These days there’s a terrible trend going around; release a game in an unfinished state and then patch it or add more content later on. We’ve seen this with games like Sea of Thieves, No Mans Sky, and more recently, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid.
Now, I reviewed Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid not too long ago and I thought the game was solid in its execution but lacking in content when compared to the mobile game the same developers also created and are actively supporting. So, it was a pleasant surprise when I saw that there were plans to add in a ‘Story Mode’ as well as a few freebies to further enhance the gameplay and longevity of the game.
Today I’ll be taking a look at what’s been added and if the game is now more attractive to single players.
First of all, the Story Mode. Previously we only had access to the Arcade Mode which, whilst fun to play, only allowed you to play through 3v3 battles as you progressed through a few stages of increasing difficulty. The update has now given us a story that was written by Kyle Higgins, a writer who has worked on the Power Ranger comic books among other properties such as Nightwing and Batman. Not only that, the actual cutscenes within the game (as it now has them) are illustrated by Dan Mora, an Eisner Award winner who has worked on titles such as Go Go Power Rangers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Klaus. Also, the original voice actors for Tommy, Jason, Zordon, and Goldar provide the lines, which is freaking awesome! Although, Zordon doesn’t sound like he used to and Kimberly is voiced by Meghan Camarena (who voiced Hyperforce Pink Ranger in Power Rangers Hyperforce).
Instead of offering us a completely original storyline, the narrative is a re-imagining of ‘Shattered Grid’, the critically acclaimed story from Boom! Studios. The narrative is presented as a moving comic book; visually it’s hand-drawn static images which move around in 3D space as the camera pans whilst the dialogue is being read out. Set in an alternate dimension, Tommy Oliver (the Green/White/Red/Black Ranger) never joined the Rangers, he continued as Rita Repulsa’s apprentice and slaughtered all of the Rangers. This led to him becoming Lord Drakkon, a shadow of his former self yet much more powerful.
Determined to rid the world of all things good, Lord Drakkon isn’t satisfied with simply defeating our heroes within his dimension. He says ‘Goodbye’ to Rita and proceeds to jump between time and space as he seeks out all alternative versions of the Rangers so that he may claim their defeat as his own. However, he isn’t the only one who has the ability to do this as Rangers and companions spanning the 25 years of the show begin to show up to fend off this new threat. I think there’s only one thing left to say…
It’s Morphin Time!
You know what they say, better late than never, right?! Well, even though this Story mode SHOULD have been included in the game upon its release, I’m happy we finally got it. Seeing as the gameplay finally has a narrative, most of the battles will be 1v1, 1v2, 1v3, 2v2, or 2v3, rather than forcing you into the 3v3 as the other modes do. This was my biggest issue with the game up until this point, forcing you to always play with three characters even if you didn’t want to. The trade-off is, if you’re playing in a 1v1 round then you’ll most likely have three energy bars worth of health.
The best thing for me was that you actually get to play as some of the Season Pass characters early, even if you haven’t bought the Season Pass. I don’t know if this is intentional but as the story progresses, you’ll get given the chance to play as Kimberly, the Pink Ranger, who isn’t even out as a playable character yet, among others. It also incorporates the three new characters we were given as a freebie into the story so that nobody is omitted from the gameplay.
In terms of the actual length of the story, it’s made up of twelve acts, each one consisting of up to three fights. This is presented as two chapters, six acts in each, with the surprising conclusion that this isn’t actually the full story. Hopefully the rest of the story will be given to everyone as a free update as and when it releases, alternatively, I wouldn’t mind paying a small fee if it included characters and stages. I think it took me around three to four hours to work my way through the twelve acts due to there being no difficulty selection so some fights were quite intense, especially when you’re given a poor character and set against powerful ones. Speaking of characters…
As I mentioned previously, the update brings with it three new characters for you to play in the Story, Arcade, Practice and Versus modes (including online). However, there’s a reason why these three characters seem to be the online favourites for the top fighters within the leaderboards – they are incredibly powerful! Seriously, these three seem very OP when placed alongside the characters we got in the base game. Let’s look at each of them:
• The Cenozoic Blue Ranger: This is the Blue Ranger from the 2017 Power Rangers film. Billy is very fast and the combos you can pull off far exceed some of the other characters within the game.
