The Power Rangers shows are incredibly popular and have been adapted into many different video games over the years. The latest game brings together generations of Rangers into one fighting game, but it might not be considered one of the best. While it’s great seeing the Power Rangers in a game that focuses on the action and battles between heroes and villains from different Ranger series, only the bare minimum of elements for a great fighter is here. Along with a combination of bugs and a haphazard presentation, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid doesn’t have the power worthy of franchises legacy.
Fighting game fans will immediately notice the similarities between Battle for the Grid and Capcom’s the Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite, specifically in the visuals and controls. You choose a team of three characters and fight against other teams, calling assists and executing super moves as battles progress. Unlike Capcom’s big crossover fighter, however, Battle for the Grid has a vastly smaller roster of characters to choose from, which is pulled from four different Power Ranger shows. While this sounds like there’d be plenty of characters to choose from, you can only pick from nine different characters for your team of three, with the majority being related to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
This makes the matches you play feel a little too repetitive over and over again. Many of the rangers that are variations of their MMPR identities are also shallow, with some not even including their original versions from the shows. Had there been more Power Rangers and/or monsters from the different series added to the roster, such as Dino Thunder, Time Force, or even Ninja Storm; there would’ve been more interesting matches to keep you from getting bored. It’s hard to love to battles when they often feel like mirror matches for the majority of the time.
But what about the controls and the pace of the gameplay? Battle for the Grid always feels restricted in some way. Combos are done with various inputs of the face buttons, but never reach the same level of complexity or spectacle as the Capcom VS games. Special moves for all characters are tied to one button, which can be mildly changed with a directional input. This makes doing moves easier and friendly to new players, but players looking to try new combinations of moves will always feel held back by their stiff and bland execution. Don’t expect to chain big combos into super moves as smoothly or quickly as you could other fighting games. Tagging in other characters during a fight also feels stiff, which requires you to double tap the tag button instead of just holding it down. When you bring a character in for an assist, there is a slight drag in the time it takes for your ally to launch their attack against your enemy, which often causes them to get hit before they do anything.
With a series as spectacular as Power Rangers, you’d expect things like super moves to be over the top. Unfortunately, this also falls short from what could have been incredibly amazing. Most characters will have a super move associated with a Zord or something from their respective series, but instead of visual marvels, they appear more as quick and basic power moves that lack any visual momentum behind them. One would hope that the missiles fired from the Dragon Zord would have the same impact as they did each time it happened in the show, but not even this can appear as awesome as it sounds. Other characters like Goldar also have lackluster looking super moves that don’t do justice to the way they appear within the shows, which is a big disappointment.
While those are big issues with Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, the worst issues come from the Arcade Mode. There are very light elements of a story in the form of short dialogue scenes before some matches, which happen infrequently throughout the seven matches you fight. There is no voice-over or any meaningful dialogue between characters, not even between related characters from the same Power Ranger shows.
This is only made worse by the lack of win quotes or interesting entrances before the start of a fight. Everything is put together haphazardly and lacks any real excitement. The five stages you can fight in are incredibly basic and lack any personality from the shows, which only includes a few iconic locations from specific series. If you were hoping for some fun nods or fan service, then you’re going to be incredibly disappointed.
Don’t expect the multiplayer modes to remedy any of the major problems in Battle for the Grid. Online play is mediocre and has many latency and matchmaking problems. Battles often regress into mirror matches between the same assortment of character teams in borderline unplayable games. Latency can be a major problem for some players, depending on your internet connection, the majority of the time.
There are Ranked and Casual matches you can switch between, but they are both equally as frustrating and lackluster. You can play local Versus matches against the computer or other players, but that will be fun for so long before becoming repetitive as well.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid has the foundation for a great fighting game starring the Power Rangers, but is lacking many parts to make that possible. The roster of characters is not large enough to make 3-on-3 battles exciting for a long time, nor does it utilize the Power Rangers license to its fullest by ignoring the over-the-top elements of the shows. Arcade Mode is shallow and could have benefitted from having more story elements for fans to enjoy, as well as more rewards for going through it multiple times with the roster, which could’ve been a great way to include more fan service from the shows. Power Ranger fans hoping this would be a great celebration of the franchise won’t have much to enjoy here. It simply doesn’t have the power to be one of the better games based on the Power Rangers.
This review was based on a digital review code of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid on the Nintendo Switch, provided by nWay Games.