“Slash. Shoot. Repeat:” RWBY: Grimm Eclipse Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - January 29, 2017

“Victory is in a simple soul,” is a line from the opening theme of RWBY. By its own logic then, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse has won an astounding victory, as it is very simple. From a more objective viewpoint, however, this simplicity can grow tiresome. For the uninitiated, RWBY is an anime-inspired web series that began back in 2013, and soon achieved international popularity. RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is the official video game of the series, and although it doesn’t aspire to accomplish much, it does most things well enough.

    RWBY: Grimm Eclipse tells a story set between the second and third seasons of the show. If you are not already familiar with the series, you’ll only get the broad strokes of the narrative. The gist is this: team RWBY is comprised of schoolgirls Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang, who are training to fight monsters known as Grimm. While on a mission, the team discovers a mysterious act of sabotage and decides to suss out the culprit. The plot is stock-standard, but the voice actors from the show all lend their talents, which lends the game an extra layer bit of polish. Supporting characters drop in with no introductions to reference events from the show, however, so expect to be confused from time to time if you have not been keeping up with the series.

The combat in Grimm Eclipse is familiar, but with a couple of interesting wrinkles. As one of the four playable characters, players will alternate between light, heavy, and ranged attacks, as well as counters, to defeat hordes of enemies, while occasionally defending an objective.

Each character has an identical control scheme and combo list, but there are subtle differences that present themselves over time (Blake has an air juggle built into her basic combo, Yang’s ranged weapons have little reach but excel at crowd control, etc.) Repetition can set in fast in solo play, and some sections can be quite difficult, so bringing along some friends for co-op is advised. Setting up and executing team attacks with partners is fun, and helps breathe some life into the repetitive combat. The game runs fairly well online while playing the campaign, but it is worth noting that the framerate was consistently worse in horde mode, sometimes dipping to truly awful levels.

The visual style of the show is emulated quite well. Character models are spot-on and the Forever Fall forest is especially striking with deep crimson as far as the eye can see. Yet, here are some stiff walking and running animations, and the game has no cutscenes to speak of. Music from the show appears intermittently, but only one new vocal track was recorded for the game; seeing as how the show boasts some spectacular songs, this is more than a little disappointing.

Grimm Eclipse offers little in the way of replayability. You’ll level up your character well before the end of the campaign, and after that, there is only horde mode (which is almost identical to wave-based challenges in the campaign) and the pursuit of increasing your player rank (an arduous grind that borders on insane). For a game that clocks in at roughly three hours your first time through, and shorter after that if you’re leveled up or playing multiplayer, Grimm Eclipse is light on additional content, especially considering the $20 price tag.

    RWBY: Grimm Eclipse can be fun if you’re a fan of the show, but it has little to offer besides simple fanservice and mostly competent gameplay. As a fan of the show, I really wanted to like this game, and while I certainly got some enjoyment out of it, it lacks much of the imagination that makes the show so much fun. The visuals and voice acting are good, and fans will relish the chance to play as their favorite heroines, but for everyone else, the game is a tough sell; Grimm Eclipse does nothing that other games haven’t done better. If you have some friends who want a fun co-op action game to play together and they’re all fans of the show, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse may have enough to satisfy your needs. Solo players and non-fans should think carefully before buying, however.

 

Final Score: 2/5

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