Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest Game Review

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Werewolf: the Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest  Game Review
When will you Rage? Why will you Rage? The answers are complex and personal.

By Michael Vachmiel – July 30th 2020

Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest Game Review. The future of the World of Darkness looks bright … I mean Dark!

Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest is game you must play.

I have been playing in the World of Darkness since its beginnings in the early 1990’s. I know this dark world like the back of my vampire clawed hand. So when a long time, original player says pay attention, listen to Set, I mean your favorite Settite, and pay attention!

Developed by Different Tales and published by Walkabout Games this latest offering in the World of Darkness line of video games is a heavy story focused game of personal spirituality and philosophy.

The Plot – The Truth is Out There!

The Cast

You play as Maia Boroditch, a woman in her twenties from the United States, who is searching for clues about her family in the last primeval forest of Central Europe. 

Here companion is Anya. She is Maia’s friend from Norway, a fellow student who came to Poland to study medicine. She’s an activist. This will come into play if make certain story decisions!

Their guide into The Puszcza is Daniel. He is a local tourist guide. He knows the forest (just don’t call The Puszcza that to her many faces) and its legends better than anyone. Daniel is a nice guy, but Maia can’t help but feel there’s something wrong about him  

The Setting – The Puszcza

The Bialowieza Forest, also known as the Puszcza or Puszcza Bialowieska, is one of the last primeval forests in Europe, located in Poland. It’s a special place where nature exists in its most primal form right next to the big industry. 

The Puszcza is a vast area full of myths and legends, which you will also find in our game. The first people settled here 2,000 years ago, but their presence remained relatively limited.

Werewolf: the Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest
The prologue is an excellent tutorial! Unlike most games it sets up the story by being part of the story, not just a wall of exposition or instructions.

Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest game play.

Game play is simple and the decisions complex!

During your journey as Maia, a story unfolds. A story of loss, of searching, of longing for family. As you respond to new story elements, Maia develops as does your story choices. This combination of co development of character and story makes for fun multiple game plays and increases the game’s overall value.

Werewolf: the Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest
Each action you decide upon crafts a unique story, allowing multiple game plays.
Sometimes a decision will increase traits. The more dots the better you are at a skill.
Decisions can cost personal resources. Be mindful of your decisions.

From the game guide that was provided with the review copy we can examine the core game mechanics.

Game mechanics: 

When playing through the game, you need to mind your statistics as they determine your available choices and influence the overall presentation of every scene. 

Rage is your main resource. The higher your Rage, the more go-getting and aggressive you become. However, this makes your perception quite binary, and you become unable to see all the shades of grey. Low Rage brings empathy and openness but also makes you fearful and less willing to act. 

When I played with High Rage, Maia was aggressive and argumentative.

Willpower is the resource you need to control yourself, and also to not get carried by your Rage. If you let it drop to zero, you won’t be able to deal with many problems and situations. You gain Willpower by exploring the world, becoming better acquainted with it, and understanding it. 

When my Willpower went to Zero, Maia was depressed, tired, exhausted. She became a passive observer in her own life. Like being out of spoons when your depressed. This made her relatable, believable, and very real to life.

Personality describes the kind of person you are in the game world. There are 5 auspices available, which determine the ways you can approach any character, obstacle, or situation. 

Early in the game, your personality will be shaped by your natural choices. Later on, you will have to choose your auspice and determine your true nature. 

New Moon: A child born on the new moon is destined to be a master of stealth, trickery, and guile. Such werewolves are known as “Questioners of the Ways,” and they are granted latitude to break — or at least bend — the rules of Garou society that other werewolves are not. A new-moon werewolf is called a Ragabash

Crescent Moon: The wan light of the crescent moon illuminates the spirits and the riddles they tell. Garou born under this moon are ritualists, spirit-masters, shamans, and mystics. Such Garou is called Theurges

Half Moon: The werewolf born under the half-moon is a judge and balancer. Caught between extremes — man and wolf, Garou and human, adaptation and tradition, spirit and flesh — such Garou have to be able to make wise decisions on behalf of their fellows. Such a werewolf is called a Philodox

Gibbous Moon: The ample, but not quite full, the light of the gibbous moon shines on the Garou destined to be storytellers and lore keepers. Such werewolves are renowned for their memories and their creativity, and among the People, are called Galliards

I always wound up being Gibbous. My nature is to learn all I can and I played Maia the same way. This opened up story avenues of exploration and learning about her past.

Full Moon: Garou born under the full moon are spirit warriors, the deadliest and most vicious of their kind. A werewolf born under the full moon is called an Ahroun

Conclusion

This is the Werewolf game that should have been made years ago. This is a story that captures the soul of the werewolf. A soul filled with hurt. Of longing. Of emotion. This game is not a “kill the Wyrm” fight of the week, reducing the werewolf into killing machine monster cartoon characters.

The game explores the complex areas of gray morality in A World of Darkness where good and evil are points of view. Where personal philosophies weigh heavier on a person than the black and white rule of law of society. The atmosphere, expressed through art and music, is dark and heavy as the decisions you make. The game maintains an excellence consistently throughout its play.

Well done!

When will you Rage?
Why will you Rage?

Projected release date 4th quarter 2020.

Learn more about Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest visit the following!

The following creatives are behind Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest. Visit their websites and social media to learn more!

About Different Tales Different Tales is a storytelling studio co-founded by The Witcher head story designer Artur Ganszyniec and project lead Jacek Brzeziński (The Witcher, Hitman, Dying Light). 

Over the last dozen years, Different Tales members have worked on fantasy franchises with a cult following, mobile games for the mass market, artistic experiments, critically acclaimed products that were meant to exceed the boundaries of the medium. 

Follow Different Tales: 

● Website: differenttales.com 

● Facebook: facebook.com/differenttales/ 

● Twitter: twitter.com/differenttales 

About Walkabout Games Walkabout Games is an independent game studios collective from Central and Eastern Europe. We provide support and guidance while ensuring your creative freedom. Our goal is to help produce and publish fantastic gaming experiences. We focus on ambitious, mostly story-driven and open-world projects. 

Follow Walkabout Games: 

● Website: walkabout.games 

● Facebook: facebook.com/WalkaboutGames/ 

● Twitter: twitter.com/Walkabout_Games 

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