• Dragon Armor Trini: Okay, this one has to be a joke, right?!. Everyone knows Trini, she’s the Yellow Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but I don’t recall her ever looking like this! Supposedly, when the Rangers were attacked by the Black Dragon, a powerful Zord from another dimension, Trini repurposed the Zord as armour upon its demise. She is super powerful within this suit, albeit a bit slow.
• Udonna: Thankfully, there’s only one character I know nothing about and that’s Udonna. From the Power Rangers Mystic Force series, she’s a powerful sorceress who trains the Rangers in the art of magic. Technically, she is this series’ White Ranger and has the ability to freeze her foes and summon powerful ice-based magic. As you’d expect, a teacher with the ability to cast spells is easily much better than a minion with a gun…
I’m happy with the three characters but the new Story Mode got me rather excited before pulling the rug from under me. As the story plays out we begin to see all the original Rangers, Billy, Kimberly, Jason, Trini, and Zack, yet we don’t get to play as them all. We’re also shown Alpha-5 in a few cutscenes and Rita Repulsa, but again, these never become playable characters (yet). I’m hoping that over time we’ll get more characters added, either free or at a decent price, to bring the level of content up to that of the developers mobile game.
I’m still a little sour how the mobile game has tonnes more content than this game, but I’d much rather play a real fighting game like this over a more simplistic mobile game.
On a side note, there are also two new selectable arenas for you to fight in and there are two other new ones within the Story Mode but you can’t pick those outside of the story. I’m annoyed the MMPR theme tune still hasn’t been added, despite it being in the mobile game, but I imagine it’s because the game wants to set itself apart from the series, even though it contains many characters from it.
All in all, what did I think of the new update to Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid? In my original review of the base game and Arcade/Versus modes (which you can check out HERE), I thought it was a solid fighter with the main issue being the lack of content or draw for single players. With the additional features and characters added I firmly believe the game has much more going for it than it did on launch. Sure, I think the Season Pass is still too expensive if we’re only getting three reskinned characters, the trophy requirements on PS4/Xbox are too high, the forced 3v3 in standard modes isn’t to my liking, and not having the full story is a bit confusing; but I really had fun and would highly recommend the game.
In terms of the story, it’s not on the same level as something like Mortal Kombat 11, which has one of the best fighting game stories I’ve played through in a long time, but it’s enjoyable and hearing the original voice actors after all these years really does tug on your nostalgia strings! If you’ve already got the game, update it and give it another shot – the Story is fun to play through. If you don’t have it then consider picking it up as it’s on every platform with PC coming soon.
The Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid Story Mode should have been there from release, I’m glad it’s been added as a free update. The narrative itself is interesting and entertaining as it re-imagines the Shattered Grid storyline and explains who Lord Drakkon is, what his motives are, and why he’s attacking the Rangers – something I needed as I had no idea. It’s also great that the story mode removes the 3v3 requirement and has you play in various combinations of 1v1, 1v2, 1v3, 2v2 and 2v3, as well as the standard 3v3 as we play through all twelve of the acts within the first two chapters of the story.
Considering this was the first major update, I’m very excited to see what the developer does next in order to keep the game entertaining and relevant. If I had one suggestion, could we possibly have either massive Zord battles or playable Bulk and Skull characters!
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid£17.99
- - Entertaining story with original voice actors
- - Varied battles which aren't just 3v3, which is great
- - Three new characters who are all a little OP in my opinion
- - Leaves you wanting more, in a good way
- - The story is only half complete
- - There are a few characters within the story narrative but not playable in-game
- - No option to adapt the non-3v3 modes outside of the story mode