- Platform: Playstation 4 – PS VR (reviewed), PC – Oculus Rift, HTC Vive
- Published By: Ubisoft
- Developed By: Red Storm Entertainment
- Genre: Party
- ESRB Rating: E
- Number of Players: 5-8 (online only)
- Release Date: December 6, 2016
I did it again, everyone. I am guilty of a crime that I have spoken out against several times before. I judged a book by its cover. Well, a game. I looked at Ubisoft and Red Storm Entertainment’s Werewolves Within and figured it wasn’t worth my time, so I passed on purchasing it. I bought other VR games and Ubisoft sent me a survey asking me my thoughts on them and they gave me a free code for Werewolves Within for taking the survey. I downloaded the game and didn’t play it for a few months. Eventually though, I decided to go through some of my backlog and try out some games and Werewolves Within was on the list. Never again shall I make the mistake of judging a game by its cover as Werewolves Within is now my most played VR game ever. Think about that for a moment, the last game I tried on VR is now the most played game I have on VR. What could have made me put so much time into this title?
Werewolves Within is an online VR game based on a party game you may have played with a group of friends. A game of deception, there’s a wolf hidden in a sheep’s clothing and you have to figure out who it is. Set in a village campfire setting and with voice chat enabled (and pivotal to gameplay), players are given an individual hidden role to play. Roles are randomly assigned at the beginning of each game. Roles include Villagers, Gossip, Watchers, Houndsman, Werewolves, and more. If you’re on team Townsfolk, you have to work together to sort out who’s who, find and cast out the Werewolves. If you’re on team Werewolf, you have to mislead others into voting out one of their own by pretending to be one of them. Or if there’s a Saint in play – a character who can see at least one Werewolf with their ability – Werewolves will try to figure out who the Saint is and eliminate that player for an automatic win. If you’re given the Deviant role, you’re on team Deviant and you cause chaos and mistrust to try win the game on your own by having everyone vote you out. The wolves have the advantage of knowing who the other wolves in the game are. Only few special townsfolk roles can verify other roles using their limited abilities.
Everyone has a book that lists the possible roles in play as well as explains the powers of each role. The book also acts as your toolkit. Here, you’ll be able to enable your abilities and mark others as suspicious. Though most roles have powers that will help you figure things out bit by bit, you have to form alliances and be convincing to others in order for them to believe that what you say is true – even if it’s not. At the end of each round of debating, accusing, defending, and deflection – everyone casts a vote and the person with the most votes is killed. If a townsfolk or the Saint is killed, the Werewolves win. If at least one Werewolf is killed, the townsfolk win. If the Deviant is killed, the Deviant wins and everyone else loses. This leads to a fun filled game of mystery, mistrust, and deception.
Playing in VR allows for an immersive and natural feeling experience. Characters are given a set of emotes which help you gesture in game. When you talk, your character automatically gestures and the character’s mouth moves. When a character is looking at you in the game, it feels like they are looking at you in reality. You are no longer in your bedroom or living room playing this game, you are among the townsfolk around the campfire and the stakes are high!
The game is very comfortable and I’ve lost track of time playing it for several hours straight, several times. Every so often, there are some bugs that seem to make the game jumpy inside the headset, where the whole environment seems to jump back and forth. This usually corrects itself shortly or a brief restart of the headset or game does the trick as well.
While there are a few bugs but the player community has also adapted to them and the gameplay experience is seldom impacted. For example, there is a role in the book that is glitched each round. The last townsfolk role is not in play. This helps narrow down liars a little more but it also adds another layer to the game as the community has adapted to this glitch and made it their own.
Werewolves Within at its core is a social game where friends or strangers can get together and have a blast. Have five to eight friends who can party up on the regular to play the game? Awesome! You can create private game modes and invite your friends to play. Otherwise, you can join a quick play and play with the community at hand.
Admittedly, there are times you will be playing the game and you may have to wait for people to join the lobby. Unfortunately, this game is a very hidden gem that not too many are playing. But this is a cross-play game – Vive, Oculus, and PS VR players can play together so that does help alleviate what would likely be a lonely, non-existent gameplay experience. But even the lobby can be a fun place to just hang out and talk while you’re waiting on others to join (assuming there’s at least one other player there with you).
Like every other VR title, it’s really hard to put into words how this game plays and how much fun you can have with it. Videos don’t do it justice either. Once again, this is a game you have to try. If you enjoy party games, fun with friends, and being social, give this game a try 100%. Ubisoft has been putting out pretty fun VR titles and this one shot to the top of my list of just pure fun.
Werewolves Within takes a simple formula and executes it into a great gameplay experience. Can’t get the gang together over the weekend or just coming home from work or school? Werewolves Within is a great way to kick back and have some interactive fun. While the game isn’t perfect and there are a few glitches that need to be smoothed out still, the overall gameplay experience is kept intact.
I highly recommend Werewolves Within if you have VR. If you enjoy party games, fun with friends, and being social, give it a try. You won’t regret it. Don’t judge it by its cover like I did.
Must Play – A video game that is great in almost every aspect. It offers great fun and value to the gamer with very few negative points
Note: While this game is rated E for everyone, online interactions are not rated. If you join a public lobby, you’re likely to encounter behavior that is not appropriate for children.
[Editor’s Note: Find out how WholesomeGamer scores games here.]