Day One Hot Take: RWBY: Amity Arena

A quick preface here: I’m a fan of a lot of Rooster Teeth stuff, including RWBY. You might remember, far back in the Long Before I even included RWBY: Grimm Eclipse as one of my picks of 2015. I like the series, is what I’m saying.

RWBY: Amity Arena is a gacha game of the style of yesteryear, as well. High costs, low rewards, and a plethora of bugs and issues hamper what otherwise might be a fun experience for fans of the show.

Gameplay wise, you participate in a single lane MOBA-style battle, where you place down cards of various levels, strengths, and rarities to summon those character and generic mobs to move toward the enemy towers in an effort to destroy them. Destroying a tower increases the amount of area you have to summon your forces, all of which have a specific cost in an energy called Aura, which charges over time during the three minute battles.

Your opponent is doing the same thing, and your summoned characters clash with a decent variety of special abilities. This aspect is core to the game, and also is the first crack in the formula. Your character cards are leveled up by purchasing or earning doubles of that same card, and once you have enough for a level-up, you pay a cost in currency earned in-game. Purchasing cards via in-game currency, called Lien, in order to gain a level in that specific card which comes with a boost to a bunch of stats, like health, or turret damage.

Summoning cost, levels, numbers of the same card, and which ones are ready to upgrade.

Pretty standard stuff.

But, in the end, it is a gacha game. The rewards are random, and more than that, seem to be sparse. A successful battle awards something, I think, but the battles exit back to the lobby so abruptly I’m honestly not sure. The quests reward pittances of the Good Currency which you use to straight up purchase crates, but which are expensive enough that even from the very start you know that grinding these out will be time consuming to the point of absurdity.

On the left, rewards from completing quests. On the right, cost of crates.

On the one hand, it’s kind of refreshing that Amity Arena doesn’t use the tried and true tactic of doling out the dopamine hits early on when it doesn’t matter, but on the other hand it’s kind of offensive how blatant it is about getting you to spend your money. You want that first taste, you gotta pay.

If you want the good shit, be ready to spend some serious dosh.

Because of this lopsidedness, the outcome of any given battle can be guessed within the first moves. Either you play something and it eats through whatever they put down, or you play something and it gets destroyed near immediately by whatever they put down. Based on that alone it’s easy to determine whether or not the next three minutes will be worth your time or not, so much so that almost every match I’ve had has either been a total stomp, or I’ve been totally stomped. In the cases where I’ve had the clearly superior numbers, almost half the time my opponents just.. stop playing. Because why bother?

One feature that I do like is the ‘RWBY TV’ option, which lets you view battles between other players. It’s a neat thing, and if you happen to have a new character but aren’t quite sure how to use it to maximum effectiveness you can simply watch someone else and learn from what they do.

But I mentioned bugs and issues. I’ve had the game just dump to desktop, though only a few times. Occasionally a match will start and before the intro scene has completed the match will simply end and dump you back into the lobby. More pressing is some sort of matchmaking bug; if matchmaking attempts to form a match and times out, it dumps you back to the main screen and if you try and start a new match, you’ve given a generic error and have to close and relaunch the game to find a new match. I’ve had this happen several times in a row.

I.. I think I’ll pass, thanks.

When it works, RWBY: Amity Arena is fine, but needs some serious work and maybe another balance pass or two. Unfortunately, no amount of Ruby Rose colored glasses can make this stand with the gacha greats, at least right now.

 

RWBY: Amity Arena is available for free with micro-transactions on iOS and Android platforms.

Author: Erron Kelly

Reach backwards through the entire recorded history of our species, take every account of every game ever played by humankind, and average it out into one wholly unremarkable individual, and you will discover this man. He has written online for Game on Mac, Armless Octopus, and SideQuesting.

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