RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is a game that I had not played for a while but I have to admit I’m glad I did come back to it. The game launched 1st December 2015 as an Early Access game on Steam. It had started as a fan project for the animated web series that Rooster Teeth contacted the developer to make as an official game.  The game is a co-operative hack-and-slash action game for up to four players.  In some ways it’s like a combination of Left 4 Dead and Dynasty Warriors. At the moment the playable characters are just Team RWBY; Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long, each with their own abilities and combat style. Gameplay progresses through a campaign of 4 maps (currently) in which players clear a number of checkpoints by doing various things. So far it has consisted of fighting Grimm, monsters that live in the world of Remnant (the series setting), defending certain points, and even escorting a bomb to a safe place for it to explode. Story-wise, the game takes place between Volume 2 and Volume 3 of the series.

I returned to playing Grimm Eclipse because recently a couple of updates for the game had dropped. This update made quite a few changes to the game. These changes have been pretty big for the game and have changed for the better in the most part.

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Mountain Glen is location that appeared at the end RWBY Volume 2. Other series locations appear in the game as well.

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Singleplayer mode

This was something that wasn’t present on the initial release. The game was strictly online to play with other people and playing it alone required a small trick. Singleplayer was something wanted by players since the it launched and has been added to it now. The mode itself is still being worked on by the developers, as noted by the ‘Beta’ tag for the option on the main menu. It allows a player to select and any character and progress through the campaign on their own. The strength of the Grimm faced is adjusted (as it also is depending on the number players online) and currently there are no AI players to assist. It a nice experience to go through and it’s nice to be able to take the game at your own pace.

 

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All the waves in the defence objectives have titles like ‘The Horde’ here.

Combat and control changes

Here is where the biggest changes to the game are. Initially, there was one attack button, one ranged attack button, a jump, a dodge, and 3 for special attacks.  It was a bit repetitive and involved a lot of clicking on the mouse when playing using a keyboard and mouse. Combat boiled down to button mashing in this version.  In the newly patched version, there are now a weak attack and a chargeable heavy attack. The heavy attack can be added to the end of a weak attack chain for a finisher. These attacks change depending on how many of the weaker happened before the heavy attack is used.  Also the heavy attack can break the guard of some Grimm such as the Beowolf.  The nature of the ranged attacks had been changed as well. On release it was possible to shoot indefinitely and it would lock on to enemies automatically. This made it possible to pick off Grimm from a big distance and some characters had a large amount of stun fire rate which was a little overpowered (Blake especially). Now it works as a 3-hit combo with powerful attack on the end of it. The special moves have been completely changed, with a single Ultimate attack with the others being used elsewhere (such as the ranged combo for example). The Ultimate attacks are strong moves that hit all enemies in the area around the player.

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The prompt above this Grimm’s head is for the counter attack. Getting it right stuns it.

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Blake’s Team Attack has her creating shadow clones around the Grimm before they all slice into it.

Other combat options were other of the game. It is now possible to counter attacks from Grimm. Before certain attacks an icon appears over the head of a Grimm. When pressed with the correct timing, a character will rush to attack. The attack will stun it and leave it open to damage from normal attacks. My favourite new option is the Team Attack. When a Grimm is hit with a strong attack there is a possibility for a Team Attack to occur. The Grimm will be stunned and a prompt will display over its head for another player to come in and finish it off. Both players get an experience point bonus for Team Attack and after levelling up points earned to develop character skills. The final addition is that the dodge button can now be held for faster movement.  It’s helpful for getting around quicker.

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Yang’s skill menu. A skill point is earned for levelling up and these points are spent for new abilites and upgrades. These upgrades are not permanent so everyone in a game is on a level playing field.

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New campaign stages: Forever Fall

Added most recently to the game were two stages in the area Forever Fall. The palette for this area is full of deep reds that contrast to the rest of the landscape. The stages themselves move between indoor and outdoor areas, often going onto split paths to find a way to proceed. These are interesting stages, especially the second stage. The Grimm here do appear to be a bit more powerful, however at this point in the game it is likely that the maximum character level of 10 has been reached. However, this doesn’t make them a walkover. HP is higher on them and they appear to block attacks more. Two things are introduced in here; opening doors by locating keys and a new type of Grimm that hasn’t been seen before. This one is stronger than most of the others, and can take quite a few hits. It’s appearance is  is something to be careful of (in one defence objective, there is a wave of just this new variety). It definitely adds something to the game and are hopefully a sign of wider enemy variety with future updates. I really hope that as further stages are added that the variety of objectives increases as well.

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Forever Fall is another area full of ruins, however they appear to be much more intact than those seen earlier in the game

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Parts of this map require a key to be found before moving on

It is still worth noting that RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is still in Early Access and therefore a work-in-progress. It is still light on content at this point however the developers are looking to address this. A Horde mode is displayed as ‘coming soon’ on the multiplayer menu and more additions to the campaign are expected. The first update was about improving the gameplay, particularly in the combat, while the second is starting to address the content issue.  At this very early stage (I think the game is still in the alpha phase of production) the game appears to be improving and shaping up well. It will take some time to see how far it will go but things appear to be good.

 

RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is currently available on Steam Early Access.

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