Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid 2.0 is finally a full fighter that’s worth your time
When we first reviewed Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid we were a little disappointed. Simply put, it was unfinished. It lacked everything from training options, to a story mode, to voice acting! We then gave it a second look and found that a few updates had introduced new characters, modes, and features, making it a much more enjoyable game. Now, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid has officially gone into version 2.0, and let me tell you, it feels completely different. It practically pulled a No Man’s Sky on us.
An early access launch
Version 1.0 should have been called an early access version because that’s essentially what it was. There’s no other excuse for a game releasing to a paid marketplace before voice acting is added. Version 2.0 finally feels like a full release, and it’s a damn good full release. Not only does it have voice acting featuring the actual actors that played the Power Rangers in the original TV show, but it has so many new options and refinements, we’d say it easily competes with other AAA fighters on the market.
Let’s start at the beginning. If you are new to Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, it’s another “newbie friendly” fighting game. But unlike Fantasy Strike which simplifies Street Fighter or Granblue Fantasy Versus which simplifies Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, Battle for the Grid simplifies the VS. series.
As such you’ll make a team out of three different Power Rangers and take them into battle, tagging them in and out, calling them in for assists, using gigantic screen filling supers, and so on. It combines some of the best mechanics of games like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and 3, BlazBlue Cross-Tag Battle, Dragon Ball FigherZ, and more along with simple mechanics like one button combos and easy Smash style special moves to create a unique and accessible fighting game experience. The mechanics were the one thing we didn’t have a problem with in the official release.
But what about every other problem we had?
So much more content
Well, the roster has been touched up. It released with only nine characters and that count has doubled to 18. The questionable roster choices have been patched up as well. The game released with no blue ranger, now there’s a blue ranger representative in the Cenozoic Blue Ranger and Anubis Cruger if you count him. The game released with only a no name grunt for a black ranger and now we get Trey from Zeo. There’s even major villains on the roster, like Lord Zed. This probably doesn’t matter to anyone who isn’t a Power Rangers fan, but the point is we now have a ton of characters from a ton of different series across TV shows, comics, and movies, each with a unique fighting style. They even finally added dedicated grapplers!
There is a story mode now, and it’s fairly awesome. It’s told through some impressive motion comics drawn by artists that work on the official comic line, backed up by some really superb performances by notable ranger actors. The story itself is pretty good by Power Rangers and fighting game standards. It’s an alternate version of a comic plotline that is condensed for a videogame format. You might be a little surprised at how serious Power Rangers can get if your only exposure was the TV series.
The sound effects are still a little muted but the sound has been better balanced. The voice acting really adds a lot to the game. The voice actors are constantly spouting off references to the original show and, perhaps more importantly, to fighting game inside jokes. The Quantum Ranger just so happens to share a voice actor with Vergil from UMVC3 and so many of his voice lines reference the same things you’d hear in UMVC3 matches. You know it was done on purpose because the development team is filled with old UMVC3 pros.
The tutorial has been totally redone. It used to just tell you basic techniques and omitted crucial controls like how to call your Zord. It’s much better now. I wouldn’t call it one of the best tutorials out there, but it’s at least a full tutorial now.
Training mode now has options to show you how much stun and juggle time you have left after hitting an opponent which basically stands in for frame data. It also now has enough functions to really help you learn how to combo and defend against mix-ups.
There are more stages, more music tracks, more zords to choose from, more costumes, basically more of everything.
There have also been drastic improvements to online play. The online bugs are all fixed. Nothing is now truly unblockable anymore. Animations no longer break. There are no more camera glitches. It’s just smooth silky netcode.
There are more online modes to choose from too. It used to be that all you could do is face off against random opponents, but now there are full game lobbies that you can invite your friends to, complete with spectator mode and simultaneous online matches. There’s also fully implemented cross-play! Anyone on any version can play anyone else on any other version, PC, Switch, Xbox, or Playstation. That’s something Battle for the Grid has over its other fighting game contemporaries.
The price of perfection
Unfortunately, all of these updates come at a price. Many are free, including the new modes, voice acting, and features online and training mode. However, characters and costumes still need to be purchased. If you want to upgrade your Power Rangers experience to a fully featured fighting game with a fully featured roster, you will basically have to shell out 30 bucks for six characters… which feels like a lot. In all honesty, though, we think it’s a price worth paying. In the end you’ll still be spending less than a full AAA fighting game and you’ll be getting just about as many features.
So we applaud nWay for fixing the problems with the original release of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid. The only question we have is: why? Why release your game in such an incomplete state when it’s clear that you had the ability to make such a fantastic fighting game experience? Or if you had to due to budget reasons, why not make it clear that the original release was an early access release? It just feels so sloppy when you were demonstrably capable of so much.
We probably won’t ever get satisfying answers to those questions, but we can tell you Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is worth a second and third look. Granted, it has a lot of fighting game competition this year, but it’s still one of the most fun tag-team fighters on the market. You don’t normally see indie games pull a complete turnaround like this but what can we say, nWay pulled it off.