So... uh... I bought Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid.
It's pretty good.
But also terrible.
Well, let this complete mistake commence.
Power Rangers And Me
I am a big toku fan in theory. The idea of tokusatsu is pretty much my favorite thing. That said, I haven't watched Kamen Rider because I can't properly access Gaim, I haven't actually watched any Sentai shows, and well, Power Rangers is honestly pretty much my only experience. I'm a huge fan of Power Rangers... in theory. I'm familiar with it, mainly thanks to History of Power Rangers and a whole lot of wiki-walking, and Power Rangers is really cool to me when it's boiled down in the format of a wiki and I don't have to actually watch it. I've watched most of Mighty Morphin', all of Samurai, half of Jungle Fury, and most of Mystic Force.
The thing is that Power Rangers is honestly kind of unwatchable. It's really cool, but at the same time the acting is trash around 80% of the time and the writing usually tops out at mediocre. When childrens' entertainment is growing up, with shows like She-Ra and Steven Universe tackling much bigger themes with greater maturity, Power Rangers comes off as cheesy and almost regressive with its overly childish viewpoint.
But I like UMvC3 and the fight scenes from PR are pretty much the main appeal for me, so to BFTG I went! (Plus, once I get a hyperfixation, the only way to ease it is through gaming, and my brain was absolutely rotted thinking about toku shows.) I bought Super Edition because most of the roster being locked behind DLC would be irritating as fuck, so $50.00 in the hole. I haven't played all of it, but I've experienced enough to give some thoughts. This is less of a review and more of an essay. So let's start with the first of my thoughts. I've a passing familiarity with the franchise, a passing familiarity with fighting games, and a critical lack of dexterity. So, let's go, go, Blogging Rangers and get to the bottom of Battle for the Grid's roster for the first in a four-part blog series.
The roster's pretty good, I think, but has some glaring flaws.
What I Like:
- Jason is a good all-rounder and I'm glad he gets center stage on the screen instead of Tommy. He's the first one up and he's fun to play as. I like him.
- Tommy is pretty good, he's another all-rounder for the most part but he's got a lot of acrobatic appeal and he's an icon of the franchise. His various costumes are also a real highlight; if there's a particular form of Green/White Tommy Oliver you liked, it's probably in.
- Gia seems pretty cool, plays nicely, a bit overpowered but I like her design. Never watched Megaforce, heard it's terrible, but she seems fun and likable for the most part. Also she plays like a combo master even in my filthy amateur hands.
- Lord Drakkon is just fuckin' cool. Awesome design, major bad guy in the comics, looks cool, JDF's laugh is a delight. Love the bastard and getting to play as such an awesomely hateable prick is absolutely fantastic. His moveset is a fun, dark mirror of Tommy, and I finished his Arcade Mode and slapped his banner on my profile the second I could. He's my favorite.
- The Ranger Slayer (Guest Starring Kimberly) is another favorite. I love the Drakkon Empire's designs. She's very mediocre to play as and her characterization is a tiny bit lackluster, but that design don't lie and she feels like a much more serious villain than the rest of the cast; the Slayer is cold, professional, and servile.
- The Magna Defender is cool. No real thoughts beyond the fact his design and weaponry is awesome but his voice sucks a lot.
- The Mastodon Sentry is unique in his niche; he's a random mook who's playable. I do feel he's a step too far in overrepresenting the Drakkon Empire considering he's not as cool as Drakkon or Ranger Slayer, but for what he is he's neat and fun to play as.
- Udonna is awesome! Absolutely my favorite character from Mystic Force, a great rep from a mediocre series. Her powers and moveset are unique, her design is beyond awesome, and overall she's up there with Drakkon among my favorites. Plus, she adds some much-needed female rep in the game.
- Trini being in at all is cool. Dragon Armor Trini is questionable, but she plays nicely and she's fun. In the hands of the AI she's fucking destructive. (Don't worry, we'll get to the AI.)
- Jen is dope. Lots of fun to play, good rep from Time Force which I'm admittedly unfamiliar with. Cool moveset, cool weapon, great choice overall.
- Trey is unexpected and cool. Great design, good moveset, cool weapon. No complaints with Trey.
- Lord Zedd kicks ass. Drakkon might be my favorite but Zedd is a genuine evil overlord; utterly classic and I love how half his movesets summon minions and how his super move has him just sitting in his throne while the Putties do his work. Absolutely awesome, but not the choice I would've gone with.
- Doggie Cruger is good. Not familiar with SPD but I believe he doesn't actually show up in that form in the show itself. Either way, he's cool visually and personality-wise, although my main issue in all honesty has to be the fact I find him annoying to fight against. He's very powerful.
- Eric is a really mixed bag for me. On the one hand, he's terrible to fight against because the AI uses him very well. On the other hand, he's Dan fucking Southworth and he's delightful. He apparently got cast as Quantum because he was "too intense" for the Blue Ranger, and he's awesome. He's fun to play as. The issue is that when the AI gets up to a high level Eric is painful to deal with.
- Dai Shi is an awesome Jungle Fury rep and another villain rep. He's cool and I really dug him back in Jungle Fury, so I'm really appreciating him here. His moveset is good, he's fast and strong, and his design is, as always, awesome.
