I’ve been a fan of Power Rangers since the first episode aired way back in 1993. I remember getting the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers game for the Super NES and playing it for hours until I beat it. I remember getting the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie game and playing co-op with my brother for weeks.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid won’t create lasting nostalgic memories like those games did. It’s not revolutionary or massive or deep. It’s probably not a game that will live forever as an example of what a fighting game should be.
But it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. The game is heavily based on racking up combos, something I’ve always struggled with in other games. Battle for the Grid makes it a little easier, though. I found that moving from move to move, button to button, somehow felt more natural in this game than in other fighting games. Usually I rely on a punch-kick-jump-special method of playing or a punch-punch-punch-punch method. In this game I could flow from punches to kicks to specials and back again without feeling awkward. Some might disagree, but I like the combination of a Mortal Kombat-style control scheme with a Super Smash Bros. special attack system.
The biggest downside to this game is the price. It’s $20 for the base game or $40 for the Collector’s Edition. The base game gives you nine fighters, three “ultras” (Megazords, essentially), and a handful of fighting locations. The Collector’s Edition includes the Season 1 Pass which starts you with an extra costume for two of the characters and promises additional characters in the not-so-distant future. While that might turn some people off, it doesn’t for me. In a world where the standard price for games is $60, paying $40 for this doesn’t seem bad at all. What remains to be seen is how future Season Passes will function and what the price point will be. For now, though, I’m satisfied. What I have received (and will receive) seems valid for a $40 price point.
It’s been leaked that the two upcoming characters are Zeo Gold and Mystic Force White. I never quite made it to Mystic Force, but that costume makes me want to. I’ve found that sticking to the characters that I know in this game isn’t always best for my playing style, and certain characters (Kat Manx, for instance) have made me want to watch their respective seasons.
Throw in the comic-exclusive characters Lord Drakkon, Ranger Slayer, and Mastadon Sentry, and it’s a fairly diverse lineup. There will always be “missing” characters (2017 rangers? In Space? Lost Galaxy?), but that’s true with any game of this nature. There are twenty-five years worth of characters to choose from.
There is a BIG drawback, though. This game was promoted heavily to include an extensive story mode written by the writers behind the incredible BOOM! Power Rangers series (pre-order available now). This is a problem for two reasons. First, that’s a big part of the draw of this game that wound up not being there. Second, and this is HUGE, this sets a precedent for simply not delivering what was promised in a game. This goes beyond just missing skins or characters; the entire single-player campaign mode that was promised was simply skipped without any sort of explanation. Definitely not okay.
The verdict? I take serious issue with the lack of story mode, but I’m going to withold judgement for a bit and see if we get any word on that. Still, the game isn’t some timeless classic, but it’s what I’d expect from a $40 fighting game. It’s fun. Combine that with my love for Power Rangers, and you’ve got a game that will have me coming back to at least dip my toe in for a very long time.