Game Review: RWBY – Grimm Eclipse (Xbox One)

If I had to pick my favorite element from the web series RWBY, it would be its music. Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams don’t just deliver one of the best soundtracks ever made, but some of my favorite songs period. While the game’s music doesn’t showcase the fantastic vocals of Casey Lee Williams, it does energize you and grant a great sense of enthusiasm during this shallow and short-lived experience that is RWBY: Grimm Eclipse.

RWBY is a 3D rendered American based web series done in the spirit of a typical action anime. The show is set in the fictional world of Remnant, where groups of young warriors of many talents train to become Huntsmen and Huntresses to protect the world from the creatures of Grimm. Years past, mankind waged a war against the Grimm before discovering the power of a mysterious element called Dust. This allowed them to battle back against the monsters, to great effect. In the present day, Dust is used to power the weapons of those Huntsmen and Huntresses.

While the story centered around the RWBY web series is well written with well thought out characters and witty dialogue, there is no mention of this story or its fun characters anywhere here. While this serves as a companion to the series, taking place between seasons 2 and 3, it does nothing to further the characters or teach you about this interesting world. There is a paper thin plot throughout this adventure that is really only told through voice-overs and a voice speaking to you via your cell phone. This voice will change to several characters throughout the series and give you bits and pieces of a story about some secret company doing experiments and such. For a series so packed full of well-choreographed action, humor and character, there is none of that here.

The series mainly focuses on a few characters, four of which are present here in the game, with another four available via paid DLC. Apart from that DLC, you’ll have access to team RWBY; Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long. Each of the girls, despite their change in weaponry, tend to play mostly the same and don’t really offer much variety other than a change in visuals and their voice-over work.

Each character has a basic attack, a heavy attack, a distance attack, and a special attack. As you attack and kill enemies you will increase your special attack. Your heavy attack can be held down to do additional damage. The combat here is fast paced, fun and can make battles a blast when adventuring with other players. Max level is ten, but you’ll reach that well before the last area. To assist in leveling, there are ancient relics to find hidden in the game to earn you more experience. You can spend points when you level up to craft a unique version of your character and unlock additional features by completing certain challenges in-game. You can reset your points pretty much at any time to change it up and try out other upgrades.

The basic gameplay of RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is repeated throughout each of the 10 chapters. You’ll find a few spawns of enemies here and there and several moments where you’ll need to survive wave after wave of enemies, usually protecting some type of object. There is a section later on where you’ll need to power-up a mine cart with Dust pickups scattered throughout the area. Other levels will see you destroy items that cause enemies to spawn. I wish the game offered more diversions like these to shake up the same basic design structure that the better part of the game uses.

Your time with RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is a short 2-3 hours depending on going solo or flying through the 10 chapters with a full co-op roster of four characters. My first playthrough was solo and took me just under three hours whereas my full four player co-op game was just shy of two hours long. There is also a horde mode that sees you battle waves and waves of Grimm as you attempt to survive. After the credits rolled on my first completion, I was very dissatisfied with the game, chalking it up to basic, mediocre and bland. It wasn’t until a few levels into my second playthrough; a full 4 player co-op fest, that I was starting to see how fun and engaging this game could be. If you are looking for a solo experience, I can’t recommend RWBY: Grimm Eclipse at all as the game just begs to be played with other people.

RWBY: Grimm Eclipse started its life as a fan game that was then picked up Rooster Teeth, the creators of RWBY, and reworked into a legitimate full release. They had seen what the solo developer had done and were so thrilled that they hired him and set up a game studio to finish the game. Add in some official music and voice-overs and RWBY: Grimm Eclipse was born.

While the show itself has an almost video game approach, the game itself is rather bland, but still visually similar to that of the show. There is lots of pop-up in the earlier levels and much of the level design itself is basic and repetitive. Some of the darker areas also make the brightness of your character stand out like a sore thumb as if you were playing as some type of mobile night-light. I had several areas in the game glitch out and some textures not show up properly on both playthroughs.

RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is a $19.99 release on consoles that under serves the web series it is based on. It’s bland, repetitive and has such a lackluster story that you’ll forget all about it once the credits have rolled. Its four-player co-op is its saving grace and can make for a fun time, albeit a very short one. It has a fantastic soundtrack by series composer Jeff Williams, even if Casey Lee Williams doesn’t have her vocals present. If you are a die hard fan of RWBY then there may very well be just enough here to keep your interest at least for a few hours, however; those who are unfamiliar with RWBY won’t find anything here to peak your interest at all and you are better off just enjoying the incredibly superior web series.

Check out the trailer featuring some of Casey Lee Williams’ amazing vocals.

and here is a trailer for season one of RWBY in case you haven’t seen it yet.









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