For the purpose of transparency, this review was completed using a review code provided by Rooster Teeth. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of this product.
As a fan of the RWBY anime I was pleased a port of the PC game was eventually coming to consoles, and really the anime meant the game had some great potential – but did it succeed on this?
Grimm Eclipse is based on Rooster Teeth’s (also known for Red VS Blue) animated show, and takes the form of a 4-Player co-op hack and slash game. You are given the option to play as characters from the show; each with their own weapons and abilities, and skill trees when levelling.
They have given the game a unique story, but kept in essence with the anime – with the storyline slotting in-between Volume 2 and 3 of the show. With this setting in place; the game starts with Peter Port guiding you through the Emerald Forest, as you investigate issues with a security network, then it is discovered the network was re-programmed by an unknown user. Also on the way you come across a number of containers made to capture Grimm, that have made by the now defunct Merlot Industries, an old development and research company from Mountain Glenn – The rest of game is spent investigating the unknown user across a number of locations from the show.
One issue I found with the story, is the game just throws you straight into playing it, there is no opening cinematic/movie to explain why you are there and what you are doing. I feel this happens due to the link with the TV show and it falling in-between the two volumes, but this will cause issues for people who have not watched the show. Making it feel more like one for the fans of the show, rather than people who first heard about RWBY from the game – and this is a real shame in my opinion.
If you are familiar with the hack and slash genre, you will soon feel at home with Grimm Eclipse. The game will give you access to four of the characters from the TV show (with an add-on taking that number to eight), but as with a lot of hack and slash games they all have a set of basic attacks, which will normally result in the use of one button to attack, and the dodge/jump button being primarily used. This may make it sound like the combat is bad, but it isn’t bad at all and for me is the most enjoyable parts of the game, being the game it is you would expect the combat to be the main focus.
The only issue I had when it came to the combat, was the decision to make your health regenerate by running and not taking damage. I know this is typical in a number of game genres now, but to me it shouldn’t exist in a hack and slash title – the reason being the break in the combat. When you watch the show of RWBY, the combat animations are so smooth and endless, but as soon as your health bar is nearly depleted in the game, you have to break the combat and run away, until it re-generates. If you look at my genre favourite Devil May Cry the enemies will drop heath orbs every now and then as they’re defeated meaning fewer breaks in combat – something this game could have maybe implemented to solve the issue.
While playing the game your characters will level up (maximum level is 10), you can do this by defeating enemies, finding artefacts, and orbs in some destructible boxes – however, it does take a long time to level your character, especially if doing it on single player. Each level up you’ll gain a skill point to put into a skill on your character, but, where you can re-assign them each mission, they’re not transferable to other characters. I know this would have been put in place to make you take each character to max level and expand the lifespan of the game, but it can be annoying when joining people through match-making and you’re stuck with a character you’ve not levelled.
The main issue I found with the upgrade system they have put in the game, is that not all of the skills are not unlocked by levelling, and have instead been placed behind some really tedious tasks – meaning a lot of people wont ever get these skills because they won’t really be that bothered about them, weighing up the task to the skill.
Visually Grimm Eclipse mimics the TV show very well, with the character’s being the same, and surroundings being very stylised to the unique art style – meaning it catches the true feeling of the show. Although, it is let down by the fact some the textures and backgrounds aren’t up to scratch. Another thing that let’s it down a bit is a lack in the variations of the enemies you encounter, with a lot being recycled through the entirety of the main game.
As mentioned before this is primarily a 4 player co-op game, so as you’d expect this is where you will find the game the most fun – if not for some little issues. Firstly, this game is a lot more fun with a group of people you know, rather than match-making; more down to you are not sure what the players you are going to be placed with are like – but this is the same with any game not just this one. Secondly when playing with a group of people you know the game can easily be completed in 2-3 hours, give or take delays due to connection issues. Which was the final issue, it was a struggle to get through the main story on co-op without these happening, making for frustration rather than fun. Once you have completed the game it does unlock a horde type mode, that will give you more options for multi-player, but it’s not something that stands out, and you’ll find yourself wanting to play often.
You can play through the story on single player, which is the way I did my first play-through. This is not anywhere near as fun as the co-op element of the game, and can take a little longer to complete the story (it took me about an hour more), and as mentioned before it seems to take longer to level up your character. Taking into account some of the technical issues you can encounter (that I’ll touch on soon), it becomes a lot more frustrating on single player, and make it take longer and seem harder than the game actually is.
So, as mentioned above there is a number of technical issues, that can make the game harder than it actually is. The ones I came across while playing it were; my character got stuck on the spot, enemies attacks seem to connect from a distance, and sometimes your button commands are not recognised – a lot that will result in your death. Like mentioned this more annoying on single player, as your death results in automatic failure.
Like the anime I think RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is something you will either love or hate – and the game left me feeling this game is certainly for the fans of the show, and not for someone new and with no knowledge of the franchise.