Being born in the 90’s, or wider still growing up in the West, it’s highly unlikely that someone hasn’t heard of the Power Rangers. Children’s entertainment phenomena, Power Rangers has ran for many years and seen around 27 seasons with a whole host of different colourful costumed heroes taking up different mantels, from Turbo to Ninja Storm and beyond. Now the franchise has an award-winning comic book series and from this, has inspired its own fighting game in the form of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid (because what other kind of game could you make with Power Rangers apparently). Now I know what you’re thinking, “This game came out a while ago and was already reviewed on this site” and to that you would be right; back in April 2019 the original release was covered by another writer. But since its debut, new ports have been released of the title alongside new content added. So the real question becomes, after all this time the game has had to add and alter, does it make Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid better or have the rangers fallen prey to poor management.
Right off the bat, the nostalgia hook is laid in very deep, as the games many menus are accompanied with a much heavier cover of the original Mighty Morphin theme song that has become synonymous with the show. It’s encouraging to see that they created a newer piece of music instead of simply playing the original song unedited. As much as it’s a good song and really amps you up for fighting, it is the only song that plays in the menus and loading screens. Not only that but the game tends to stutter while it loads and this translates to the song, making it very noticeable that Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid appears to be struggling to load most of the time. Which is strange when you consider that there were virtually no frame rate dips, except on the Mystic Force arena but I chalk that up to the waterfall animation combined with all the fighting graphics taking a strain on things.
The biggest addition to Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid since launch is the new Story mode which, as mentioned earlier, takes heavy inspiration from the comic book arc Shattered Grid, where an alternative version Tommy goes full dark side and wants to destroy every ranger that every existed (I haven’t read the comic yet, so I can only assume which bits they chose to directly take and what they toyed with). This new addition features fully voiced and animated cutscenes that tell the story of Lord Drakkon (Evil Tommy) as his conquest begins and moves across multiple universes, encountering different Rangers and different worlds. If Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid’s limited roster of characters disappointing you with how many teams didn’t make the cut, then I’m afraid to say that you still won’t be seeing them in the story mode either, but it does make use of some of the new addition characters like Jen Scotts from Time Force. Certain characters you do play as though, turn out to be nothing but teasers for what you can get if you shell out extra cash for the season passes or single DLC (none of which was sampled here).
Since the story has you travelling from different spaces and places to times and groups, you play as different characters across the different levels. There are three acts and 16 levels in total, each taking place in one stage but with multiple rounds, usually having you play as different characters each round. This isn’t to Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid’s advantage however, as the constant switching up of characters and fighting styles means that the difficulty curve is all over the place. Not only that, but one moment you’ll play as the heroes and give the bad guys a good kicking, only for the next round to switch roles and have you beat the hell out of the character you just played as. It all hinders the story itself and gives Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid a sore sense of ludonarrative dissonance, making each level feel more blocked off instead of a flowing, coherent story. The worst offending thing about this style of gameplay is that certain instances force the story in the middle of battle and cause the AI to get a free shot in. This was particularly annoying during a fight in act three between Gia Morgan (Yellow Super Megaforce) and Magna Defender (Lost Galaxy) against Golden Ranger (Zeo), Kat Ranger (SPD) and Udonna (Mystic Force) when the spirit of the Magna Defender is interrupting the fight to spout exposition. Each time the dialogue triggered, the AI would lock me into a combo and would level half of the health bar before I could recover. Some serious balancing is required when you consider fighters like Udonna can freeze you (literally) and then lock you into combo after combo.
Outside of the story mode, nothing much more has changed from the original release. Online play is still active and features “episodes” that can help players rank up their profiles. The classic “arcade” mode that most are accustomed to with fighting games is also an option but, as was covered previously, these amount to choosing a team of three rangers plus a megazord and take part in seven fights after another, with only the most thinly veiled and thrown together “plot” for each character available. For example, my team consisted of MMPR Red, MMPR Green and Kat Ranger using standard Mighty Morphin Megazord. As Jason was my main choice, the arcade mode story was his. The stage enemies were randomly selected (some even using my own team members) and everything culminated in a final fight with Ranger Slayer and one of the Mastodon Troopers. followed by the credits. That was all. Sure, I unlocked a banner for my profile to say I had done it, but that was it.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is by no means a bad game; given the relatively low price point for the base game, fans of the series will even a passing interest may wish to consider picking up this title. The issues lie with how bare bones it feels, as though the developers simply wanted to port over the mobile fighting game to consoles with minimal work. The additions made since launch add more things to do in Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, but at the cost of being uninteresting, unbalanced and under performed.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Power Rangers Battle For the Grid V2.0 Review
Gameplay - 4/10
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 5/10
Replay Value - 4/10
Fans of the series will no doubt find something to enjoy here, especially with the budget price. But the lack of real content, replay value besides online matches and poor practice of characters locked behind pay walls should deter others.
- Commitment to the source material.
- Soundtrack (although limited).
- Stuttering during load screens.
- Lack of real content outside online play.
- Pay walled characters.