Power Rangers: BFTG (Battle for the Grid) is a Power Rangers fans’ dream. This game is what you get when you listen to your fans, have 25+ years of fan worship, and you combine that with the knowledge that your audience has grown and continues to grow. The idea behind it is that you can pit a team of three Rangers/villains against each other in combat. With this review, I want to show off the game itself, then a list of pros and cons.
The artwork for this game is amazing. I know they took pictures from the BOOM! Comics series and repurposed them, but they fit so well and it looks as if they were made specifically for this game. You have the choice to play in Arcade, Casual, or Online Ranked modes as well. I won’t go to in-depth on the modes yet because I want to save that for the Pros and Cons.
As of this writing, you have nine characters to choose from and they come from a few different source materials. Jason Lee Scott (MMPR Red Ranger) was the original team leader and definitely deserved a spot in this game. The character hails from the show, and both ongoing comic series (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go, Go, Power Rangers). Jason comes with a secondary skin that places the Dragon Shield on him when you purchase the Season Pass. I’m a stickler for costumes so this is a must for me.
Joining his fellow MMPR ally is Tommy Oliver. Tommy Oliver was originally a villain Ranger that later became an ally. In this version of the Green Ranger, you get the classic MMPR suit and an amazing secondary suit that came from the team Bat in the Sun. This V2 skin was created by Bat in the Sun when MMPR’s Green Ranger (with Jason David Frank reprising his role as Tommy Oliver) was pitted against Ryu’s Street Fighter back in an original series titled “Super Power Beatdown”. The suit is amazing and is just another way to show how Saban has paid it forward with their fans.
Another original MMPR Ranger added to the mix is the Pink Ranger, although her default skin is the BOOM! Comics version where Lord Drakkon has warped her mind to become the infamous Ranger Slayer. Having Kimberly Hart added to the roster makes it feel right. The BOOM! series has given her character a lot more depth with the continuing story, Shattered Grid storyline, and her own series titled “PINK”.
Rounding out the MMPR cast is fan favorite villain, Goldar. He’s an absolute beast that also hails from the television series, movie, and comic books. If you’re looking for an all-out brute, Goldar is definitely the character to go with in this game. While his likeness hasn’t changed since the 90’s, this game has quickly shown why he has been feared throughout the galaxy, and why Rita made him her right-hand man. Formidable isn’t nearly enough to describe him.
Other fan favorites of the Power Ranger Series include Kat Manx (Power Rangers SPD), Magna Defender (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy), Gia Moran/Mega Force Yellow (Power Rangers Super Mega Force), Lord Drakkon (BOOM! Comics Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series), and Mastodon Sentry (BOOM! Comics Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series). I only listed the last few because I want to go a little more into the pros and cons of the game and some of these characters are in that list for reasons soon to be revealed. I’m a glass half full kind of guy and, at the end of the day, I really only want to think about the positives. That being said, I’m going to start with the cons first.
Arcade Mode – There isn’t much to say about Arcade Mode. And that’s the con. I think of immersive story when I think of Arcade Mode in any game. With Fighter Games, I immediately think of Marvel Vs. Capcom, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter and so on. All of those games have some kind of story that gives you a sense of satisfaction when you are done with the game. You may have unlocked a few cinematics, color schemes for characters, artwork, or even music. You essentially get a blurb from the character that pretty much says your journey is over. When you have characters like Kat Manx and Magna Defender (both of whom I know next to nothing about) a little more effort should be put into getting the player interested. Something as simple as unlocking a bio with character concepts or even a Fact Sheet about the character would go a long way to make Arcade Mode fun and worth it. The only thing I can say Arcade Mode has done for me is let me see the credits (which I’m not sure if they were unlocked beforehand or not) and put a little green checkmark next to my primary character with whom I beat the game with.
Sound Quality – I was really hoping I’d be able to get at least the MMPR theme song from this. Or even the action sounds the cast made in the show. I was sadly left disappointed with both. Not including the sounds from the series of those characters are a HUGE downer for me. Goldar’s voice, Jason, Kimberly AND Tommy’s “HEEYA!” would have made this game even better, in my opinion. Even if I were to not include my “wants” in this con, I would still say sound based on the sound FX being off in some cases. The hits match up while playing a local match but, when playing online, I get a little bit of a lag with the sounds. I’m hoping a future update will fix that issue.
Fighting Styles – Each character has a vastly different fighting style and it makes the gameplay that much better. Even the difference between MMPR Green Ranger and MMPR Lord Drakkon, while essentially a “dystopian future-self”, are vastly different. When you think of their stories, they’d have to be. Power sets and fighting styles were very well thought out for these characters and each one is definitely unique. While Goldar is a close fighter, Gia Moran can be both close and distant with her Mega Blaster. It’s a ton of fun to see what each character can do.
Characters – Overall, the characters in this game are amazing. The suits look like they do in the shows and, with some of the characters, the alternate costumes bring an added bonus to the screen. Seeing the characters move seamlessly in a match is breathtaking. I’ve seen reports where people are complaining about the graphics being too low but, I think the quality is outstanding. Especially in the case of the alternate costumes. Red Ranger with Dragon Shield, Gran Ranger V2 (Bat in the Sun suit), Lord Drakkon Evo 2, and original MMPR Pink Ranger are great costume additions to this game. Not only that, but bringing characters like Mastodon Sentry in to the game is definitely a way to get people interested in the comics. I like to think of this character as Vader’s Storm Troopers…except competent, cool, and able to hit anything in their sights. Mastodon Sentry is definitely one of the coolest looking characters in the game.
Special Moves – The special moves in this game really give it a whole new feel to the Power Ranger Universe. While most every episode of the show (or issue of the comic), focuses on team work, it’s very easy to forget that (outside of any Ranger that Tommy is) the Rangers are formidable all on their own. Each special move highlights a character’s power set and really puts the focus on just how powerful each Ranger truly is.
Updates – With the first update of the game scheduled to happen shortly (check out the release info )they are listening to the fans and giving more characters for free, while still addressing issues that people are having in the game. Three more characters are added with this update. Those characters are going to be Dragon Armor Trini (BOOM! Comics Shattered Grid series), Udonna (Power Rangers Mystic Force), and Cenezoic Blue Ranger (2017 Power Rangers movie). With updates like these, the game will continue to be fun for a long time.
Nostalgia – One of the most powerful emotions a person can have is nostalgia. The yearning for a time when things were simpler and all that mattered was how you were feeling when doing/playing/listening/watching that one thing you really enjoyed. For Power Ranger fans, this game helps bring back that feeling. Seeing characters we know and love in a new game geared towards doing what we as kids use to imitate on the screen.
After everything is said and done, I would urge any fighting game fans to give this game a try. It’s fun, it can only get better, and, if you’re a Power Ranger fan, it’s going to bring back a lot of memories, as well as help create some new fans with BOOM! Comics and the Ranger Nation as a whole.