I wanted to love this game. Truly I did. Writing the RWBY Grimm Eclipse Review disappoints me, because there’s clearly a game to be made out of RWBY and this isn’t what it deserves.
Third-person action is well suited to RWBY, but the empty open spaces, weak counter system and characters that mirror each other far too much hold back the game at its core. Outside of that, there are major performance issues when you take the game online. At least, in my experience on the PlayStation 4 version.
Add to that some serious camera problems and a terribly flimsy auto-lock targeting system with no option for manual locks just add to how flawed the game is.
All that said, the art style is true to RWBY and the environments, despite being unnecessarily large, are quite nice to look at. For more information, read the detailed review below. And don’t forget to drop me a Comment At the End with what you feel about this game.
Look and Feel
RWBY’s art style and characters are true to the source material. Understandably so, given that the game was developed in-house at Rooster Teeth: the birth-place of RWBY. Each character is as distinct as they are in the series and the dedication to that style brings to mind the anime quite often. Characters from the series are voiced by their original actors too. Lindsay Jones always does a great job of reminding why I like the character of Ruby Rose so much, even if her in-game lines are mostly throw-away. She’s a charming, adorable character.
Unfortunately, that’s where the praise for the game’s approach to its look and feel stops. The in-game camera has to be manually controlled most of the time, which is a nuisance when you’re surrounded by enemies. The more characters on-screen, the more the game had a tendency to stagger. In single-player, that’s not too much of an issue, but the game is best played with other people and the online performance only serves to accentuate those problems with the introduction of more attack animations and a whole heap load more enemies.
The controls felt flimsy, particularly the lock-on system. Mainly because there isn’t one. Not really. The game auto-locks on to the deadlier enemies but is easily confused when you’re trying to take shots at specific enemies when there are two or more. One on one, that isn’t a big deal, but that’s an uncommon scenario outside of larger, boss-like enemies.
The online Horde mode is where the game’s performance promise fell off a cliff. It seemed to be holding on well enough at first. Minor lag, perhaps. Once the the host became disconnected however, the game staggered and ended up ruining our run, never really recovering from the drop in connection. It was a shocking mess. Bare in mind that my review copy has been played solely on the Playstation 4. I can’t comment on the performance regarding Xbox or PC options.
In a nutshell, RWBY Grimm Eclipse is a run-of-the-mill third-person action game. It places a heavy emphasis on online co-op in its campaign and multiplayer but the main story can be played alone as well as with up to three others.
The game has two core modes: Campaign and Horde.
Campaign: Team RWBY Reporting for Duty (or JNPR with DLC)
Navigating a fairly linear recreation of Remnant (RWBY’s world), players must make their way through ten stages, each filled with a variety of enemies that’ll try and kill you along the way. There are artifact collectibles to be found in each stage. Finding them gives one hundred experience towards your next level, which also caps at level ten.
There’s a loose story that ties RWBY Grimm Eclipse together. Whilst on patrol, the team stumbles across traces of experimentation on the Grimm (monsters). The story is laced with audio communications from the teachers of Beacon as well as the main antagonist. Honestly, it’s a fine story that doesn’t intend to wow anybody. It’s a simple filler arc that allows a stage for the gameplay to take place.
As you level up, you’ll obtain skill points to invest in a simple upgrade system. I found the upgrades to be thoughtless. Though there are options to upgrade your Ultimate Attack and Shooting options, having no upgrade focus for base and heavy attacks (square and triangle button respectively) result in the moves you’ll likely use the most feeling tiresome and a little redundant as the game becomes more difficult.
Horde: The Best and Worst Experience of My Time
In Horde mode, a group of people can join quick matches or set up their own private game to clear ten waves of enemies, whilst also protecting three stations.
I really enjoyed the Horde mode for as long as its performance held up. Attacking enemies, though subject to some serious lag at times, felt good and watching my team-mates benefit from my stun-shots against their opponents was rewarding.
Defeating or assisting with the defeat of enemies earns you points. These points can be used to place turrets around stations to protect them while you’re off bashing Grimm at a different station. The higher the station number, the more difficult the enemies that spawned it seemed to me.
Unfortunately, my experience was mired by just how badly the game’s performance plummeted when the host dropped out. It ruined our team’s run, which I didn’t mind too much as I’m only playing for review, but that’d be a real shame for a group of RWBY enthusiasts getting together to enjoy this game casually. It’s a smudge on its already fairly basic approach to a third-person action game in its best mode.
Who Should I Play As? Don’t Worry About It.
The four base game characters (Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang) all play almost identically. Their animations may be different, but their attacks have an all-too-similar impact and effect. Every character has an area-of-effect ultimate that doesn’t do enough to differentiate them from the others. Their shots all have a higher damage or stun upgrade option. It’s almost as if their upgrade paths were simplified to avoid unbalancing the game. Either that or there was a worrisome lack of thought put in to making the characters unique. Either way, pick your favourite girl because it doesn’t matter too much in the grand scheme of things.
What Lets it Down
In all honesty, I could forgive the camera and technical issues if it were a great game. Sadly, RWBY Grimm Eclipse is shallow by third-person action game standards. Pulling off moves is easy enough, but acquiring specific targets and swiftly reaching them using dash moves or the like are a modern day staple for such games. Everything about the combat just feels frustratingly slow no matter who you’re playing as. It feels unfinished. As if it had the bones and the meat didn’t get slapped on before somebody said it was a finished human.
A large amount of real estate on the game-pad goes unused. L3 and R3 could have been mapped to include some of the missing features I’ve stated above, like lock-on or quick movement. The in-game dash/evasion is short-range and doesn’t seem to allow for a significant upgrade in the talent pool. It’s lacking in almost everything but its RWBY aesthetic, which is always a pleasure to see.
I’m not a fan of dumping all over a game, but RWBY Grimm Eclipse is bare-bones at best. Outside of its dedication to the source material, it disappoints on almost every level as an action game.
I’d love to see a RWBY game with a deeper leveling system, variety between the characters and a control scheme that takes full advantage of its combat, but Grimm Eclipse doesn’t fit the bill.
If the performance happens to be better on Steam or Xbox Live, there’s fun to be had in Horde Mode or the online Co-Op campaign, but that doesn’t fix all of what makes it a deeply flawed experience.
About This RWBY Grimm Eclipse Review
Game: RWBY Grimm Eclipse – Digital Download, Provided by Publisher
Review Format: PS4