Friends. Enemies. Rivals.
Let's let this mistake of a blog conclude, shall we?
Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid, I have finished. Its gameplay, I have reviewed. Its story, I have destroyed. Its roster, I have discussed. It is the end of these blogs, and it's time to wrap up with my final thoughts before I do a couple more blogs.
Power Rangers And Me, Again
Buying this game actually sent me a bit deeper down the toku rabbit hole, and that was really interesting. I've been taking a break from Timeranger around episode 7 to watch the Gundam content that recently was placed on Netflix, but I fully expect to have a good time with the rest of it. I've looked into a sentai to watch afterward. When I was a kid, I never realized Power Rangers was an adaptation of anything, much less that it was an adaptation of something I would really come to enjoy. It's amazing to revisit things from your childhood sometimes, and this is most definitely an example of that. Battle For The Grid was a fun trip back into my past, where I realized just how much I once liked Power Rangers, and how much Timeranger could recapture that love.
The Game Itself
The roster managed to be among the game's strongest points, yet also its weakest. So many highlights, yet so many options lacking, not to mention the lack of solid base roster and how much is split into DLC. The gameplay, meanwhile, is absolutely fantastic, one of the best and most accessible fighting games I ever played, minus a few issues with the AI. The story is the biggest weak point of the entire game, being an utterly horrid adaptation if the popular Boom! Studios comic crossover in terms of narrative and an unfair, frustrating setup in terms of gameplay. The unlock cycle was thankfully without microtransactions and cash grabs, yet simultaneously found itself lacking in terms of incentive for the player to play the game and earn content. It's a fantastic game in terms of pure gameplay, a joy in couch co-op, but it's also difficult as hell to master and hard to figure out.
The World of Tokusatsu
The sad part of delving into the tokusatsu genre is the fact that so little of it is available to the public, and that often feels deliberate. Sentai was only translated and distributed in the U.S. up to Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger, a.k.a. Power Rangers Wild Force. Whether the result of the Japanese creators or the American distributors, it's very hard to access a lot of tokusatsu content, with many popular toku shows and even almost an entire franchise (Kamen Rider) suffering from attempts to adapt it in the style of Power Rangers rather than simply translate and distribute it, leaving piracy the sole or best option for many fans. Power Rangers is a beloved franchise, but in many ways its existence has condemned the translation and release of other tokusatsu in the west.
Nonetheless, Shout! Factory is clearly doing their best to distribute it to those who might want to see toku shows, and it's my hope that someday tokusatsu is as beloved here as it is in its home country, perhaps even found not just by avid fans like me, but by the children it's aimed at, and even adults who might find themselves in the market for solid children's entertainment.
Power Rangers Is Outdated, But It Doesn't Have To Be
Perhaps the saddest thing about watching Power Rangers, and playing the game as a young adult, is knowing how much children's entertainment has changed between the original show's broadcasting and the time we live in today. It's not sad because kids' shows have become worse, but because they have become better. Power Rangers, meanwhile, refuses to take those steps into the future. For years, Power Rangers was characterized by laziness and poor direction, with writers and actors desperately wanting to achieve things with the stories and being dismissed by producers and directors more interested in making a quick buck off the license.
Fortunately, this began to change with the advent of the Boom! Studios comics, which are still going strong with slightly more mature storylines, and now that the franchise is in new hands, new shows like Beast Morphers have been better received, although they still carry elements of the franchise's refusal to progress past the 1990s, and to accept that the stories they can tell have opened up. I wanna see a male Ranger in a motherfucking skirt. I wanna see transgender Rangers, even more Red Rangers of color after Beast Morphers finally offered one, and prominent characters from marginalized groups. I want to see the kind of storytelling Avatar: The Last Airbender popularized in the 2000s. Power Rangers, were it willing, could join the many series advancing in time and in dignity. It's always stood for inclusivity, for heroic ideals and genuine kindness. Power Rangers is, to many, more than just a silly franchise about people in spandex they can make toys out of. As more and more children's entertainment is advancing past simplistic ideas of a "toyetic" franchise designed to get plastic into the hands of the audience, it's time Power Rangers becomes more than it is and gets to finally stand alongside other children's series, to invite an audience of kids that will feel genuinely included no matter who they are. It seems the franchise is heading in that direction at last now, but it's still got a long ways to go.
Live On My Dream, Live On My Soul
Overall, to me, Battle For The Grid was more than a game. It was a dive back into a franchise I loved as a child, and which I observed in its highest and lowest points. It, and gracious Destructoid user Zalno, guided me to Timeranger and Sentai on the whole, which I'm overjoyed to finally be watching.
I still have hope for this franchise, and for tokusatsu on the whole, and it makes me happy that Battle For The Grid is a solid entry, at least gameplay-wise, into the franchise. While it could do with a polish, I don't regret the fifty dollars I spent on it whatsoever.
In addition, Battle For The Grid got me back into blogging on Destructoid, which I think I'll be doing much more. For now, I say goodbye to Battle For The Grid and Power Rangers on the whole. Who knows what we'll find me doing a blog on next?
Who knows indeed?