Based on the webseries RWBY, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse (already out on PC) got a console wide release this month. Like all video games based off TV shows or movies, I was skeptical going into the game. But the parent company, Rooster Teeth, does do amazing work and is consistently funny and entertaining, so expectations were a little high. And how did it pan out? Well...
As always, let's start with the story. Team RWBY, consisting of Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang, are off fighting a bunch of bony, black creatures. After fighting these things for awhile, they discover someone has been catching them and making them into even bigger bony, black creatures. Hot on the trail, the team soon finds themselves fighting once more to fix everything. As a story I guess it works. It's not a “hero out on revenge” story, so it gets points for not being that. The problem is that you have to be a fan to know what's going on. Characters and references are brought up that only fans would seem to know, and the story suffers a bit from it. Some of the best shows, like The Wire and Lost, reward fans for continuity, but at the same time you can still sorta get what's happening by tuning in. But here, the story is sacrificed for hacky-slashy elements.
Before we get to the deeper problems of the game, I will say that the controls work excellent. On the PS4, moving, swiping, stabbing, and all points in between are fine. There's nothing super complicated, and no confusing combos. Couldn't ask for more out of controls.
The mechanics of the game left a lot to be desired. Besides running, jumping, use magic, punching or stabbing, there's nothing really to do here. You play the linear story and then, that's it, you're done. Go on and path....and fight. Defend an area...and fight. Even missions where you, say, have to move a bomb, it is mostly fighting...again. The only variance is the characters, and after awhile, their attacks become tiresome. There's a lost of those creatures everywhere, and while they change in what animal they're supposed to be based off of, the fact that they're all the same color, move largely the same and come in huge groups means that it doesn't even matter what they look like. It's the same strategy for everything.
Graphics are, to put it best, mixed. The main characters look manga, the monsters are cell shaded, the wood and other effects look lifelike and everything else ranges from looking like it came out for the PS2, to being copy and paste current gen graphics. I don't know if it was a style choice or what, but it was all over the map. Roads and dirt look real, but look a little beyond and the grass is huge and bulky and you can't even tell if it's a modern graphic or if it was from a decade ago. When it's trying, they look spectacular. When it's not, it detracts from enjoying it.
Music and sound are bright spots. The music isn't my cup of tea so to speak, but it's hard rock that's pulse pounding and really does make you in the mood to fight.
Sound, eh, the sound effects do sound the same. But special mention goes to the dialogue. It's supremely well done. The voice cast is stellar and each character has the perfect voice actor behind them. Even the dialogue isn't half bad – it knows what it needs to do, and in some more funny moments, I actually laughed. To me, it's one of the high points of the game.
That being said, there are glitches and bugs galore. The camera has a real problem following your character at times, and close up, it can get pretty wonky. The game also froze and died on me 3 times in 2 hours – even Bethesda doesn't do that. The frame rate also went in and out of coherence. When one of the characters swung a giant axe, it hit one of the creatures, but as soon as it struck it moved at a frame a second for ten seconds, then an error message popped up. It was odd to say the least, and made me restart the system.
Altogether, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse seems like a game for fans only. Dialogue, music and controls are great, but those don't make a successful game. The story and playing do, and sadly, those are severe weak points. Take away the RWBY aspect, and it's a by the numbers hacky-slashy game. That's all it is. I really wanted it to be more too, but it's extremely one note. It's functional, has a few good things, but mostly, it turns out to be a disappointment.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
This game was provided to GeekNifty for the purpose of review.