Review: RWBY: Grimm Eclipse (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC, Mac

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: RWBY: Grimm Eclipse
Format: PSN (4.91 GB)
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Rooster Teeth Productions
Developer: Rooster Teeth Productions
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
RWBY is an animated web series with a diehard cult following that has been fiending for a video game adaption for what feels like forever. They finally got one, but it might not be exactly what they wanted.

The foundation of RWBY is built upon vibrant loveable characters and phenomenal fight sequences. The style of the series has evolved over time as it has grown in popularity and budget.

Early in the series the backgrounds were somewhat bland with background characters appearing more like placeholders. This allowed the creators to focus on the main characters and focus their effort on the action. This gave it a unique style that relied on an excellent execution of character development with story and action sequences to justify the plain backgrounds.

Over time though, the art style of the series has evolved with, I assume, a bigger budget, allowing for the world to catch-up with the characters. This has turned it into an amazing series going into its fourth Series or “Volume”.

I mention this because the video game adaption look and feels like a budget title and unlike the show there is no heart to push it past its faults.

… I had seen it all and I was bored out of my mind …
RWBY: Grimm Eclipse follows the main characters of the show (Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang) on their adventures to wipe the Grimm (monsters) from the world. Sadly, the story is nonexistent.

Despite having a great cast of characters to work from, the game does not feature much of a story. I didn’t see any real cutscenes or fun interaction between team RWBY. Instead I played seemingly random missions that were given to me by other characters over the phone.

The mission types are painfully simple. All ten chapters involve going from point A to Point B and battling waves of Grimm in between. On occasion there are objectives on the map that need to be defended from waves of Grimm though that’s as deep as it gets. After going through the first three chapters, I knew I had seen it all and I was bored out of my mind. I eventually made my way through the whole “story” to be both shocked and relieved that it ended so soon.

The show features great actions and I can deal with a lackluster story if the gameplay is solid, but it’s mediocre at best. The action is simple with a standard attack, strong attack, and range ability.

… rather underwhelming to say the least …
With those tools you battle monsters over and over again. The action looks okay, but cannot match the style of the show. Instead the gameplay feels more like a generic beat em’ up. You go through waves and waves until the chapter ends and you get a bit of exposition over the phone for story.

In the show teamwork is emphasized but when the game awards teamwork it isn’t done with style or substance. Teamwork is hitting the same enemy as your co-op partner(s) with no style or cool team-up animation just hit an enemy, get XP. Other than XP there is no real reason to go out of your way to work as a unit and co-op felt more like four individuals doing their own thing in the same area.

Every killed enemy earns XP which can be used to upgrade your character via a simple upgrade system. The upgrades, like everything else, are pretty damn underwhelming. Health and the moves can be upgraded, but player’s abilities mostly stay the same. Instead of unlocking cooler moves it’s about slightly improving your starting moveset. Even so, the improvements are marginal at best and I did not notice too much of a difference when I upgraded a specific character.

The characters play and feel only slightly different from each other. They technically all play the same due to the limited control scheme of three attacks. Their Ultimate ability is their special power move and these are somewhat stylish and the only thing that looks significantly different between them.

The story and the gameplay is rather underwhelming to say the least. It’s a joke how weak it is in both presentation and depth. The action is repetitive and rather boring especially in comparison to the source material.

… doesn’t even run well from a technical standpoint …
Visuals:
Grimm Eclipse does not look like it should be associated with RWBY. The environments are bland and empty. The character models look slightly off too, especially when you get the camera closer to them. I cannot quite tell what is off about them, but they look almost low res. It’s a shame something as cool looking as RWBY is stuck with such a visually underwhelming adaption.

It doesn’t even run well from a technical standpoint. The framerate drops at odd moments and I have had the game crash a couple of times. There are even weird pop-up issues despite there not being much to render. For example: Weiss has the ability that freezes enemies in a block of ice. If you happen to be far away from Weiss you’ll notice enemies standing still because the ice around them will not render until you are really close to them.

Little things like this should not be happening and really took me out of the action early on. That and the occasional weak explosions hurt the the overall presentation and give off a low budget vibe.

Audio:
I have to admit I might love the music from the show more than the actual show. So imagine my sadness when I found out that the game features little of the music I adore. There are some songs that I recognize from the soundtrack though they are without lyrics and are tough to hear in the background. For the most part the soundtrack is barely noticeable while playing.

The main voice cast is the same from the series from what I can tell. Team RWBY do not have much to say which is a shame. This leaves most of the work to less notable secondary characters that put in decent performances.

… The only thing done right is the inclusion of four player online co-op …
Online/Multiplayer:
I do have something positive to say, the online multiplayer works! The game features four player online co-op that works as advertised. I spent a majority of my playthroughs in co-op with strangers and connecting and staying connected was a pretty smooth experience.

I would recommend that if you play, do it in co-op as opposed to playing solo. The action moves at a quicker pace and playing with others is always a more fun way to play regardless of the quality of the game.

Conclusion:
It’s a shame RWBY’s first foray into video games is Grimm Eclipse. Fans of the series have been clamoring for a game and for this to be what they get is a missed opportunity. The gameplay is average at best and the story is pitiful. The only thing done right is the inclusion of four player online co-op.

Fans should demand more because moves like this feel like a cash-in on the loyalty of the fanbase rather than an extension of what they love. As a fan of RWBY, I cannot recommend Grimm Eclipse to anyone, even if they are a diehard fan. There is nothing horrendous being done here, it’s just another below average licensed product.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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