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Power Rangers Super Megaforce

Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Action
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: Oct. 28, 2014

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


3DS Review - 'Power Rangers: Super Megaforce'

by Brian Dumlao on March 20, 2015 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

The action side-scrolling 3DS game gives fans the chance to experience the legendary powers of the Super Megaforce Rangers and save the earth from evil.

The last Power Rangers game to hit the 3DS, Power Rangers: Megaforce, was quite bad. The gameplay was dull and pointless, and the presentation was possibly one of the worst on the system at that point. Compared to the other games spawned by the franchise, it was the worst of the bunch, a considerable feat when you realize that few titles were from the 16-bit era. Still, the franchise has a large fan base, and there seems to be enough drive to deliver game after game in the hopes that things will finally go right. That seems to be the reason behind Power Rangers: Super Megaforce.

Right off the bat, the game doesn't bother to set up a plot. Throughout every level, you get a few cut scenes in a visual novel style that show the rangers entering a new area and vowing to make things right. Meeting the boss gives you another cut scene, and ending the level shows the head villain vowing to get revenge. It plays out like a set of random episodes instead of a cohesive tale. That's actually appreciated since the TV series does practically the same thing, with the exception of a few key episodes for the overall arc. At the very least, there is some peace of mind in knowing that you can skip through the cut scenes without missing anything significant.

In essence, Super Megaforce is a brawler. You start each level by picking two rangers; the first is the one you control, while the other is your computer-controlled partner. Each of the nine levels is split into six portions. The first four play out in the expected fashion, so you'll scroll left and right.  You're blocked by energy fields until you defeat all of the enemies in the area, and you pick up coins along the way. The fifth section has you fighting a boss in similar brawler fashion, and the last portion moves to a standard fighting game format between the giant version of the boss and you in your zord. At the end of each section, you gain XP to level up your character's stats.

There are a few things done right here. Your AI partner is actually quite good, and you can even change routines on the fly to go from concentrating on close-quarter combat to long-range attacks to staying on the defensive. The rangers have different attacks that are more than cosmetic. The Green Ranger deals with explosives while the Red Ranger has a cutlass, and the Silver Ranger uses his long trident to clear out enemies. The differences in attacks make the ability to unlock more rangers more appealing, since they feel different. With new characters hailing from Mystic Force, Ninja Storm, and the original series (to name a few), the game has a wide roster of characters for fans of all types.

The genre may be right for the game, but the execution is flawed in several areas. The store doesn't sell anything but healing items and an occasional level-up potion, robbing you of the opportunity to change up your attacks. It doesn't really matter, though, since the most basic attack is also the most useful and powerful. Your charge attack is so slow to build up that the damage is paltry, and the guns generate very little damage, so you need to rely on the basic attack to deliver good speed and damage. It's preferable to the zord fights, which are slow and lumbering to the point of being boring. Perhaps the most egregious flaw is imbalance. In particular, the Red Megaforce Ranger, immediately available in the game, seems to be the most powerful character in the roster even after you've unlocked everyone else. He does two to three times more damage than anyone else, so you can breeze through the title without fear of dying.

There's not much else the player can do once the campaign has been completed. There aren't any alternate modes that use your powered-up characters, and the campaign doesn't change when you use unlocked characters from other squads. There's no multiplayer, so you can't fight against an opponent or play alongside a friend through the story mode. The only thing you can do is use the camera on the 3DS to scan in Ranger Keys, which are used to power-up your characters. This time around, the game doesn't come with any optional accessories, so we couldn't tell if it worked or if the boosts were significant.

Graphically, Super Megaforce is fine. The characters animate well enough, and there's a bit of detail on your rangers, especially once you add rangers from different squads and see capes, insignias and helmet details. The same goes for the zords and the bosses, but standard enemies don't get such luxuries beyond general shape and color changes. Environments are mostly uninspired, but there are a few exceptions. There are a good number of moving elements in these levels, like traffic or lava streams flowing in the background, so the fighting locations aren't too bland. Particle effects are also good enough, and the frame rate is solid without unintentional slowdown. This also happens to be one of the few games on the system with no 3-D support, so fans of the 3-D effect are bound to be disappointed by its absence.

The sound is serviceable. The score, while not memorable, is good enough that the action feels accentuated by it. The sound effects hit well enough and add some oomph to the hits during regular combat. It loses some strength in the zord fights, but otherwise, it's fine. The voices are still problematic, but the problem is that there isn't enough voice work. Cut scenes feature no voices whatsoever, and battle sequences only have grunts from the rangers. Finishing levels give you a short voice sample from your chosen ranger, but unless you pick the Red Megaforce Ranger (who only has one saying that he repeats again and again), everyone simply calls out the name of the ranger squad to which they belong. For a licensed title, this feels pretty lazy.

Though it is a much better effort than the prior game, Power Rangers: Super Megaforce is a game that is fine with being mediocre. Elements of the game are deep, but the fighting is pretty lackluster since enemies aren't much of a challenge, and zord fights are too slow for their own good. The imbalance provided by the Red Megaforce Ranger means that the game, while a good length, can be finished rather quickly. The presentation is fine, but with so few modes available, there's not much to keep players coming back. It's a decent rental for die-hard fans, but that's about it.

Score: 4.5/10

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