Developer: Rooster Teeth Games
Publishers: Rooster Teeth Games
Genre: Third-Person Action
Rating: T for Teen
Currently on its fourth volume, the RWBY web series has become a viral hit which has recently been adapted into other forms of media due to its rising popularity. A manga and spin-off series called RWBY Chibi are two recent adaptations. RWBY: Grimm Eclipse has been around for a bit longer, beginning as a fan-made project by Jordan Scott. Scott began work on the project for Rooster Teeth’s anniversary in 2014.
Rooster Teeth picked up the project and hired Scott that very same year. The original demo was based on the very first trailer for the series, featuring hack ‘n slash survival gameplay where players took control of Ruby and fought hordes of creatures called Grimm. The game has now evolved into a full, four-player co-op experience with online features and a campaign to go along with it. RWBY: Grimm Eclipse may be Rooster Teeth Games’ first in-house production, but just days ago the company announced they are headed into the publishing business with the release of Battlesloths 2025: The Great Pizza Wars, so no doubt there will be even more RWBY to come.
The thing I enjoy most about the RWBY series is that it’s not your typical “anime” in terms of lewd content. Most shows contain heavy levels of violence and sex, but RWBY is a different story (aside from a few characters like Yang, who show a small amount of cleavage.) Grimm Eclipse resembles the show by carrying the same, clean tone. The worst of it is the violence, as you’re battling evil creatures known as Grimm. Characters use melee weapons in battle that double as ranged arms. Players defeat the creatures using a mix of ranged and close combat. Enemies bloodlessly flinch in reaction to attacks and disintegrate when defeated.
Any RWBY fan interested in Grimm Eclipse most likely wants to know, “Where does this game take place within the main series?” The campaign has its own original story featuring a character that’s not in the main series. Our heroes discover a mutated form of Grimm–a result of twisted scientific experiments conducted by a Dr. Merlot–while on a mission. The game is the perfect companion to the series and best enjoyed after viewing the first two volumes of the show. You’ll recognize a few familiar faces and locations that will mean little else otherwise.
Grimm Eclipse has online cooperative features and can be played with up to three other friends. Players can take control of their favorite Team RWBY character, or, for a few more dollars, can grab the Team JNPR DLC, which grants access to more series favorites. The hack ‘n slash, survival gameplay is best described as a mix of Dynasty Warriors and Left 4 Dead. Players execute an array of combos as they face wave after wave of Grimm. Aside from the campaign, players can take the action to Horde Mode, where (with help from auto-turrets) they protect a set of power nodes while facing waves of enemies that increase in strength and number.
Each character has basic and heavy attacks, along with an ultimate attack. A stun attack can also be performed that has the potential to set up a team attack with your cohorts. Most characters’ weapons also double as ranged weapons, allowing you to do some ranged attacks.
One of my favorite things about Grimm Eclipse that it does so well is each character’s unique fighting style. For example, Jaune’s ultimate attack has him slamming his shield down for crowd control and increasing the team’s damage for a short amount of time; since he also does a shield rush attack, he has no ranged weapon. Ruby swings her scythe around multiple times for her ultimate, switching it to a rifle when doing ranged attacks. Players also have the option to upgrade any of these skills with the light upgrade system. I say “light” because upgrading your skills is simply making them stronger or more efficient.
The presentation of the game stays true to the show for the most part. The characters look just like they do in the show, with fully voiced dialogue from the series’ voice actors. On the downside, I thought the music was underutilized. I enjoy the soundtracks from the show and was hoping to hear some of the same tracks (or even some original work) in the game. However, the soundtrack is pretty sub-par and ultimately gets lost in the sounds of combat during gameplay. Lastly, Grimm Eclipse kind of suffers from the same issues as a Dynasty Warriors game—it simply lacks a level of polish.
RWBY: Grimm Eclipse stays faithful to the source material. Fans must remember this is Rooster Teeth’s first outing in the gaming industry, and they probably didn’t have a triple-A budget to work with. The campaign is only a couple hours long and replayability will likely be determined by whether people have a group of friends that will really enjoy gaming alongside them. My experience was shared with a bunch of random folks that joined my lobby, but I enjoyed my time cutting through the hordes of Grimm.
As a show, RWBY‘s overall message is all about an increasing bond between a team of characters. The gameplay and format of RWBY: Grimm Eclipse definitely embodies the same spirit as the show. Best played with friends, I see Grimm Eclipse as something of a modern day take on the old-school beat-’em-up genre we enjoyed back in the day. Be sure to bring some fellow hunters or huntresses along when you take on this adventure.
The Bottom Line
Grimm Eclipse is full of fun, mindless combat. Though it lacks a certain level of polish, it does represent the series very strongly. Unfortunately, replayability is limited if players don't have a team of friends to fight Grimm alongside.