Hey Gameologists, and welcome to the Gameology News review of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid. A fast paced 2-D fighter developed and published by nWay INC. Originally released on September 24, 2019, Season 4 is now well underway and introduces Poisandra, with Sledge as an assist, and Gravezord. This is my first time playing the game, so we will review the game as well as tackle the new Season 4 content. Despite any remarks I may have in breaking it down, Battle for the Grid is a ton of fun.
I found myself incapable of putting the controller down. Yes, it’s a fighting game so I used a controller. There was some force nagging me to progress. Having no knowledge of the different Rangers from different universes, I was hardly attached to any of the characters from the beginning or had any expectations. Only toward the end did I become interested in a character’s development. You may think my inexperience makes me less qualified to review a Power Rangers game, but I disagree. For a franchise, it’s great when a video game can pique the interest of someone to make them a new fan. All-in-all, information was lacking. Story Mode was like an introduction to the Rangers. Arcade mode does offer a short description of each character for anyone in the same boat as me launching Battle for the Grid. No, what truly compelled me to continue was the constant action, and the music.
Let’s jump right into the action, much like the beginning of Story Mode does. The story proceeds without pause, and the load time is insanely fast. It feels like the game never stops to take a break, and neither does the rocking soundtrack that fluently transitions from one battle into the next, which also had its flaws. One battle I’m fighting against Lord Drakkon, and the next I am Drakkon fighting the Ranger I just played as, leading to confusion on who I am and which side of the screen I’m on. Why is Udonna doing all these awesome moves and how do I repeat them? Oh, yeah, that’s not me anymore. It was disorienting, but forced me to pay a little more attention to whose intro scene played first so that I had a heads up if my role switched. It was nice to often switch between protagonist and antagonist. Another minor difficulty with switching the character so often, is switching in your mind that you’re not the swift Kat Ranger anymore, but Goldar who lumbers and hits hard. Fortunately, combos and move sets are not quite as complicated as might find in some other fighting games. Most of the characters have some form of a ranged attack, as well as one that helps to evade danger, and the controls for each were fairly similar. For some fighters, it is evident they prefer close range, like Kat Ranger with her klaws, or long range, like Kimberly with her bow. Once I was more familiar with the characters and the mechanics, transitioning was easier but not fluid. Periodically, cutscenes of still art with voice acting are thrown into the story, giving the player a brief rest and a sprinkling of story.
The soundtrack is fast paced, filled with drums and guitar, giving the player the perfect boost to keep going when times are tough. It was only going into the final act I was forced to decrease the difficulty or quit the game in rage. CPU difficulty can be easily switched for the entire single player game in settings from the main menu. While the music was great, the subtitles almost never matched the voice acting, and some of the voice acting detracted from story immersion.
Arcade and Online mode is always three versus three, allowing you to bring in the other two characters as assists and to swap out at will. That means your opponent will be able to do the same. I could not find a way to make Arcade Mode one on one, so it’s intended to be that way. For the initial roster, leading up to act 7 the matches are seemingly random, but then the characters interact. For example, Lord Zedd had a conversation with Goldar about his involvement with Drakkon. Also, Act 7 is more than one fight, as opposed to the first six acts which are only one. For DLC characters in additional Seasons passes, just like Season 4, there seems to be a bit more story involved throughout.
Whether in Arcade or Story, the player has a special bar that fills while taking and receiving damage to perform special attacks. One bar grants a basic, and two bars grant a super special attack that deals more damage. In total, the player can fill up to three bars. Certain maps in story mode have preselected Zords you can summon, but in any mode their gauge only builds up with received damage. Summoning them requires both bumpers on a controller, which can be frustrating when you have partners to jump in and assist. If you don’t hit those buttons simultaneously, you’ll only be getting assists instead of summoning a Zord. Not to mention, if you spam the bumper buttons to bring out another character for an assist, you accidentally end up switching to them. Be careful summoning your team mates for assistance because they can take damage for the brief time they’re on screen, but doing it right helps you deal a whole bunch of damage to your opponent. Arcade and Online allows you to choose a Zord to take into battle and it works on every map. In every mode, I’ve experienced instances where the Zord never attacks, even with all three bars filled, but spends your gauge anyway.
Now, I know in fighting games, as a casual player, it can be difficult to get up to par with the combos NPCs pull off on Medium and Hard difficulty. Easily, in Battle for the Grid, a player can find themselves relentlessly being mauled by an NPC, trapped in the left or right corner with no hope of blocking or escaping, and you need to spam your special attacks if you want any chance to survive an onslaught. Take it as a challenge. Pressing back or away on the joystick is meant to be guard, but the characters make no animation to indicate they’re defending until they are attacked and need to block. A visual confirmation of the character guarding helps a player feel more confident that they have a chance of blocking the next attack, and are not simply stepping backward.
On to Poisy and Sledgums. They come with a comical story to play through in Arcade mode. Since Sledge is not actually a fighter, he can be summoned constantly. It’s sort of like having a fourth fighter. Additionally, Sledge is used for Poisandra’s special skill, to grow large and stomp on opponents. It was relatively easy to understand the controls for her as a fighter on the roster, and feel more like a pro than a novice in a short time. Also with this DLC of Season 4, Gravezord is introduced and comes with some pretty effective attacks that rush in from off screen. An intimidating ally.
All-in-all, none of this breaks Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid. Exciting, constantly on the move, and not an overwhelmingly long story that just about anyone can understand, you will either enjoy this because it’s a fun fighting game with just the right amount of challenge, or because you’re a Power Rangers fan already.