|Whispers of Wolves|
|Developer(s)||NCS New Haven|
|Released||WW July 27th, 2016|
|Series||Whispers of Wolves|
|Platform(s)||Anima, Microsoft Windows|
|Media||Optical disc, download|
|Input methods||Gamepad, keyboard & mouse|
- "Kill the traitor."
- ―Game tagline.
The game takes place in the north of Eltris, a formerly tranquil land corrupted by the presence of the Wolves of the True, who torture and execute blasphemers of the True Eternals. However, these deeds are hidden from the citizens of the land and the publicly known Wolves are seen to be peaceful and pious. It is unsaid what the player did to be branded a traitor, but the search for the protagonist happens across the land, indicating that the method of their betrayal was severe.
Whispers of Wolves exemplifies player choice from the very beginning of the game. The player creates their own protagonist, and is able to customize gender, facial features, body type and voice. The player is then allowed to choose a class, each providing different skill set-ups. For example, the Berserker class will give the player higher vitality, power, defence and stamina, but less dexterity, agility, spellworking and remembrance. Each class also comes with a weapon set, an armour set and, for some classes, a spell set. The player is locked to their choices upon starting the game, but due to the nature of the game classes are generally more of a starting point that something set through the game.
The player's base is Doubter's Keep, a secret village inhabited by people that are running from the Wolves, much like the player. At Doubter's Keep, the player can purchase available weapons, armour, spells and other items, speak to Old Sage Ehros to level up and receive information and tips from other inhabitants. While not blatant, the information usually pertains to optional areas, enemy tactics and details of secret weapons. Doubter's Keep is completely safe and contains no threats. To travel around the semi-open world, the player can use the Worldmarker, a magical item granted to the player by Old Sage Ehros. Upon finding a new area, it is added to the Worldmarker and the player can travel to it at any point.
There are eight skills in the game: vitality, power, dexterity, defence, stamina, agility, spellworking and remembrance. Vitality defines the amount of health the player has, power defines how well the player uses weapons and tools with a high power ranking, dexterity defines how well the player uses weapons and tools with a high dexterity ranking, defence defines how much damage the player takes from enemies, stamina defines how much the player can attack and defend before having to wait, as well as how much the player can equip at one time, agility defines how fast the player is when running, dodging or changing equipment, spellworking defines how well the player uses spells, such as more damage or longer buff times, and remembrance defines how many spells the player can have equipped at one time. Weapons, tools and spells require different skill levels to use, forcing the player to choose a play style and stick to it to get use of better weapons.
There are an array of weapons and armour available, all suited to different play styles. Every weapon is designed to be unique, offering different functionalities. Each weapon is either power-based, skill-based or magic based, with effectiveness scaling depending on how high the player's level in the specified skill is. Armour is only affected by defence level, with different sets requiring different levels to wear. Consumables are not affected by level at all, and can simply be used whenever the player wants. The most common consumable is medicine, which will replenish the player's health a certain amount. The player can equip up to three weapons in each hand to be switched between at any time, a set of armour of up to four pieces and up to eight consumables to be used and switched between quickly during gameplay.
The combat system comprises of two major segments, melee and magic. Melee combat is often performed with weapons such as swords and a shield. The player can also wield weapons with two hands, increasing damage and speed. Using weapons continuously for a long time increases the player's proficiency with them, increasing their effectiveness. Some consumables can also be used in combat for added effectiveness, such as sand flasks, which can stun enemies for a short time. The melee combat is relatively simple, consisting of a standard light attack and strong attack for the weapon, a special attack that some weapons have, and using consumables in battle. The magic system is split into five categories: Haemomancy (blood magic), Cryomancy (ice magic), Pyromancy (fire magic), Fulgurmancy (lightning magic) and Chloromancy (nature magic). Each category has several spells, and every category's effectiveness is affected by the player's spellworking level. However, much like standard weapons, using a category continuously will increase the player's proficiency, again increasing effectiveness of the spells. Most of the time players will be battling standard enemies, most of which have unique designs and movesets. The game also features 27 bosses, with difficult to learn attack patterns that are generally the hardest encounters in the game.
Whispers of Wolves takes place in the northern parts of Eltris, a land secretly ruled by the Wolves of the True. The game begins with the protagonist branded as a traitor to the Wolves, with the reason unspecified. The player is hunted throughout the land, in danger of not only being killed by the Wolves, but also by the dangerous wildlife that roams the land.
The game begins with the protagonist being welcomed to Doubter's Keep by Keeper Allen, a safe village for people being hunted by the Wolves of the True. The protagonist, more combat experienced than most of the Doubter's Keep citizens, swears to fight back against the Wolves and to win the support of King Varrhon. After leaving Doubter's Keep, the player find themselves in the Dawnless Wood, a very dark woodland housing several dangerous creatures. At the end of the Dawnless Wood, the player will discover and fight the first boss of the game, Karavagus.
