Intrigued. That’s the feeling I had when I first heard about Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest. A fan of most werewolf movies, I still always find them lacking in some area. So when I heard about a PC game coming out based on the role-playing system Werewolf: The Apocalypse, I was drawn to it. People that play RPG’s know that the story is what drives the game. Werewolf: The Apocalypse is no different. When you start the game you are deep within a violent dream that sets the tone for the story and, if you’ve played the Werewolf tabletop game, you know that a rich history helps drive the game and the character you are, and will later become.
You are in charge of guiding Maia Boroditch. A young American woman with Polish ancestry, on her quest to uncover the truth behind her lineage as she navigates a new (but familiar) world of Polands’ Bialowieza Forest. One of the oldest forests still vastly untouched, the Bialowieza Forest is real and the game uses its history (both old and current) to help drive the game. While the Forest is very much a character all it’s own, you do meet people in your travels.
Anya is an activist that Maia met at school. She’s a friend from Norway that has come along to keep Maia company. You also have Bartek, who plays host to Maia and Anya as they tour Bialowieza. Daniel, whom has a plethora of knowledge and seems to know more about Maia’s past than she does. Kornel, a German eco-activist that is against the deforestation of the Bialowieza Forest.
These characters are rich in detail. The game play allows them to become suspicious, an ally, or even neutral based on your interactions with them. In this respect, the game dynamics are amazing. One choice brings a whole slew of branched off reactions. Just as in life, you don’t blindly make decisions. You make decisions based on what you’ve been through, the kind of person you are, and how you are feeling.
Not to give too much away with game play and story, but the way you interact with others in this story helps drive it. Based on how you’re feeling, and the decisions you make, you are directly affecting Maia’s resources. Those resources are rage, willpower and personality. Rage is tricky. You want it because it helps keep you driven toward your main objective but, it is rage. When you see red, it’s kind of hard to factor in all the pieces to make a decision. However, if you don’t have enough, you become empathetic and more open to those around you and their influence on your actions. The key is to know when to be persistent.
Willpower is that key. Keeping it high will keep you in control of your actions but, most importantly, your rage. The last resource is one of the most important, to me. Your personality is what YOU make it. Your decisions and the way you interact with people is what helps make up your personality. This becomes a bigger part in the game later on when you get to choose your true nature.
I think the key aspect that I want everyone to take away from this article is that, while I was playing through the first chapter, time flew by. I was intrigued, transported to another world, and lost within the virtual pages of the story. When you’re playing a game, isn’t that the main point? Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest delivers to that effect and I’m now foaming at the mouth, rabid for more.