10th Apr2019

‘Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

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OK, let’s get right to the point. For those of you out there that are fans of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, there’s a LOT to like about this game. Even moreso if you’re a fan of the ENTIRE franchise – be it movies, TV or comics, as Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is packed with not only characters from the series but also characters pulled straight from the comics, like the Ranger Hunter and Lord Drakkon! Oh, and did I mention you also have the ability to summon a Megazord (or Goldar) in your battles?!

Essentially built like the classic 3v3 arcade fighters like Marvel vs Capcom et al, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid sees you gather a team of three characters from different generations of Power Rangers across the franchises 25 year history, each character with their own skill set and play style. And it’s the different play style that is most intriguing about this game. For whilst many will jump into this game and choose their favourite character to play with, the real challenge of this game is finding the THREE characters your fighting game play-style matches!

Let me explain… Whilst this has been a feature of many fighting games in the past, such as StreetFighter, a lot of modern fighting games seem – at least to someone who’s played them for over 2 decades – to focus more on easy access for inexperienced players, with button-bashing oftentimes working just as well as mastering move-sets. However that is not the case with Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid. Nope, instead its worth your time working out which individual character suits the way you play. For example, those that wish for an “easier” fighting experience can choose the original Red Ranger, who has one particular move that make it easy to inflict a lot of damage. Then there’s Kat Manx from Power Rangers SPD, who is VERY fast but also has a claw attack that, combined with her speed, means you can trap even the most difficult of opponents in the corner of the screen and beat them into submission! But it’s up to the player to determine which trio of characters work best for them and how they play . Of course once you have that sorted then you can get down to learning the special moves etc. That’s if you want to that is. There’s no reason not to, but also no real reason to – once you’ve settled on characters that work for you, players can essentially button-bash their way through the game.

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Which puts Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid in a peculiar position on the fighting-game landscape. As do the graphics; because graphically Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is and odd beast. Its looks like a weird combination of a high-end mobile game and a current-gen game – think Infinity Blade meets Injustice and you’ll be somewhat close. Which is not surprising given that developers nWay are primarily known for their mobile games – including another Power Rangers title, Legacy Wars, which was well received by the Power Rangers community. But this is NOT a mobile game, this is a game developed exclusively for consoles and released across all major formats; and as such you can’t help but think the graphics are lacklustre, especially the arenas which seem incredibly flat and lifeless – even when they’re not!

There have been complaints that 90% of this game is hidden behind DLC, and give the fact the roster and the arenas are so limited that doesn’t come as a surprise. Hell, the game doesn’t even have a story mode – then again if it did have a story mode there’d be no final bosses to fight because this game has none. In arcade mode you end up fighting the same opponents you regularly face, only with multiple health bars to make them trickier to beat! There is a season pass available on day one that gives you access to three more characters to fight with but – much like Street Fighter 5 – this is essentially an incomplete game without the DLC. Which is a shame as what is here is a LOT of fun; its just that there’s not enough to hold you attention past a few hours of [re]playing.

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And replay the game I did. In handheld mode, in docked mode, alone, and with friends. In fact I played the game so much I learnt every move – including EX moves, how to call your Zord – for my selected core of characters (the original Red Ranger, Kat from SPD and Yellow Ranger/Gia from Megaforce) without ever going through the tutorial! Speaking of Zords, if there’s one thing that raises this about other similarly-priced (and market targeted) fighters, it is the ability to call a Zord to help out in your fight: the Megazord, Dragonzord and/or Goldar are all available in the game, all doing similarly massive amounts of damage and all essential to use in the later “boss” fights of the games arcade mode IMHO.

Ultimately a solid fighting game marred by a reliance on future DLC, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid will undoubtedly be a must-buy for franchise fans, who will no doubt bolster the game up with a myriad of DLC purchases from day one; but for fighting game fans it may be worth waiting for a year or so when the complete game, with all DLC, is re-released (just like every other game with DLC is these days). Then, THEN, this will be an essential purchase.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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