Upon defeating Karavagus, the player will emerge in the town of Byrenholme, where all of the citizens are immediately hostile. The player can also discover a warning of a great terror lurking in the Byrenholme Catacombs, an optional area. Inside the catacombs the player will find the Undying Arthropod, a giant spider that's been fought over many years. Further in the player can meet Byren, who is kept alive by the Wolves' blood magic and wishes for death. The second required boss is the Wolf Wench, a stalker of the Wolves acting as a whore in Byrenwatch Inn. Upon leaving the inn, the town will be filled with a surge of enemies who came in through a previously closed off path. This path leads to the next location of the game, the Old Fort of the Snake Lord. In the Old Fort, the player will discover the Wolves' Charter, which lists the highest ranking members of the Wolves and their targets. They can also find a key, which leads to the optional location of Tyrowyke. Tyrowyke is a ruined city formerly known for it's affinity with great moths. When exploring Tyrowyke, the play will fight Mothkeeper Silvia, who raises the moths and controls them with blood magic, and the Dusted Moth, a huge specimen that emerged after many years inside a cocoon. At the end of the fort, the player will fight the third mandatory boss, the Lord's Great Serpent. After defeating the serpent, the player can continue the story by travelling to Rudigan Parva.
Upon emerging in Rudigan Parva, the player will find most of the town razed by stalkers, and the streets and buildings heavily trapped in order to capture you. The player will reach a large manor atop a hill that looks over the town. Not unlike the town, the manor is largely damaged and trapped. Once the player reaches the roof of the manor, the player will meet the fourth mandatory boss of the game, Stalker Chief Elgywn. Following Elgwyn's defeat, the player will discover a Writ of Passing, an invaluable item that allows access to the Hallowed Lands, a large region of Eltris closed away from commoners. After entering the Hallowed Lands, the player will find themselves at the Grailseeker's Segue, a village close to the king's home, the Blessed Bastion. To receive an audience with the king, the player is tasked with embarking on the Trails of the Grailseeker, to collect three grails that will allow him to meet the king. These grails can be collected in any order, but this summary will go through them easiest to hardest.
The first grail the player will likely collect is the Grail of Want. Upon embarking upon this trail, the player will first discover the Silent Vale, an unsettlingly quiet valley of green. Partway through the player can find a cut-through that leads to an optional area, the Dragon's Hearth, a flaming castle that acts as a bastion for formerly great dragons. Here the player fights the Flare Wardens, three senior guards of the Hearth, and Lame Dragon Prysis, one of Eltris' greatest dragons who after years of battle has lost use of it's wings and most of it's legs. At the end of the valley the player will discover a tunnel guarded by Bladebound Keia, a metal-covered beast that breaks the silence as soon as it stops it's slumber. The tunnel leads to the Great Crystal Sequence, an immensely bright and reflective cavern. The sequence is largely tainted by blood magic, with several of the crystals spawning dark creatures. At the end of the sequence the player find a single mirror in an otherwise bleak area. This mirror spawns the Reflectionary Executioner, an exact replica of the player that uses identical weaponry and armour, although buffed with haeomomancies. After defeating the Reflectionary Executioner, the player will emerge into the Long Golden Sea, a sprawling desert that used to house several towns and cities that fell long ago. Midway through the area, the player will enter a collapsing temple that houses the Ancient Chameleon, a huge and very old incarnation of the more common chameleons that roam the sea. Following it's defeat, the player will continue along the sea and will eventually reached a collapsed amphitheatre where they will find the final guardian of the Grail of Want, the Sandstorm Commander, who uniquely has control over the winds, which he uses to manipulate the desert's sand to great effect. After his defeat, the player can collect the grail.
The second grail the player will likely collect is the Grail of Hope. Firstly, the player will traverse the Godly Promenade, a formerly sunny and beautiful walking destination for Eltris royalty that now is tainted by seemingly permanent storms. The source of the storms is the Frenzied Rainmaker, who corrupted the Promenade as some sort of revenge. At the end of the Promenade the player will find Eroque Abbey, one of the most important buildings dedicated to the True Eternals in Eltris. The entirety of the Abbey is hostile, and in the main chamber the player will fight the Insolent Abbess, the highest ranking member of the abbey who uses ancient blood magic to kill her foes. After leaving the Abbey, the player will emerge into Waterway City Reviensi, a bustling religious hub filled with citizens manically dedicated to the Wolves and the True Eternals, who know that you betrayed both. Inside the city, the player can enter an optional area, the Blasphemer's Abode, a prison that houses people that betray the Wolves. In the depths of the prison the player will encounter the Voiceless Massacrist, an insane and tortured man whose tongue was ripped out, leaving him silent. Further into Reviensi the player will reach a grand theatre where the Sabre Ballerina of Aclair awaits, a fighter from a foreign land who pledged herself to the Wolves. Inside the theatre, the player will descend into the Vault of the Red Judge, a huge underground palace. The vault is filled with the guards of the Red Judge. Near the end the player will face the Archguardian of the Red Judge, the best of the Red Judge's guardians. Immediately after, the player will finally meet the Red Judge, Blood Mantis Aressu, who guards the Grail of Hope and uses incredibly powerful blood magic. After defeating him, the player can collect the grail.
