Developer: Rooster Teeth Games
Genre: Action, Musou
Platform: Nintendo Switch
I’m not what you would call a huge fan of RWBY – I adored the original character trailers that were first released and I saw the first season of the animation made by Rooster Teeth. I liked it well enough but just never quite got around to checking out the rest of the series. But hey, I like the characters so a hack n slash style game where you get to play as any of the eight characters in teams RWBY and JNPR sounded pretty good to me! I had actually never heard of RWBY: Grimm Eclipse before and was excited to find out the game was itself produced by Rooster Teeth itself and featured an original story. So, how was my experience with this game?
Unfortunately, I found this game to be overall rather lacking and certain sections such as couch co-op were pretty much unplayable. The game was originally released on Steam, and afterward onto consoles and that’s pretty telling when it comes to the local cooperative gameplay. Interestingly as well, I did a bit of digging and found out that the game was originally created by a fan, and caught the eye of Rooster Teeth, who picked it up and developed it into a full game. I’ve seen a few trailers of the original fan game and it’s beautifully atmospheric, something which unfortunately seems to have gotten lost in the development process. The combat system is fairly generic and there’s nothing particularly wrong with it – there’s the basic regular attack, heavy attack, dodge (no blocking, sadly) and the options to shoot and taunt. There’s also an ultimate attack which charges up the more you hit things. There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve to getting the hang of this in-game though and it took me quite a few early deaths before I mastered it. Each character thankfully does have their own set of moves to differentiate them all but I personally only really clicked with one or two of them (Blake and Ren), and rarely used the other characters at all. There was also no real tutorial stage in this game and you’re basically just dropped right into the game – thankfully the controls can be seen in the settings menu but it was definitely a bit disorienting to just be let loose with no idea what to do.
The game’s solo route consists of ten chapters or missions, which sees you taking your character through a series of locations, fighting your way through waves of enemies, and occasionally getting little info dumps of the plot via your communicator. It’s not the worst way to do things – but there never really feels like there’s any real interaction with the people on the other end of the communicator which doesn’t really immerse you into the actual story. The stages last about twenty minutes or so each and quickly devolve into repetition before the game just… ends abruptly. A few stronger and different enemies appear as you pass on through the game but there’s never anything that really stands out overly apart from the final boss which was ultimately more annoying to go against than fun. Often you just find yourself kiting the enemies with your attacks and then running off to restore your hp before dipping back which feels less satisfying than just being able to block and go all out or put any real strategy into the combat. Solo play and online co-op work well enough but local co-op is abysmal, due to both players sharing the same screen with only the lead player controlling the camera. This inevitably means that the other local players are often unable to see their character all which is a very frustrating experience and really limits the actions available to them.
Let’s get onto the good points of this game though – the character models themselves look pretty decent and really do look like they’ve been dropped straight from the show. The settings look better on a handheld than on the big screen and whilst most were fairly generic, there were a few locations that stood out visually. The lack of any real deep story actually works to the game’s advantage with the pick-up-and-play appeal and means that players unfamiliar with the franchise don’t really miss out on anything important. The music too is excellent throughout, something which was always a solid staple of the series (even if they tend to repeat after a while in stages as they loop over). In addition, when you die in a stage, as long as you don’t outright quit the level screen you can jump back into where it last autosaved which is a blessing on longer chapters. You also get the opportunity to swap your character when you die this way allowing you to trial who works best.
Ultimately, however, I just didn’t feel like this was a game that had enough content or depth to really be all that memorable. Whilst playing solo or online multiplayer it’s an easy way to kill a few hours but I didn’t really feel like this game really added anything to the RWBY universe. The main villain was very two-dimensional and extremely laughable, and the interactions with any other characters were very one-sided and lacking in emotional depth.
RWBY: Grimm Eclipse Definitive Edition
A RWBY hack n slash game with minimal story can be a fun online multiplayer but suffers in the couch co-op and solo experience.