GSY Review PC

In the '70s/'80s, textual adventures were riding high and no self-proclaimed guardian of the temple would dare to discuss their video game status. A few decades and absurd debates later, this genre has become more confidential but some studios still strive for it, and it's a good thing. Today, we've chosen to focus on Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest, though we realize we're clearly behind schedule as this review was originally intended to be posted in late October.

Easy genealogy

Maia is a young American student who travels to a small Polish village her family once fled… well, maybe not mysterious reasons given the title of the game, but at least ones unknown to Maia. This fictive pilgrimage is merged with a very real 2016 event, a confrontation between the Polish government and environmental organizations regarding the exploitation of Bialowieza primal forest. Furthermore, the game also includes the very dense background of the Werewolf: The Apocalypse pen & paper rpg and even some of its mechanics. Yeah, that's a lot, especially for a 5-to-6-hour-long game.

The Wolf among us

The form is rather convincing. The writing is good, leaning toward poetry but avoiding a potentially indigestible lyricism. Sober sound design and stylized visuals contribute to establishing a dark and unsettling mood. A few more illustrations, especially to precisely identify some support characters, would have been good, but it's not that important. Maia's coming of age, or rather awakening to her bloody heritage, offers a rather compelling story. Despite a lack of overall suspense, the choices and sacrifices we have to do remain meaningful. The various paths in the branching storyline are enough to legitimate multiple runs and the realistic ecological setting also provides a natural link toward Werewolf mythos, even if Maia taking the forefront of the protest within 3 days is a bit far-fetched.

The beginning at the end

Unfortunately, the integration of the pen & paper rpg background ends up feeling rough. While this setting is rich, deep, full of interesting rites, beliefs and conflicts, we have to ingest it at a fast pace in the very last quarter of the game. And yet, we won't even actually delve into it before reaching the ending. Heart of the Forest feels more like the pilot episode of an upcoming TV series than a fully fledged movie. Furthermore, the basic decision system is burdened by ressources (Rage, Will, Health) and traits (Spiritual, Analytical, Inspiring…) that affect the player's possibilities while sometimes lacking meaning or interest. A more streamlined choices/consequences mechanic would have been enough to enjoy the ride though.

Verdict


Despite the front and center Werewolf : The Apocalypse licence, it's hard to shake the feeling of a late and forced addition to an already made game. The enjoyable story of Maia ends up becoming frustrating by unveiling a greater background that remains inaccessible and underused. That being said, if you can gest past that and enjoy horror fiction, then you'll have a truly good time with Heart of the Forest.
  • On the upside
  • Good writing
  • Nice atmosphere
  • The choices and consequences
  • The rich Werewolf setting…
  • On the downside
  • … that remains underexploited
  • The added mechanics aren't that interesting
Yarost
Yarost
Commented on 2020-12-22 12:04:20
Just a little correction : Werewolf The Apocalypse isn't a board game but a pen & paper rpg.
In reply to
About the game
Platform
PC
Published by
Walkabout
Developed by
Different Tales
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What's up?
  • Loakum

    Loakum *sips on a wine glass of grape juice* Why do I feel compelled to chant, “Let’s go Brandon?” Hmmmm (6 Days ago)

  • nostradamus

    nostradamus gsyde workin' on the clock. great content. (7 Weeks ago)

  • nostradamus

    nostradamus massive downgrades coming from the staples achieved w/ the Halo 3 sandbox/physics, with Dice/BField it should never be a trade-off, ony thing they should be trading its engine if it isnt up 3 the job (11 Weeks ago)

  • nostradamus

    nostradamus Halo keeps being this Sonic title bait & switch "will their next title be able to Look up par with its current gen counterparts"? Never. Even Halo 4 who was pretty good on Campaign suffered from (11 Weeks ago)

  • nostradamus

    nostradamus tech? I dunno, go get some insight of Activision (the good input, not the misogyny), all they COD devs make evident generation leaps tech-wise. Do they keep being the same core IP? I think so. (11 Weeks ago)

  • nostradamus

    nostradamus so Halo must be thet bottomb of the barrel FPS to keep its identity. Add some negligible subsurface scattering reflections or some other tech only possible now and call it the day copy/pasting the ol (11 Weeks ago)

  • b0vril

    b0vril yea but, would it be halo then? (11 Weeks ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood Another (French) livestream today at 2:30 CEST but you're welcome to drop by and speak English. I will gladly answer in English when I get a chance to catch a breath. :) (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood GSY is getting some nice content at 3 pm CEST with our July podcast and some videos of the Deus Ex Mankind Divided preview build. :) (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood For once we'll be live at 4:30 pm CEST. Blim should not even be tired! (> 3 Months ago)

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    Driftwood More Quantum Break coverage coming in a few hours, 9:00 a.m CEST. (> 3 Months ago)

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    Driftwood We'll have a full review up for Firewatch at 7 pm CET. Videos will only be tomorrow though. (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood Tonight's livestream will be at 9:15 GMT+1, not GMT+2 as first stated. (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood New GSY Live dedicated this time to Just Cause 3 on Tuesday 9:30 GMT+2 (> 3 Months ago)

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