The final grail the player will likely collect is the Grail of Glory. The first area the player will travel through is the Jagged Choke, a sizeable cave system that gets gradually gets more frozen as the player continues through it. At the end the player will battle the Gelid Cadavers, a trio of mysteriously reanimated frozen corpses who act as the guardians of the next area, the Icy Hollow. The Icy Hollow was formerly much less harsh as it currently is, having more of a peaceful winter climates. Thanks to the weather, nature began to reclaim the area, and the "king" of the Hollow's nature is the Stalagmite Crab, a hulking ice creature that defends the final area of the Glory Trail with a combination of brute strength and ice magic. From the Icy Hollow, players can also descend into the Hailstone Mine, an optional area featuring two bosses. The first consists of Minewatcher Rayne & Excavator Hage, two senior mine workers who were driven insane when the exits of the mine froze and they were trapped. The second is the Frost Lake Queen, a unique monster that dwell in a frozen lake hidden inside the mine. Killing her causes the weather of the Icy Hollow to settle, revealing that it was responsible for new-found harshness. The final area is Winterbreak, a formerly great mountainous city that fell to winter and is where exiled knights are sent. The final guardians of the Grail of Glory are Acies the Exiled & Ice Dragon Czora, a pairing of immense power thanks to Acies former title of the Dragonlord and the rarity of ice dragons as a species. Upon defeating them, the player can return to the Grailseeker's Segue, and finally be granted access to the Blessed Bastion.
Upon entering the Blessed Bastion, the player emerges in the Royal Auditorium and is greeted by Robhart, the Aria Knight. Robhart acts as the final guardian of the king, and engages the player in fair, honourable combat. All of Robhart's battles are treated as spectacles, hence the orchestra that surrounds the auditorium. Upon his defeat, the player is finally able to meet with King Varrhon. For a few moments, he maintains the façade of a true king of Eltris. However, it gradually becomes clear that Varrhon is an usurper placed upon the throne by the Wolves, and is in fact the Wolf King Varrhon. Varrhon then tries to finish the what the Wolves started, killing the traitor. After killing Varrhon, the player will receive the Key to the Altar, which opens a colossal door behind Varrhon's throne. Behind this door is an elevator, which takes the player down to the Primordial Altar. This altar houses idols of the True Eternals, as well Karavagus. Whilst inspecting the altar, Karavagus appears and informs the player that he was indeed an Eternal, who had sacrificed his power to trap the other malevolent Eternals to protect humanity. He also informs the player of The Traitor's sin, freeing Karavagus from clutches of the Wolves. Following this, Karavagus tells the player that his power is almost gone, and, upon his death, the trapped Eternals will be freed again. In an attempt to free The Traitor from this new world, Karavagus offers to end their life. The player can then decide whether to take his offer or not.
If the player accepts death, Karavagus will ask the player to kneel beside him. Drawing his twin sickles Divinus, Karavagus walks behind the player and raises his arms. He then quickly closes his arms, decapitating The Traitor. After this, Karavagus remains still for a moment and then falls to one knee, dropping both of the sickles. Looking over his hands, Karavagus sees himself flaking away, and looking at the idols, realizes that The Cosmos is opening again. The screen then cuts to black, and the credits roll.
If the player refuses death, Karavagus sees this as some sort of betrayal, feeling that The Traitor's refusal of the gift of death was an insult. Taking his true form of Karavagus, the Fallen God, he draws Divinus and encircles the two sickles with dark magic, creating the Tainted Divinus. The player will then fight Karavagus again, but in a much more powerful and dangerous form. After defeating him, Karavagus' body will begin to flake away. Looking up at the idols, the player heeds Karavagus' warning of The Cosmos opening again, and leaves the altar. The screen then cuts to black, and the credits roll.
- Main article: Whispers of Wolves/Locations
The player travels through numerous locations in the story, as well as numerous optional locations if they want to. Most areas, including optional areas, contain at least one boss, which must be killed to progress if they are found in mandatory areas. Unless connected closely, near all of the locations are unique in aesthetic and atmosphere, with the enemies roaming usually matching.
- Main article: Whispers of Wolves/Characters
Alongside the protagonist, there is an array of NPCs scattered around the game world, each with different functions. Many act as simple characters that appear throughout the player's journey, but some also have important interactions with the player such as merchants. The player can usually talk to NPCs with a variety of dialogue options, to learn more about the character's themselves, or the world. Some NPCs have the potential to become hostile, and fight similarly to an AI-controlled version of the player.