Something incredible happens when I hear someone say, “Power Rangers.” It’s like I’ve been transported to a world filled of happiness, and mightiness and morphin’ time; a place where my childhood lived, and my world was simply carefree.
Twenty-one years ago (yes it’s been that long) I was dreaming of Tommy and wishing I was The Pink Ranger. Throughout the years many Rangers of Power have come and go from Mighty Morphin to Rangers in Space and now today’s generation is bestowed with Super Megaforce on Nickelodeon. For me, though, nothing will ever touch the original (sorry) and due to this game, the original will never be forgotten.
To celebrate the Power Rangers anniversary and massive staying power Namco Bandai has released the latest entry in the gaming series entitled Saban’s Power Rangers Megaforce (based on the TV show), a semi-3D brawler that will have players trying to defeat Prince Vekar and his army who are threatening to destroy the planet.
This time, our Rangers are not alone, for they are joined by Power Rangers from all of the past TV shows and will become an unstoppable force. I was very skeptical about this game at first; games based on TV shows are often uninspiring, rushed and devoid of feeling. My worries were pushed aside the second I started the game, just hearing the sound of “Go Go Power Rangers!” made me do a “happy dance” that no one could ruin.
…and then the game started.
Seeing the game start up on the 3DS screen is something I don’t ever want to experience again, it was like being punched in the face by both Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali in their prime. It was something I have never seen before. It was if gaming never existed, graphics were a thing of the future, gameplay was as advanced as a colorful game of Pong but at least the sound worked.
If I closed my eye s and just listened to the sounds, this is a playable game. Unfortunately, I do not possess the skill of playing games successfully with my eyes closed, so I just had to grin and bear the pain.
This game is a disaster of epic non-playable proportions.
Let’s start from the beginning; Megaforce tries to be something it’s not…good. Gone are the days of when The Power Rangers were fun, color and completely over-the-top, instead it’s replaced with…I just don’t know what. After I got past the nostalgic soundtrack full of lies, I was quickly dragged into the game’s single player mode where I was given the simple task of stiffly and awkwardly running either left or right through the most mundane muted environments that have ever existed.
Just when I thought all I could do was run, I soon discovered I could do much more, like jump onto objects like trash cans and buses to get on roofs that was somehow thrown together by artists who must have had both their hands tied behind their backs when they designed this.
As I ran and jumped through the levels of boredom to collect large coins so I could purchase poorly conceived items later on, I came across enemies to be defeated in order to proceed with the level. This is where things get interesting; when I first started the game I was given the option of choosing five Rangers of the thirty Rangers (including several locked Red Rangers) that will assist me, with each Ranger having different combat and fighting skills.
At first, I thought picking certain members for my team was imperative to gaming but that theory is far from the truth. This is also where the game falls completely apart, as the combat is awful and downright unplayable at times. Rangers will kick and fight right through enemies, controls do not work probably, and some Rangers are left shooting the air as if they were attacked by the Ghosts of Combat Past.
Despite the numerous Rangers to choose from, and the ability to change them during every stage, they are still very limited in what they can do. They can be broken into light, heavy and special attacks and can only fight close or long distance; whoever I ended switching to is not by choice but whoever happens to be standing nearest to my Ranger. I was left fighting blind.
To be honest, despite their skill set all of the Rangers can be downright useless at times. For example, enemies are often sent in heavy waves and if there’s no preparation with the right Ranger, expect to spend that time shooting one laser beam at a group of enemies hoping that one day someone will be hit.
Another puzzling effect is that attacks can only be delivered from left to right while movement in the game is 360. As a result, feelings of hopeless and vulnerable to any and all attacks will be felt. This makes for a very frustrating time causing me to give up, stop caring and start randomly smashing buttons, shooting, kicking and swinging with no sense of purpose aside from just wanting to continue to the next tragically boring level.
Not all is lost, as less anger lives within the touchscreen that activates the Power Rangers’ Power Cards that will add abilities to a Rangers repertoire during gameplay. When I tap the screen I’m given elemental abilities that help during puzzle solving and interacting with the game’s “environment,” such as fire that can be used to melt ice, defeat enemies and destroy objects blocking your way.
One of the more puzzling aspects of the game comes in the form of their heavily touted 3D feature. In the beginning it was explained to me that the game has semi-3D, but it works more like the developers thought it would be a great addition to the game but just gave up half-way and decided to still use what was left.
The 3D does add personality to the rather flat design; there are some pops of color and a hint of detail that makes me cry when I think what this game could have been had the designers just applied this more. For some reason the 3D design isn’t used in the game itself but in the bonus content and added features. Why it’s not used during gameplay is something the world may never know.
Despite the horrible lazy graphics, a smile came to my face when I was given the chance to fly the Megazord during a boss battle in order to defeat a giant robot. When this is paired with navigating and shooting via the touchscreen, for a moment, I forgot all the heartache this game has and will give me.
Here the controls are somewhat better, the combat is paint-by-numbers but the controls seem to magical come together making it a rather smooth flight and flight. Unfortunately, this small gem lasts merely seconds and I’m thrust back into the lands of boredom.
Another part of the game that almost put a smile on my face is the voice acting, which gives commentary during gameplay and during the must needed cut-scenes. This provides a nice banter that took me away from the monotony of the gameplay. This is where the game’s budget seems to have went, the over-the-top dialogue supported by a full on voice acting.
However, the more I played this game the more annoying this charming feature became. When I say “over-the-top” I literally mean just that, like constant conversations that make no sense at all. During one of the sequences one of the Rangers randomly commentated on birds, just for no reason at all, out of the blue. There were no birds. Sometimes, the Rangers banter with others the group, again just because. What started out as pleasant quickly became annoying and made the game even more unbearable.
In no shape or form can I recommend this game but what I can do is recommend that a decent pair of sneakers are purchased and customers run as far away from this as fast as possible (be the Usain Blot you’re meant to be). This game shouldn’t have even been released, from the terrible presentation, to the stalled animation and nonexistent graphics, this Super Megaforce is anything but “Super.”
Painfully boring and uninspiring, this game was created without any love, care or respect. It’s an embarrassment to the franchise, an insult to the customers and should have been thrown into the infamous E.T. landfill.