- RJ is there. Cool design, decent moveset, hell to fight against when the AI uses him. I never loved him back in JF but he's a good rep here, especially with Dai Shi. Unique to have a purple Ranger in. The wolf gimmick is neat.
- Lauren Shiba is awesome! Great moveset, absolutely fantastic design just as in her previous series, and I'm so happy she got in over her shithead brother Jayden. It's much-deserved respect to the best character in that trash-fire of a series. I really like Lauren and I think it's awesome that she got to be the Samurai character, since she embodies the series and all its redeeming traits better than anyone else.
- Scorpina is too fabulous for me to dislike. She's got a cool design, a good rendition of her old look, a decent moveset, and a lot of little flourishes to her movement that I really love, like the fact that she just walks away and blocks backwards in a show of utter disrespect to her opponent.
- Chun-Li and Ryu are both awesome guest fighters, and making them into Rangers is a great way to transfer them into the game. Makes me honestly want Scorpion or Sub-Zero in the game as Rangers too. The "What-If" scenario that the Guest Rangers opens up is great, nothing but praise for the two. Their "Class of Angel Grove" skins are really cute too.
What I Don't Like:
- Goldar is a symptom of the MMPR era being overly favored, and he's easy to dismiss because he's a comic relief villain the game desperately tries to make threatening. Scorpina fills the henchman niche far better than he does and the Dragon Armor is a better tank. Slow as molasses, hits like a horde of trucks, bad choice.
- Kat Manx has a really endearing design but isn't very fun to play as. Apparently she's canonically a catgirl? That's cool, but I'm really not feeling it. Also, she stands out as the peak of the "upbeat female Ranger" archetype in the game. Her moveset is very acrobatic and showy but it's not fun to use.
- Cenozoic Blue is a fucking awful choice. I liked the 2017 film, but choosing a generic stand-in rather than one of the main cast (2017 Zack or 2017 Trini would be especially nice, but anyone but Kimberly would do) was a huge mistake. His moveset is cool but the spot should've gone to an actual Ranger from the film... or a character that I'll mention in the next section.
What I Want:
This is the section where I deal with elements I feel should be in the game or roster. Mostly the roster. Still, there's a fair few elements that should absolutely be in in my opinion.
- Rita fucking Repulsa. No fucking question. The fact that PR's first ever villain isn't in the game and has been supplanted primarily by Lord Zedd frustrates the hell out of me. I love Zedd, but why was Goldar put in when Rita was right there? I know she doesn't have relevance to the Shattered Grid plotline at the start, but I believe she does later on. Besides, plenty of the cast have no relevance to the comic this adapts anyways.
- Koragg the Knight Wolf. I know Koragg is in the comic, he's one of the best parts of Mystic Force too. He's cool, he's noble, he's an interesting villain and I want Koragg in Battle for the Grid pronto. Let the man join his wife!
- Rita fucking Repulsa again. The 2017 version of Rita was a very different take on the character, and one I would really like to see in. It would add a bonus Green Ranger, and it would be cool.
- Deker. Deker is one of the few redeeming traits of Samurai. His plotline sucked but he's awesome and I'd happily take him. Literally all my reps have been villains so far, let's change that.
- Izzy. I haven't watched any of Dino Fury at length, but I have seen the bit where Izzy rips off her skirt and refuses to be a skirted female Ranger. That kicks ass and she looks cool otherwise too. A totally arbitrary request.
- Billy Cranston. I don't know if they could get Billy Yost back but he's my favorite of the original Rangers and I want him in the game pronto. Blue Rangers on the whole deserve more reps since their sole character is a cardboard cutout.
- An RPM rep. Never watched RPM, but I've heard it's really good. It gets some story relevance so it may as well have a rep. I'm rooting for a Rangerized Doctor K since I've heard really good things about her and I think she beats the shit out of Drakkon in the comic, which is frankly awesome.
- More Guest Fighters. Fucking Rangerize everyone, I don't care! Ahsoka Tano? Make her a Power Ranger! Sub-Zero? Make him a Power Ranger, he fits just fine. Ragna the Bloodedge and Jin Kisaragi? They may as well be Rangers in the first place. A fucking Kamen Rider character who accidentally walked into the wrong series? I don't give a fuck, add Rick Sanchez for all I care. The gimmick of Guest Rangers is awesome and I want more of them. I want Battle for the Grid Featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry Series.
- More Music. I want the themes from every series featured, the remixes from the trailers, and everything else? In the game. The music choices are very lackluster for a franchise that makes its foundations in extremely cheesy rock.
- More Stages. The stages are really mediocre compared to some of the settings in the shows themselves. Where's the dojo from Samurai? The Juice Bar from MMPR? Rita's headquarters? Add more stages and more interesting ones.
The Roster Conclusion
Battle for the Grid has a cool roster with some real weak points. Overall, it's good. Next up, we'll deal with the gameplay, which is one of the highlights of the game. It's got a good roster, and despite some glaring and unfortunate omissions and some disastrous character choices, it's got a lot of potential.
Also, half the roster shouldn't be DLC. Just make the roster unlockable like it's Smash. I bought the full game, but if I'd bought it at launch I wouldn't pay for Eric Myers... I'd play for Eric Myers.
- Congratulations on getting down here.
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