Worldwide phenomenon Rooster Teeth is awesomely working on something new. Even to this day, the first show they started 15 years ago is still running and being released. That is a feat in itself. However, four years ago they released something that may be even bigger in time: RWBY. Stylized like an anime series, it had monsters, teenage girl warriors, unique weapons, and awesome fight scenes. All of that screams video game bliss. In the past year, that dream became a reality. This will be a look at the Xbox One version of RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, which was also released on multiple consoles.
Before I jump into reviewing all of the technical pieces, let me say a few things. This is absolutely a game for fans. This style (like the Dynasty Warriors series) has been done again and again, and a lot of those other titles did it better. However, none of those games let you run around as one of your favorite characters from RWBY, destroying monsters in the areas we’ve come to know and love, as well as a few new locations. This game is distilled fan service for the fans. Outsiders will look in thinking “I don’t get what you see”, but for fans, it is a way to immerse oneself. Since the game was created by Rooster Teeth themselves, all of the original voice actors/actresses are back in full force to voice the characters we love.
I just wanted to get bit of of a preface out of the way before I started picking apart technicalities.
The basic premise of this game is that your team is being sent out to investigate abnormalities around Beacon Academy. These abnormalities lead to a (short) twisting road to discover what exactly is happening with the Grimm. Players can select your favorite character from Team RWBY or Team JNPR, if you have purchased their DLC. Each character has their own abilities and build style, but in the end it boils down to one simple concept, just punch the monsters until they die.
You can play by yourself, or with up to three other friends. There are no specific ways you have to build your team either. Continuity does not matter, so you can have any combination of characters, even doubled, tripled or quadrupled. My personal favorite was getting together four Yangs for a *ahem* Yang Bang.
One thing that I did notice pretty quickly was that while monsters were easier with fewer players, the game lost its charm in solo play. I found myself losing interest and getting bored with only me. The fights were easier, but seemed to take longer. However, players can drop in at any point during the match, making it fairly simple to get back to having fun with friends. The game would almost immediately get more enjoyable, just because I could interact with another person.
In regards to the actual gameplay, it is extremely easy to pick up and go. You have the standard controls: punch, block, ranged, and special buttons. Run around and kill monsters; it’s as straightforward as it gets. As you progress and kill more Grimm, you will gain experience. As you level up, you can unlock new abilities that will make you stronger or more useful as a team member. There are multiple abilities, however, that are not unlocked from the beginning, rather you must complete certain objectives to be able to buy them. For example, you must kill so many enemies with special attacks, or even revive so many teammates. The skills are not necessary to win the game, but they definitely make it easier and all around more enjoyable.
The length of the story is extremely short. I believe I finished it, with multiple breaks in a matter of three or four hours. The story itself was okay, but didn’t seem to fit, especially since the “adventure” your group goes on is never referenced in the show once. This made it feel like some sort of unrelated off-shooting story. Not only that, but the story would seem to fall to the back of focus, since this game is all about one thing: killing the Grimm. I will say that since that’s all the game it, Rooster Teeth did it well. While you only face 10 or so different types of enemies, the interactions with other players, as well as the iconic pounding soundtrack of the show, made me look forward to each fight.
The visuals are true to the show, but being Rooster Teeth’s first major video game endeavor, there are a few missteps. Literally. The characters seem to just float over the terrain while moving their feet, which is okay during fighting because there other things to focus on, but almost half of the game feels like walking or running from one fight to the next. There are no complaints on the actual fighting of the game. Like I previously said, if it was just a wave based fighter, it would be great.
While the title is extremely short, they do make up for it by adding challenges for the players. These challenges allow you to climb the rankings to show off your prestige among fellow players. All players start as Rank 0, but can climb up through 10. Each rank has unique requirements that must be met, like fully level up four characters or even kill a whopping 3000 Grimm. Upon each completion, essentially all character progress is reset, much like most first-person shooters’ prestige system. It adds an endgame to a game that doesn’t last long by itself, which is welcome for more things to do.
I never experienced any glitches or game breaking experiences while playing. I even sat down to play through the game again with Ruby instead of my favorite, Yang. With the title being a low budget game, Rooster Teeth Games has a nice start for a future of interesting titles. I have never seen a game where the replayability gives more satisfaction than the initial “play.” However, here we are looking at RWBY:Grimm Eclipse.
While I loved playing through this game, and would love to play through it again with friends, it has to be reviewed from a technical standpoint, not a fan standpoint. There are issues, and there is a lot to forget, but at the end of the day it does what it does well, and that is being a mindless hack and slash title. If you go too far from that, it starts to crumble, much like Beacon Academy.
Oops, I went there.
RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. Find out more on Rooster Teeth’s official page for the game.