• Super Sentai Battle: Ranger Cross Review Nintendo Wii

    Although into its thirty fifth year, and something of a national institution in Japan, Super Sentai hasn't produced many video games over the years. As part of the anniversary celebrations, Super Sentai Battle: Ranger Cross marks the first time in quite a while that fans can take control of their favourite characters and do battle via their console.



    For those unfamiliar with the Sentai universe, (or Power Rangers for that matter) each series sees a group of colour-coded warriors do battle with evildoers to save Japan and the world from impending doom. Super attacks, powered-up forms, finishers and even mech battles are mainstays of each series and when a basic outline like this is provided, it's hard to see why more games don't exist it seems made for video game adaptation.



    Gameplay is quite predictable beating up enemies with combos using the A button rewards the player with yellow icons that will fill a meter (the V-Gauge to give it its official title). Once full, pressing the B button will unleash a finisher attack, defeating all enemies on screen and clearing the stage. Seeing finishing attacks from a specific series recreated does have a certain charm, but it is really only fans or those familiar with the particular series that will get the most out of them. Block and dash buttons round out the rather basic control scheme, although given the fact that each stage can be finished in a few minutes, a more complex control scheme isn't really required.



    The majority of the fifty stages see the player choose their favourite character (the AI taking charge of those that remain), and fight the standard grunt enemies that feature in each Sentai series in an enclosed arena. Each character has the benefit of playing differently to each of the others, adding to the replayability of the game. They each have a five or six hit combo (which, despite the game resembling a Musou/Dynasty Warriors game in some screenshots are actually slower and less fluid than they are in that series), and each character will attack using their specific weapon, be it sword, gun, lance and so on. The lack of a lock-on button means that accuracy, especially when focusing on one enemy, is something of an issue. Some stages will add a more powerful boss enemy, but these take the same form of enclosed area combat. Variation appears in the form of stages featuring one-on-one mech battles, fought from a side-on perspective. These stages are scattered throughout the game and do provide a welcome change of pace, even if the slow movement of the players character and "attack, block, attack, block" gameplay detracts from the overall enjoyment of them.

    Story mode is where the player will spend the majority of their time. This mode is broken up into fifty chapters, with narration and brief, but fully voiced cutscenes doing much to add to the authenticity of the game, whichreally make it feel like one of the TV series. On this note, the overall presentation is excellent. Whilst it may not be all that impressive graphically, it is bright, colourful and really reflects the enthusiastic, upbeat nature of Sentai. Following a somewhat predictable good versus evil storyline, the player will take charge of various Sentai teams (not all of them are represented though) and battle their way through the aforementioned stages. Taken on its own, without the Sentai skin and setting, the story mode could be seen as a brief (the game can be finished in around five hours) and repetitive journey, but the game is definitely primarily targeted at the fans and it is hard to imagine any of them not appreciating the fanservice on show. Unfortunately, as the majority of those fans will be the pre-teen children that the game and series' are intended for, the difficulty level is very low. It's safe to say that if you have no problem reading this review, dying (or losing much health for that matter) will never be an issue. This, coupled with the simple control scheme, mean that non-fans and older gamers need not apply.



    Adding a little depth to the story mode is a roulette wheel of sorts that appears before each stage. As it scrolls, pressing the A button will stop it and give the player a chance of being rewarded with a power up of increased health, defence, attack power etc to take into the stage. Given the ease of the game however, this isn't something that players will have to rely on throughout and is little more than a distraction. Once a stage is completed, a score is awarded based on performance and once certain high score targets have been reached, the player is awarded new finishing attacks and specials to use in the game. Again, this is something that is only likely to appeal to those who will actually recognise them, although it is nice that there is some choice offered as to how enemies will be finished off, rather than it always being the same.



    Versus mode allows one or two players to select their favourite character from those available in the game and fight enemies against the clock to obtain a high score. Doing so will give them a number of chances to open a treasure chest and unlock a character statue at random which can be viewed in a separate mode, complete with zoom and rotation options. The stages in versus mode are short (more brief even that those in story mode), and without the desire to unlock all available statues, only fans will want to spend any serious amount of time here.



    In the end, Super Sentai Battle: Ranger Cross is a game that is aimed primarily at children (having one of the Sentai series from the seventies may gain their parents attention, although it is likely to be short-lived) and, as a result, is simple, short and easy. Those of us who are familiar with the world of Sentai will come away with a more positive experience than those who aren't, but without the fan service the game is ultimately easy and shallow and hard to recommend.

    Pros:

    - Fans will enjoy playing as their favourite characters
    - Bright, energetic presentation
    - Unlockables add depth for fans.

    Cons:

    - Short and very easy.
    - Not much to hold the interest of non-fans.
    - No real depth to the combat.

    Score: 5/10

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. speedlolita's Avatar
      speedlolita -
      Really want this when I get a Wii.
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