Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest Review
Reviewed on: Xbox One
By: John Cano
The first experience I had with this amazing game was back in early August of 2020 and that was just the demo, and then I find that Walkabout Games released the game on Xbox one and ps4 in February I’m sold now I get to experience what the full game has to offer. What I find to be the most intriguing about this it is based on White Wolf Publishing’s tabletop role-playing game Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and is part of the larger World of Darkness series and it is awesome to see the amount of love and time that went into making this masterpiece is just breathtaking and I respect how much time they invested in this game.
First off let me start by saying if you’re looking for a horror-themed action game allowing you to play as a werewolf pump your brakes, my good friends this game is a visual novel role-playing game with tabletop role-playing game-style mechanics. The gameplay is text-based and has your player read narration accompanied by audio and illustrations. The player can move to different locations by selecting them on a map. So tabletop gamers will feel right at home when playing this and newcomers to the genre might enjoy the change of pace and style.
Oh man finally getting to play the full game was just awesome, I played the demo for this epic tale back in august of 2020 and I have to say the end product was breathtaking from the stunning art visuals to the atmospheric sounds and the beautiful music. I forgot how easy it was for me to get lost in the game.
The story is set in Poland, in the World of Darkness, and has the player take the role of Maia Boroditch, a 24-year-old American woman of Polish descent. She has recurring nightmares of a forest, wolves, and blood, and feels a connection to the forest that drives her to travel to Białowieża in Poland to learn about her family history. There, she meets the guide Daniel, fellow student Anya, and the resident Bartek, and explores the Białowieża Forest, one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, visiting sacred spots including an ancient burial site, an abandoned wolf den, and a ceremonial place of power.
One thing about me is I don’t like to rush, I’m not a speedrunner and when I play any game I really like to take my time and explore the world and the lore that surrounds these digital landscapes. Now my first play threw I just played the main story and it took me about 3.5 hours to complete on my second play threw it took me 4.5 hours to complete with the main story and extras, which is good because some games do have the tendency to just drag on and get repetitive however I never ran into this with this game.
One of my favorite things about this game is how it treads the world between tabletop games and video games, by adapting the mechanics of the legendary tabletop game Werewolf: The Apocalypse, emulating the experience of a classic role-playing session. Making tough choices and dramatic consequences affect your character’s Rage, Willpower, and Health. which changes how you see the world and what choices you have. The game will analyze your behavior and determine what kind of werewolf you are. It’s one of the most beautifully written, deep, and balanced experience, tailored for World of Darkness veterans and newcomers looking for an accessible entry into this rich, acclaimed universe.
The audio was stunning usually when playing tabletop games you always have to use your imagination about how your character’s surroundings would sound, the crunch of the foliage underneath their feet, or the wildlife when walking through a heavily forested area, and something like that can be a real turn off for newcomers to the tabletop games. However, the game captures all of it magnificently and beautifully to really aid you in getting sucked into this universe.
One of the many things I loved about this game other than its immersive narrative and beautiful audio was the distinctive collage art that combines hand-illustrated characters with pictures of real places to inspire your imagination that helps you immerse yourself more into the world Werewolf: The Apocalypse dark world.
I knew I was going to love this game the first time I got my hands on the demo, and I sure as hell enjoyed this game from begging to end. From the amazing visuals and breathtaking sound and music FX it was hard not to fall head over heels for this masterpiece. And I hope to see more games from the same universe and from Different Tales and Walkabout Games, so if you’re a seasoned tabletop veteran wanting to try something new in the digital realm or if you’re a gamer looking to dip your toe into the tabletop pool, well look no further because this has a little something for both sides. Don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself and see what you think, Werewolf: The Apocalypse is available on PC, Xbox, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.