Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is a good tag-team fighter, but not as good as it should be and suffers from a severe lack of content.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid feels like it has the potential to be a great game, but it still has quite a way to go. Fighting in Battle for the Grid can be fun, but it's hard to play the game for any length of time without feeling like it's missing something.
Developed by nWay Games, the studio that made Power Rangers: Legacy Wars for iOS and Android, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is a three-on-three fighting game which uses tag-team mechanics. nWay partnered with Hasbro and Lionsgate to bring the game to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Battle for the Grid is based on the original story from the creators of the popular Power Rangers comic book series Shattered Grid from BOOM! Studios. The problem, though, is that there doesn't seem to be a story at all. The game's Arcade mode features seven battles with no cutscenes or exposition of any kind. The player simply advances through one fight to the next, and can complete the Arcade mode in roughly thirty minutes. The credits roll once the final boss, Lord Drakkon, an evil version of the Mighty Morphin' Green Ranger, is defeated. Since there's no story, the player can only know who this character is if they read his short bio in the character selection screen, or if they have prior knowledge of the comics or the events that take place in Legacy Wars.
The story isn't the only area of the game that feels incomplete. The launch roster only comes with nine characters. The diverse abilities and playstyles of the nine heroes and villains make for some fun combinations, but the low number of fighters sadly doesn't allow enough combinations. Another problem with the roster is representation, which spans only four generations: Mighty Morphin', Galaxy, SPD, and Super Mega Force. Battle for the Grid was marketed as a game that celebrates 25 years of Power Rangers history, but it's difficult for it to live up that promise when it leaves out so much.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid would have done a better job of bringing these few fan-favorite characters to life if it at least included voice acting. Battle for the Grid is such a quiet game because none of the characters speak to each other and it feels incomplete and cheap as a result. The game comes with local and online multiplayer and online play runs rather smoothly and without bugs. Players can compete online in "Casual" or "Ranked" matches, that latter of which sees players proving themselves by defeating the CPU three times before being matched against a human opponent.
Combat in Battle for the Grid is clearly styled after the Marvel vs. Capcom series, which is something that the developers have openly acknowledged. Like Marvel vs. Capcom, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and other games in the genre, there are buttons for light, medium, and heavy attacks. All three attacks can be chained together to create combos. The controls are streamlined, so that players can easily input each move and is extremely welcoming to beginners or casual players.
Battle for the Grid borrows a lot from Marvel vs. Capcom, including its special attack meter, the layout of the controls, and assists. That being said, Battle for the Grid offers a satisfying mix of gameplay elements from multiple franchises that help it stand on its own, at least to a certain extent.
The "assist takeover" mechanic, for example, is a simple yet fun addition to the tag-team gameplay. In most games, players switch out characters by pressing or holding a button, but this works a little differently in Battle for the Grid. To switch characters, the player must first press the "assist" button. When the tag-team partner is summoned, the player presses the same button again, which causes the partner to remain on screen and take the character's place. The player takes control of the partner at the same position where he was standing when the button was pressed. This is where the fighting gets more interesting, because with this ability, players can strategically switch out their characters at just the right moment.
It wouldn't be a Power Rangers game if it didn't somehow utilize Megazords, and in this aspect Battle for the Grid doesn't disappoint. Before going into battle, the player can choose one of three Megazords to assist in combat. During the fight, a button is pressed to prepare the Megazord, and pressed a second time to summon the Megazord for a devastating attack.
Battle for the Grid is trying to be the best Power Rangers game ever made but even as a $19.99 budget release it's too shallow with its minimal content offerings. DLC will add new characters and skins in the future, but the game currently only features five arenas and visually, it barely meets expectations with its graphics. It's the game's other areas that are need of improvement and depth compared to any triple-A fighter on the market.
A Marvel vs. Capcom-inspired Power Rangers game is something that arguably needed to be made for fans and hopefully, given time and effort by the developers, Battle for the Grid will become the Power Rangers experience fans have been waiting for. It's just not there yet.
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is available now for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch for $19.99. The game will be released on PC later in the year. Screen Rant was provided a Nintendo Switch code for review.