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Review: RWBY: Grimm Eclipse – Grim Indeed

by Jon Guillen

RWBYDo you remember when you were a kid and you mixed all the drinks at the soda fountain into one cup thinking it’d be amazing? RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is that without your parents pretending someone else taught you how to make life-decisions. To be fair though, there’s some harmony between the fruit punch and sprite that isn’t too bad. There’s some good there, just not enough.

Although it was made in the states, RWBY carries heavy influences from Japanese animation. It was originally a flash cartoon made popular by the animators of Rooster Teeth. If big eyes and physics-defying hair make you cringe, you might want to stay away. If the idea of throwing yourself into a mob of enemies while frantically mashing buttons to hold onto dear life is your thing, well, go play Devil May Cry instead.

It should come to no surprise then that you play as one of four high school girls with magical powers. Also, every sword is a gun. Also, one girl IS a gun. Like, when she punches, bullets come out. It really says something when an idea like that can’t save this game.

I feel like the game developers for RWBY: Grimm Eclipse made design choices the way that parents try to get kids to leave them alone at business parties. “Run along [beat-em-up gameplay], go play with your friends [FPS scoreboard] and [MOBA skill trees]. You’re all in the same generation, I bet you’re going to get along great!”  The kids then spend the night staring at each other and planning revenge by doing it to their own kids years later.

The world of RWBY is bright. High-beams-an-inch-away-from-your-bumper bright. Adding salt to the corneas, the art style has a phobia against outlines. Factor in cel-shading and it’s hard to tell the difference between punching out a big fire-ball and the sun being cross with you. Naturally, this could be a non-issue for fans of the source-material.

Unless you have a thing for squeaky battle cries, your ears don’t have it much better. There isn’t even any variety in pitch or tone since every character has a set 2-3 squeaks to cycle through.

The music is there. That’s about all I can say. I’d give my opinion except I can’t judge it properly. Not because it’s unfinished, but because voices and sound effects are constantly drowning it out. If you think turning down voices and SFX to zero with background music maxed out in the settings would help, then you must not be good at finding patterns.

Despite all this, I still managed to have some fun. If nothing else, RWBY’s made a case for action games on the PC. Having played my share of Bayonetta’s and Devil May Cry’s, you’d think I’d feel most comfortable using a controller. I can’t tell you how natural it felt to use a mouse and keyboard. The trouble with frantic battles is getting hit by cheap shots when the camera can’t move fast enough. With a mouse controlling it, checking your back comes faster than any analog stick could provide. The simple two-button attack and one-button dodge set-up makes key-input breezy.

If you’ve even played an action game, then you already have the optimum strategy figured out. Combo, wait for their attack-tell, dodge, repeat. You also have limited, special moves to budget. You’d think each of the four playable characters would have unique ones, but again, bad with patterns. Add in that every character’s special moves boil down to three types (area-of-effect, missile, nuke) and there’s no reason to pick one neon, school-girl uniform over another.

I still don’t know what a Grimm is. The game never told me. Now that I’ve uninstalled RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, I hope I never find out. This game feels like a mediocre TV-adaptation c. 1996. Scratch that, I’d take Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game over this. Now I just want my 15 dollars back and Bayonetta 3 announced for PC.

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