Thanks to NWay for the review code
Title: Power Rangers: Battle for The Grid
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 03/26/2019
In this fighting game starring several characters from the Power Rangers series, you take control of a ranger who sets out to stop the evil Lord Drakkon from ruining the Morphing Grid! The story in arcade mode is very barebones and doesn’t seem to really mean much, though. It appears to be mostly based off the comics rather than the TV show itself (likely because that’s more open to crossovers than the current TV show, which isn’t like Sentai in that regard), but it doesn’t give much context on said comics for those out of the loop.
For a 2.5D fighting game, Battle for the Grid looks really good, at least when it comes to the character models and animations. Each of the current nine characters pretty on-model and it’s clear there was care into how they all would look and feel, especially when it came to some of the weapons they would use in the show. (Like the Magnum Defender using his special sword or SPD White using her claws) However, the backgrounds and the very limited amount of stages are pretty poor, with the most notable example being Zordon’s chamber, where Zordon just looks completely off. A lot more polish could have been put into those for sure.
The music and voices are a mixed bag as well. Hardly any of the sounds, voices or songs are actually from the show itself, and it sounds like a bunch of new actors provided the generic grunts and noises for the characters. The only things that sound accurate to the show include the flute that the Green Dragon Ranger plays whenever he uses his special move, and a few of the Megazord sounds. A lot more voice clips from the show or some remixed PR tunes could have helped a long way.
Battle for the Grid is a 3 on 3 fighting game where the main goal of a fight is to knock out the other team first. It’s fairly standard for a team fighter, as it includes the option to call in your other characters for an assist attack or to switch places entirely. You have three standard attack buttons, along with a special attack button that can be combined with a direction for a special move, making them very easy to pull off compared to other fighters. I’ve played other simplistic fighters before, but this one felt just right, not leaning too heavy on being too simplistic or too traditional.
Likewise, button combinations can perform some other moves that can help out a bunch in gameplay. You can do your typical throw, super moves, powered-up versions of a standard special move, and even summon your Megazord to assist you in battle by pressing both assist buttons at the same time. These all feel pretty solid and the game’s surprisingly balanced, with no one character being absurdly broken like most beginner fighters I’ve played.
However, a rock-solid and fun fighting system doesn’t work well without content, and Battle for the Grid is sorely lacking in that. The character roster is kinda small, with more additions promised via free updates and paid DLC, but I think it’s serviceable for a $20 price. I feel that characters aren’t the most important thing to add in a fighter, but rather actual modes and content to use them in. Right now, Battle for the Grid is super barebones and only has aa few basic modes available.
You have your standard training modes with all the fancy options you could expect in such a mode, along with a local versus mode and an arcade mode, topped off by online multiplayer. That’s it, you don’t even get combo challenges for the characters to try out. It’s insultingly barebones and the only thing you can really work towards is unlocking titles for each character, yet almost all of those titles rely on online multiplayer, which while smooth, is a pretty barebones way to pad out the game. “Win X amount of matches”, “Play Ranked X amount of times”, it’s very boring and the only merit to be seen in this mode is to play against friends and people from other platforms, since this game does support cross-platform play against all systems that isn’t the PS4.
In terms of the arcade mode, it’s a very long series of matches that end in a final battle against your team leader’s final boss. It doesn’t really have much of an “Arcade” feel to it and honestly the length drags on for quite a while. I managed to complete one run of this with my main (Magna Defender) before I felt I had enough and just went back to playing with my friend locally and online, so it’s a bummer there’s no alternate take like a story mode or a score/time attack mode like in Blazblue.
In conclusion, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is a shockingly great fighter, with well-balanced mechanics and a lot of fun combat to be had. The mechanics and flow of this fighter work great and it could very well have the potential to be among the higher-tier Power Rangers games out there. The big problem with this game is that it’s very lacking on actual content, especially of the offline variety, and while there are more characters planned, it’s disappointing to see stuff like extra costumes locked behind the preorder DLC rather than being something you could unlock through single player play.
There’s an excellent fighting system here, but there needs more stuff behind it, and dear god, if they manage to include cool new characters like Lokar, the Supersonic Rangers. (from the comic) and the Alien Rangers (to name a few) alongside some much-needed new modes, then this game would fulfill it’s super promising potential. Who knows, maybe we could get the mythical Bio-Man team from the 1986 pilot?
For now, I recommend buying the base game at $20 if you’re interested in checking this fighter out, and waiting for the DLC to actually get announced or for more modes to be added before going for the $40 all in one bundle. There’s already 3 new free characters on the way and a few new paid DLC ones as well, so there’s at least a good looking future for this title. I just wish it had more stuff to do at the moment.
I give Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid a 6 out of 10.