RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is a hack-and-slash game based on Rooster Teeth’s RWBY series. It is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. This review is based on the Xbox One version.
Both single player and up to 4 player online co-op modes are available. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll be moving through the same areas, fighting the same types of enemies. The game has you progress through environments, each chapter being a new area. You select one of the four members of RWBY to fight as when starting the game, and you can change who you’re playing with if you die. As well as fighting enemies, you can collect hidden artefacts, inspiring exploration of your surroundings. You’ll gain experience for each of these actions, allowing you to level up and choose how to power up that character.
The game is clearly primarily geared towards being played with co-op. As such, single player falls quite flat. For example, despite choosing single player, you’ll be referred to as a team, despite only controlling one character, with no others present. Single player will allow you to play through the game if you can’t play co-op, but co-op is very much the recommended option.
The multiplayer is an improvement, as working collaboratively with other players makes it an actual team experience (with the voiceovers calling you ‘team’ actually making sense in this context). You can choose either a private online multiplayer, with your friends, or a random online multiplayer with strangers.
You aren’t limited in character selection for co-op; you can have a mix of whichever characters you want. You could even have a team with 4 of the same character if you like, meaning if you play online you aren’t restricted to whatever characters are left. It’s significantly more fun playing as a team, as well as more balanced. Co-operative play allows for more strategy too, such as executing team attacks, where one player sets up another for a particularly effective attack.
Regarding character choice, who you choose to play as does make a difference to combat style. Though each character uses similar attacks, there are some differences. They each have their own strengths. Weiss is fast, and also decently strong, Ruby is good for area attacks but doesn’t hit as hard, Blake is good for getting out of a group (often taking enemies airborne), and Yang’s attacks have a smaller range but hit the hardest. You may well find one characters fighting style suits you better.
As RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is a hack-and-slash game, to do the most damage you’ll want to build up combos and use your “ultimate attacks” wisely. Ultimate attacks are available when you fill the requisite gage, and also vary depending on character. Most of the time these are area attacks.
Team JNPR are also available to play with as DLC, and each of these characters also have their own fighting styles. In multiplayer you can use a mix of RWBY and JNPR characters; you don’t have to stick to one team.
RWBY has a good basis for a game, but Grimm Eclipse is a very simple game; there just isn’t much to it. You move through an area, fighting Grimm, and then defend a base. Rinse and repeat in a new location. Unfortunately, this leads to a pretty repetitive game. There’s no interlinking content between episodes, no cutscenes to introduce you to the plot, or explain anything. As a game from an animation company, you’d expect some good animated cutscenes, but they simply don’t exist. Unfortunately, the story in Grimm Eclipse is very lacking. You’re thrown into the game with no preamble, and the story is only given through voice-overs.
RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is a rare example of a game where the in-game art looks better than the static art. In this case, the artwork used in the menus is clearly a different style to that used in-game and in the animation. It seems to be of poorer quality – the characters just don’t quite look like themselves. It’s a shame that the menu art doesn’t line up with the in-game art.
The biggest redeeming feature of the game is that the voice acting, as per the animated series, is very well done. Indeed, most of the charm of the game is through the characters. If you’re a fan of the animation, you’ll be glad to hear the characters sounding as though they’re in an episode of the series. Each character has their own comments as they traverse areas, bringing their personality to the exploration.
The game also boasts upbeat music that matches what you’d find in the animation, which is very well done. The music and voice acting are the two areas the game has performed well in, and it’s a shame the gameplay and story doesn’t match their level.
RWBY: Grimm Eclipse shows promise, but it doesn’t quite deliver on its potential. The game just doesn’t quite seem like it’s finished, it feels more like a beta version. Fans of the series will probably enjoy the game somewhat, though it likely won’t have lasting appeal. RWBY is not a bad game; it’s just not particularly good either.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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