Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood
Playing as an anti-hero has always been popular in video games, as you weren’t able to do so before the gaming industry came along—people could only watch them on TV or read about them in novels and comic books. From X-Men’s Wolverine to Charles Bronson in Deathwish, until the past few decades, we could only dream about stepping into the shoes of these sometimes heroic bad boys. Cyanide Studios seems to have recognized this popular theme and have developed their spin on the well-worn anti-hero formula. Enter: Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood.
Earthblood is an interesting beast (sort of a pun). In it, you play as a powerful Garou (werewolf) named Cahal. His backstory involves falling out of favor with his original clan of fellow werewolves after one of their missions went sideways.
The game takes place years after this unfortunate event and Cahal is now a loner-werewolfie. However, a multinational energy megacorp, Endron (read: Enron), is rampaging all over planet earth in its bid to plunder its energy resources. This threatens Cahal’s extended family and allows him to redeem himself and finally shed his guilty past.
One of the things I like about Earthblood is that it gives players the freedom to tackle objectives any way they see fit. You can utilize diplomacy in your human form, stealth in your wolf form, or let the fir start flying by turning into your feral werewolf form to bite and claw through anything moving. At least in theory.
However, gameplay-wise, Earthblood has about as much subtlety as a grizzled Dirty Harry attending a ballerina class. For instance, when I first tried to engage in some talking with an underworld character, I noticed a prompt that appeared, that said: “enrage.” Now, thinking that this would be similar to other RPGs where you could taunt someone to make them angry, I clicked on it.
So what happened? Instead of cracking momma jokes on the poor fellow, I instantly transformed into a ten-foot-tall, fur-covered, barb-adorned wrecking ball of calamity and reduces his frail body into what appeared to be a large puddle of strawberry jam.
As I progressed further into the game, I realized that all that fancy-dancy talkin’ and sneaking around in the shadows just wasn’t cutting it—it wasn’t enough to sate my sudden (and previously unbeknownst to me) power fantasy of tearing apart megacorp plebs limb from limb. Well, actually, they all ultimately ended up as large splotches of that strawberry jam substance on the floor, so there were never any limb leftovers.
Pretty soon I fell into a familiar rhythm—enter various Endron environs, see a bunch of puny evil humans, rip their you-know-whats up, and leave the place full of…you know…puddles of that fruity jam stuff, here, there, and everywhere (well, sadly not on the ceilings).
Rinse and repeat.
Hey, I figured what the hell, a gigantic megacorp like Endron has got be loaded to the gills with money, so they can probably afford the massive clean-up costs associated with my belligerent rampages
But seriously, the devs have given Cahal a decent amount of tools to utilize. For instance, you can unlock different kinds of special abilities, such as being able to distantly disable the ever-present security cameras within the Endron facility. You can also lure goons to their dooms by barking at them from around corners while in your wolf form.
However, I have a sneaking suspicion that if you’re like most gamers (or me, tee-hee), you’ll want to wade snout-long into phalanxes of witless underlings and feed the strawberry jam gods. Luckily, Earthblood has a decently fun combat system to play with while you’re in uber-lupine form. There are different stances you can take as Cahal’s werewolf form and a good variety of attack types.
Earthblood also has a worthy message behind it—a giant megacorp is soiling the earth and renegade wolf-people are rising up to stop them. Unfortunately, like many environmentalist offerings, everything is completely humorless. Whereas there could have been some witty takes on things, along with a more multidimensional approach to both character development and world-building, everything in Earthblood seems overly-serious and somewhat uninteresting.
Earthblood is a mixed bag for me. It has a good message and a fairly original theme, along with a some fun action, but it falls flat in other (aforementioned) areas. It was a fairly fun, fur-covered romp to rip through throngs of evil-doers, but I don’t think I’ll be back to create anymore strawberry goo.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood has some pretty good graphics so you’ll need a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. Therefore, you may just want to invest in a superior gaming rig:
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