start to feel really samey, really rapidly. Every space is set up in an unclear approximation of the one that came prior to it, with fencing and stacked boxes and oil drums, and the very same hooligans and soldiers stomping around the location. Occasionally, you’ll breach a workplace with an easily opened PC with which you can toggle electronic doors, turrets, and electronic cameras on or off. It’s a cool mechanic, especially coupled with the capability to undermine the entrances through which supports go into. But this is basically it for the complete period of the video game, advertisement infinitum, with a handful of relatively plain employer fights included for great procedure.
Because a lot of the video game is committed to fight, it stands to factor that there are numerous techniques and unique relocations to change things up. There are two metered combat devices; Rage, which enables you to pull off various unique attacks that can be unlocked by collecting spirit points and advancing your skill tree, and Frenzy, which essentially boosts Cahal’s strength and stamina for a limited period. The former is generated by light/heavy attacks, takedowns, combos, or via whiskey bottles secreted around the place, while the latter builds up during a scrap. Frenzy is pretty useful, particularly if you’re taking on a boss, but beyond Rage’s helpful self-heal ability, all the other offensive tricks seem to do essentially the same thing.
It’s not even as if the story carries it, either. Just another reimagining of the David versus Goliath tale – or Werewolf versus Big Corpo, in this case – the story is stuffed with plenty of explosions and untimely deaths and agonisingly shallow character archetypes (and one dreadful stereotype of a native woman that potentially falls just on the wrong side of racist), as well as quite a bit about the fragility of each Garou/werewolf and their ability to balance their humanity without giving in to The Rage. And while there’s a little space given to the lore of the tabletop RPG on which the game is based, it’s not nearly enough; too many of Werewolf: The Apocalypse’s more supernatural elements go unexplained entirely.
Furthermore, the in-game world is absolutely tiny, which means there’s zero opportunity for organic exploration; a shame, really, as having a bigger world to explore would help balance the repetitive combat. Sadly, the hub world of your Caern – your pack and its human allies – is curiously empty and always suspiciously close to the enemy’s numerous camps.
There’s more, but none of it particularly impressive. A prison in which no-one ever relocations about and man-sized air vents are left open all over the place. Atypical discussion prompts that ask you to select a direction of travel rather than actual words of dialogue. A lacklustre story and characters that are so superficial, it’s hard to forge any emotional connections with any of them.
I completed a full 96 per cent of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood before I encountered technical issues. Finishing off one particular enemy triggered a crash and sent me back to the dashboard, and every time you reboot, the game helpfully tells you how much you’ve completed. It was a maddening sequence, but I got through it in the end not by killing him, but by Roaring him off the narrow oil rig platform (and trying not to follow him over the side, which I did do… numerous times).
Though full of ideas, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood leans too heavily on games that have come before it and doesn’t quite have the courage to expand its own innovations. Yes, I played to completion without complaint, and yes it’s a bloody, good romp at times, but that doesn’t mean it’s a especially unique or unforgettable one.