WEREWOLF: THE APOCALYPSE - HEART OF THE FOREST
By Tom "TomBsTone" Bronneberg on March 2, 2021
So either I am a fool, or I just really like werewolf games. Last month I reviewed Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood for the PS4. And I was slightly befuddled by the type of game it turned out to be. As I mentioned in that review, I was expecting something completely different, hence was caught off guard, but pleasantly surprised, by the game it turned out to be.
A few weeks later we got to inform our management about what games we wanted to review in the near future. Therefore, I was browsing through a list of upcoming Playstation releases and found another Werewolf game. Werewolf - The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest, and I thought, "great a sequel, I would like to get my hands on that one when it releases later this year", while writing it down on my 'to-do' list. Imagine my surprise getting a review opportunity within a few days. I remember thinking it was a bit early to receive a sequel just a few weeks after the first game launched, but hey, you won't hear me complain.
Well, it seems I fell for it again. To be honest, this almost never happens to me, but Werewolf the Apocalypse has managed to not only fool me not once, but now for the second time in just a few weeks' time. After downloading the game on my new and shiny PS5 (officially the game will be released on PS4, but runs silky smooth on the PS5 as well), I noticed the menu structure was different than the previous Werewolf game. In addition, after starting up a new game. I fell from my chair. This is not a sequel; it is a virtual novel. Imagine my surprise again. For the life of me, I don't know what is going on over here, but whenever I see a vampire of werewolf game I immediately get the feeling I need it somehow. Might be my ancestors calling to me or something like that. I don't know for sure but I'm starting to see a pattern over here. A bit confused I start my literary adventure.
Werewolf: The Apocalyse - Heart of the Forest is a virtual interactive novel by Different Tales, an indie studio founded in June 2018 by two experienced Polish game developers. The game is based on the renowned Werewolf tabletop game stories, just like the previous mentioned "Earthblood" game. You read the novel as Maya, a young girl who travels to Poland hoping to find more information about her ancestors and lost family roots. Traveling through the last wilderness of Central Europe, she is hoping to reveal more about her family's dark secrets and the hidden truths about the forest. You will visit real-world places of mystery and power and explore local legends and traditions, experiencing a story about nature versus technology, life versus greed, good and evil.
I really do like a good story, but do not always have the patience to read an entire book. Somehow staring at paper pages is not always enticing enough for me to spend my spare time on. With these virtual novels, we get a next level reading experience with the added bonus of images and sound effects. This strengthens the feel of the story you are reading. Add the bonus of it being an interactive novel and what you get is a nice cocktail. The game revolves around a set of parameters that control the flow of the script. Rage, Willpower and Health are your main stats to keep an eye on during the story. The dialog options that appear depend on your current state of mind. Sometimes forced in a certain direction because of these parameters. For instance, if you keep choosing to force your way through a dialog by choosing the aggressive approach, your rage meter will fill up right until you will explode and rip somebody's head clean off. On the other hand, you can select a more inquisitive direction and find out more about the story and lore behind the main quest. There are a few people who you will meet during your adventure, and they will also react on a certain way depending on your actions and reactions.
With the added soundscapes and sound effects, the story really comes to life. I like the setting and the feel of the main story. At first, the "nightmares" are a bit confusing because they tend to go in a completely different direction than the daytime conversations. Nevertheless, that is why we love being a werewolf of course. We are not here to count the trees in the forest. No, we're here to rip off the heads of the ones that are cutting down the trees and destroying our wolf dens. I also like the added bonus, to control what shape you can shift into during the story line. The five stages between Human, Wolf and full on psycho Crinos are a nice addition to the narrative. The controls are quite simple; just select the options you want to use during the dialog. In addition, we have two extra menus in which you can read up on some details and keep a log of people you meet and the status of your connection towards them. This will help you in making the right decisions during your adventure.
So in conclusion, "Werewolf - the Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest", is another werewolf game that wasn't what I expected, but a more than welcome addition to my game library. Therefore, if you want a change of pace, close the tactical shooter or action RPG you are currently paying, and give this game a chance. Either enjoy the storyline or try to massacre everybody who wants to cut down a tree; both are satisfying options to choose!