The history of Power Rangers games is sordid. Despite the franchise’s popularity over the last 26 years, no single release has risen above the typical licensed-game standard of mediocrity – and few even attain that level. Battle for the Grid has a few things going for it, like some decent animation and visuals for its characters, but the package as a whole is every bit as underwhelming as the Power Ranger titles that have come before it.
The best part is watching the characters fight. They all move well and have unique animations and specials, and I enjoyed learning each one’s best-case uses. Many of the Rangers feel similar, but Goldar and the two long-range fighters (Ranger Slayer and Mastadon Sentry) feel different, and provide at least some creativity in building your three-person teams.
The actual moment-to-moment combat is bland, but serviceable. Battle for the Grid doesn’t do anything interesting or novel in its fighting, and relies on a familiar system of simple blocking and attacking. You can find some long combo strings with experimentation, but I had plenty of success with simple combos, activating charged specials, and using lots of assists. The tutorial doesn’t offer much more help than simply looking at the button layout, but after you compete it there is a training room, which is welcome, even if I ultimately didn’t have much use for it.
Only nine characters are available now, so the likelihood of your favorite obscure Ranger appearing is low. More paid characters are on the way, and a huge portion of the start screen is devoted to reminding you that you can buy them in advance now and purchase some additional outfits for the current roster, which is obnoxious and distracting. After beating arcade mode with every character, I didn’t unlock any of the outfits. The only thing I had to show for completing the task was green checkmarks next to everyone on the roster.
The Battle for the Grid subtitle implies some sort of overarching narrative or conflict, but the single-player arcade mode has nothing in terms of story. The closest you get is one or two lines of dialogue between characters that could be easily interchanged for anyone during the last few fights of each characters’ run through the arcade mode. The titular grid is never mentioned by anyone.
Online play is limited, but it does work. I played a handful of matches without issues and participated in a special tournament, but completing it offered nothing other than a few stat updates on my profile page and some additional options for player banners I could use online. I have little, if any, reason to ever go back.
With its decent animation and inoffensive combat, it’s safe to say worse Power Rangers games do exist. Battle for the Grid emulates familiar, old-school video game fighting, but once you’ve seen all there is to see in combat, you’re done. Playing online or through the limited arcade mode isn’t rewarding and the roster isn’t varied or substantial enough for Power Ranger fans to get excited.
Battle for the Grid has some decent animation, but the full package is as underwhelming as the Power Ranger games that came before it.
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