RWBY started as a proof-of-concept trailer animated by Monty Oum, released in 2012 on the Rooster Teeth YouTube channel. The first season of the series was released in 2013 with 16 episodes, averaging at 5-10 minutes each. During 2014, a fan-game was developed by one person and released in April for free. In less than 24 hours, the developer was approached and hired by Rooster Teeth to make Grimm Eclipse into a full and official product. Halfway through last year the first build of Grimm Eclipse was released to Steam as an Early Access build.
Grimm Eclipse keeps the aesthetic style of the show, both in visuals and sound. The cel-shaded graphics and brilliant lighting make for an amazing-looking game when on the highest graphics. The character models are also faithful to the animated series, and each one is voiced by their original voice actor from the show making for an immersive experience.
The music and sound-design are, for the most part, ripped straight from the show. This isn’t a bad thing due to the soundtrack from the show being really engaging and well-composed, but it could’ve done with an original soundtrack.
The main purpose of the game is to make you feel like you’re in the middle of an episode of the show. And it does do this, to a degree. The hack-n-slash combat and sound-design are almost indistinguishable from the show in a lot of places, but it doesn’t manage to replicate the badass, high-adrenaline fights that are featured in the show. The closest the game came to these high-octane, one-on-one fights is with the final boss fight, which starts off nicely, but it quickly wears thin, especially in single-player where you’re constantly jumping around for minutes waiting for a chance to hit it a single time, and then the process repeats four of five times. Other than that one fight, all you do is just tear apart dozens of enemies at a time. I will admit, it’s a great feeling to tear through dozens of enemies at once, and it’s made even better with the right music. But it can wear thin after a while.
Another problem is that the difficulty is severely unbalanced in later levels of the single player campaign, being almost unfair in places, and just frustrating all around. Multiplayer is fun, but unless you have a decent computer, a small party, and the graphics down all the way it will lag to absolute Hell. This is because the game changes the amount of enemies depending on the number of players and difficulty setting.
In the first playthrough or two with each character, the combat is fun and fast-paced, but it doesn’t take too long before you realise just how limited the move pools are and just how little combos you can pull off. And it doesn’t help that the characters don’t feel nearly different enough to warrant playing as each character multiple times. Essentially, once you’ve played as one, you’ve played as them all.
The story is very bland and unoriginal. This is a massive let-down since a major draw of the show is how it takes concepts that seem bland or overdone and turns them and fleshes them out, not opting for the easy and familiar route. For the show, they use clichés to quickly introduce an idea and later flesh it out. For the game, they didn’t do this. I know it’s too much to expect a full and completely original story that takes place between the second and third season of the show since it is more or less an indie venture, lacking both the time and budget that all major RPGs have, but I do feel that they could’ve done something a bit more with it than they did.
My high expectations of what Grimm Eclipse could have been has definitely made me harsher in my judgement, since it does do what a game is made to do. Grimm Eclipse is a good piece of entertainment that passes the time when you’re a bored. I’m just disappointed that it isn’t anything more than that. It’s a decent enough companion piece for fans of the show, but it’s not the kind of game that will bring in or convince a different audience that isn’t already hooked.
by Joshua Oldham