Genre(s): Action, Arcade, RPG
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X|S)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 15/11/22
A code was provided for review purposes
RWBY, pronounced as Ruby, is a series created by Roosterteeth and has been around for a long time now. It has hit every market possible, from merchandise, comics, board games, manga, and even an actual anime adaption. However, RWBY has been waiting for their own game for a long time. Roosterteeth tried making an in-house game called RWBY Grimm Eclipse which was passable at best. Ever since then, RWBY has been a part of other video game crossovers, like Smite, and one of the 4 fates of BlazBlue: Cross Tag battle.
Enter WayForward, creators of Shantae, who are the developers of RWBY Arrowfell, which had people very excited when it was announced, although fans were skeptical about the art style. This brings us to today, was RWBY Arrowfell worth the hype? Or did it fall short of expectations?
The art style of Arrowfell really grew on me as time went by, although it does take a lot of getting used to as you play the game. The reason being, the characters look like those boddle head toys and it was a bit glaring. Although, the characters do have heights that match the show. Speaking of art, most of the dialogue is through text boxes and important key characters have art next to the text boxes, and most of it is fine. Honestly, I found the NPCs have the best art out of all the cast and were great to look at.
The presentation as a whole was great and I never experienced any slowdown, but I did encounter a bug/glitch at the midpoint of the game. Crescent Rose, Ruby’s scythe, just disappeared. The bug didn’t affect my gameplay and at first, I thought my eyes were just playing games on me, but no for a short time, Crescent Rose would not be in any of Ruby’s animations, and don’t get me wrong the bug did fix itself over time but it was a bit distracting. Other than that one bug, no other bugs or presentation issues to report, the game never dropped frames when I was playing it. Plus the game levels were easy on the eyes, and they look marvelous.
Animations in the game are very clean as well, bosses and enemies all move really well and so does team RWBY. However, the cutscenes were disappointing, to say the least. Roosterteeth made the cutscenes in-house and most of them were characters just standing around and slowly walking, the only exception was two scenes and they were short-lived.
Lack of Voice
While the cutscenes were disappointing in animation, they were at least voiced. Which brings me to my biggest complaint about the game, why didn’t they have voice acting in the main game? The voice actors of RWBY bring the characters to life, and it is a shame they aren’t used more in Arrowfell. While on the sound of the game I will say that most of the sound effects used in the game are very good, but Yang’s punching lacks the impact it needs. As for the music? While there weren’t many tracks that got my blood pumping, they weren’t bad at all. Although the new Jeff/Casey Williams song is a great bop and it plays in the first level of the game… I may or may not have gone to that level many times, just to hear that song play.
Arrowfell begins at a summit as General Ironwood, after giving team RWBY (who are Ruby Weiss, Blake, and Yang) their newly acquired licenses of being huntresses, sends them on their first official mission to figure out why there has been Grimm activity on the summit where there shouldn’t be. After a bit of searching, they found and destroyed an orb that was attracting the Grimm. They then set out to look out for anyone with any information on the orb and when doing so they met up with a team of huntresses who call themselves team BRIR.
The story of Arrowfell was underwhelming in my opinion, and when you learn the villain’s motives and reason for why they have done the things they did in the plot of the game, it just makes them look pathetic, to be honest. Unfortunately, the story was also very predictable as well, as I was calling twist left to right as time went on. Some important developments of the story happen off-screen and the ending was very anti-climactic. One great thing about Arrowfell is that, while it takes place during Volume 7 of the show, they wrote it so you won’t need to watch the show to understand the story.
While I won’t mention who, there was oddly not any appearance from very important characters either. Plus some of the writing for the characters felt very unlike them, namely Weiss interacting with Winter was a big moment for me. I also don’t like how many times Team RWBY mentioned they are “newly licensed Huntresses” it just took me out of the story after a while.
Semblance of Skills
Finally, there is the gameplay of Arrowfell and it is passable. Arrowfell lets you use team RWBY in combat and exploration using their weapons and semblances. Ruby can use her Pedal Burst to get too far away gaps and as a cool dash through enemies, acting as Arrowfell‘s dodge roll. Weiss uses her Glyphs as platforms for her and the others to use as platforms, wait a bit and it switches to attack nearby enemies. Blake makes shadow clones of herself for switch puzzles, and to use as a way to deal damage to enemies without being too close. Yang just uses her Burn semblance to create a mini-explosion around her to break certain blocks and does a lot of damage to enemies.
Out of all the semblances I find Ruby and Blake’s semblances to be the best, being able to get up some very good damage with the shadow clones and dodging attacks with Ruby’s dodge is great. As for the combat with the weapons? I say every character has their own strengths in battle. Ruby is a decent speed with her attacks with Crescent Rose, Weiss is the best range attacker in the game, Blake is a tiny bit faster than Ruby, and Yang is very fast with her punches. While weaker in one attack compared to Ruby and Blake, Yang can make up for it with her rapid punches.
You can switch characters on the fly and it is nice and snappy, although there are two ways to switch characters, either the top shoulder buttons or the camera stick. I prefer the camera stick because you can switch to any character at any time. The energy bar, for people who have watched the show, is basically Aura but with a different take on it. The energy bar takes damage from enemy attacks and protects you. Although if you run out and an enemy attacks you, you lose a heart. While a great system, there is something that confuses me. Why do range attacks/shooting use up energy but semblances don’t?
In the show, the weapons have their own ammo, and the semblances the girls use in the show cost aura for them to use. I believe they should not have tied range attacks to the energy bar, but instead, tied semblances to it. While I enjoy being overpowered with it, the semblances make the game very easy because you can use them as many times as you want. Instead of being careful and strategizing your attacks, you can get away with spamming. Which has made some bosses very easy. Although, I can tell why they didn’t tie it and that is because of the puzzles, as for the whole shooting I believe there should have been an ammo count for it instead.
There are also skill points you can use to make team RWBY stronger, and they really do improve the teams. My advice? level up the energy heal, it saved me so many times during my playthrough. As for others I recommend leveling up Ruby, Blake, and Yang’s melee attacks and Weiss’s range attack. You can also purchase items from merchants at certain locations, you can get items to gain back lost energy and lost hearts, as well as get skill points and extra hearts. Arrowfell’s bosses were very well done as well and I wished there were more of them. Sure one or two bosses weren’t that engaging but most of them were and gave me a few close calls.
Where Is the Dust?
While the combat was fun and engaging as it was, I feel like they could have done more with the source material. Namely, Dust. For those who haven’t watched the show, dust is basically a crystal and with it, you can do basically magic/elemental properties with it. For instance; fire, ice, lighting, gravity, etc… I wished they added dust to the gameplay somehow, maybe added it to the range attacks or make the melee attacks have elemental damage to them.
While the levels of RWBY Arrowfell are very appealing to look at, the design of the levels is basic but fine to play through as well. While the levels don’t do anything amazing, I can say they are engaging enough to say they aren’t boring to go through them. However, there is a point in the game where they do three ambushes in a row on you and that can be very tedious to play.
RWBY Arrowfell is a good game, but it does have problems. Namely, the story is pretty lackluster and the lack of voice acting is a missed opportunity. While the presentation is good, except for that one bug, the art style takes a lot of getting used to. The combat is very good but I wouldn’t say it varied, and I believe it could have been more. However, despite these issues, I still had a good time with the game.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can buy RWBY Arrowfell in the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.