Review – Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid

A Power Rangers fighting game is an idea that might sound stupid at first, but when you really think about it, might actually work if enough care is put into the project. Think about it: this is a long-running series featuring tons of martial arts, special effects, and ridiculously cheesy character designs. This is everything a fighting game needs in order to succeed. This is the main reason I was actually looking forward to playing Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid ever since its first announcement earlier this year. Now that the game is finally out, I can safely admit that my sense of optimism was made in vain…

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The cheap sparks looked a lot cooler on the TV show.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is a tag-team fighting game intended as a love letter to the classic Tokusatsu franchise, reuniting characters from different eras and seasons in a three versus three battle format. That’s a beautiful elevator pitch, but the actual results are disastrous.

Let’s start with what this game did right. The character designs are decent and the combat system isn’t that bad. Each character has their own combos and strategies, and the controls are responsive enough. The combat might be a tad repetitive, often relying too much on building up your special meter in order to unleash an ultimate attack, but it’s easy to learn, meaning anyone can pick this game up and play it in no time.

I also need to point out that surprisingly enough, this game features a pretty good inplementation of cross-platform functionality, as you can fight against PC and Xbox One players while playing on the Switch. Sadly, this where I’ll stop praising Battle for the Grid.

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This roster is just… wow…

The game as a whole feels rushed and not worth its price tag. This is a game devoid of content to a nearly offensive degree. This one of the most bare bones fighting games I’ve played in years. Nay, decades. The game offers online multiplayer, local fights, a tutorial and the blandest arcade mode I’ve ever seen. I thought Dead or Alive 6 had a somewhat bland arcade mode, but compared to this, that game is offering something as good as the Subspace Emissary.

Even though the character models are decent, the same can’t be said about the backgrounds. The whole whopping four arenas available for you to bash your brains out look like they came out straight from a Nintendo 64 game. The textures are archaic, the lighting effects are almost nonexistent, and the props look like they’re part of a PC being run on below minimal settings. I don’t think I have ever seen a more hideous gaming asset in my life than this game’s iteration of Zordon. It makes the original special effect from the early 90’s look like Avatar in comparison.

The sound design, or what Battle for the Grid considers it to be “sound design”, is also incredibly poor. There isn’t a lot of it here: no licensed Power Rangers music, no voice acting, no decent sound effects, no nothing. All we have here is a bunch of unenthusiastic battle tunes, a few grunts, and some very compressed sound effects. It’s best for you to play this game on mute while listening to the original Power Rangers tune on Youtube. Even Power Rangers Mega Battle had the original theme song being played during its most adrenaline-packed moments for crying out loud.

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It looks like a third grader drew that rainbow on Microsoft Paint.

Since Battle for the Grid is supposed to be a love letter to the entire history of the franchise, one can only imagine how many different Rangers and enemies the developers have decided to include in the roster, right? Well, they sure managed to impress me, but not for the right reasons…

Battle for the Grid features nine playable characters. Yep, you read that right. NINE. There’s Jason, Tommy, a botched Kimberly, a botched Zack, Goldar, and a few other random characters. No Trini or Billy. No White Ranger. No Rita Repulsa or Ivan Ooze. No characters from Zeo, Turbo, Lost Galaxy, Wild Force, Dino Thunder. It’s like the developers thought that all the characters that mattered for fans were the original Red and Green Rangers. There are also just three Megazords to choose from, but to be fair, only one of them is an actual Megazord, as the other options are Tommy’s Dragonzord and an overgrown Goldar. If you’re not satisfied with the amount of characters in the roster, don’t worry: you can buy the season pass and wait for three extra characters to be added later on this year. What is the price of the season pass, you might ask? Nineteen dollars! The same price of the freaking game itself…

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Dear goodness Zordon, look at your face!!!

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is definitely not a love letter to the franchise. On the contrary, I feel like this is an insult to the long-lasting series and its fans. This feels like a demo version of a bigger fighting game being released as a full-fledged product since its production values and overall amount of content are pathetic at best. If you really want to play a Power Rangers game on a modern console, you’ll most certainly have a lot more fun with Mega Battle instead.

 

Graphics: 4.5

While the character models are passable, the lighting effects and backgrounds are laughably terrible.

Gameplay: 6.0

The combat system is far from impressive, and it gets repetitive pretty quickly, but it gets the job done by being somewhat easy to learn. The controls are also responsive.

Sound: 3.0

Excessively compressed sounds, bland sound effects, and no voice acting besides one very enthusiastic announcer. The fact they barely use the awesome Power Rangers theme song in the game should be considered a capital offense.

Fun Factor: 3.0

Battle for the Grid is one of the most bare bones fighting games I have ever played in general. The combat is passable at best, the roster size is pathetic, the amount of modes is near nonexistent, the online connectivity isn’t that great, and its DLC practices are ridiculous.

Final Verdict: 4.0

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is available now on Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

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