With Power Rangers Super Samurai wrapping up its finale this past weekend (not a bad ending, but this series wasn’t as strong as others, in my humble opinion), I feel it would be fitting to take a look at the only Power Rangers game to hit the three major home consoles. A new Rangers game on a next-gen Wii console? What innovations will it bring? Well, barely a handful.
Since most of the Power Rangers games follow the arcade beat’em up style of gameplay, I can’t say that I was expecting revolutionary changes to its bread and butter, but given the Wii’s capabilities with the remote, PR Samurai did not particularly utilize it, yet still offers a solid game for those in need of pounding waves of Moogers.
VISUALS & SOUND 8/10: Samurai boasts very good vibrant colors and fluid animation. The Rangers all look pretty good and when the action picks up, there’s little to no slowdown. Signature attacks have each Ranger use one of their two signature weapons to launch powerful strikes that are fun to use. I feel the scenery could’ve been juggled up a bit as far as stage design goes, however. Areas mainly consist of running through wreckage in a factory, outside near the park, and a bamboo forest. Yeah, they pretty much fight in the same locations in the show, but every stage layout feels identical to the last, regardless of the progressing level. Without a map in the player HUD, it can be a bit annoying when going down alternate paths to find hidden extras, so it requires a play through or two take the path that doesn’t initiate a boss battle to get the item you seek.
The game’s soundtrack is pretty good, but the quasi-generic rock riffs might get a bit repetitive. Voice acting is sharp, with the actors from the series reprising all of their roles, including the Nighloks (I still think Jayden sounds like he has victims tied up somewhere). During Megazord fights, the show’s theme blasts in the background while the to titans duke it out. That’s always a win!!
…..I’m sorry, where was I? Oh right, the Samuraizer works very well. Attacking enemies is efficient, and while I would’ve liked a target lock of some kind, hit detection is top-notch and you swing wide enough to nail Moogers that stray to the side.
Objective is very straightforward. Crush baddies, avoid some mild obstacles, and defeat the boss. A nice touch to the game is that it plays out like an abridged version of the television show, so depending on if you are playing solo or co-op determines which Ranger(s) you can control. For instance, when Octoroo poisons Jayden, Red Ranger is unavailable for that mission, or Jayden runs solo during the Day Off episode while he’s training to use the Shiba fire disc. Some instances would’ve allowed some mini game potential, I think. An example is when Kevin (Blue Ranger) is attempting to catch the Swordfish Zord, so you would use the remote as a reel, created from Symbol Power. Perhaps my expectations were a little through the roof.
DIFFICULTY 5.5/10: With the learning curve relatively low, PR Samurai is a pretty easy game. The Megazord battles can get a bit dicey, probably nothing you won’t be able to handle. Stronger versions of Moogers appear as you progress and they take more hits and come in bigger waves, but I never at any point felt hindered by them. Bosses have varying attack patterns, yet fight pretty much alike. Simply dodge their big move and slide in and wallop them. The ability to counter out of a blocking stance is a gret way to dish out extra damage and potential health and symbol power icons. If you find yourself dying, it might be out of losing focus from time to time, which can happen since few roadblocks will prove to be a threat.
IN CLOSING: Power Rangers Samurai is a more than suitable game to quench your Ranger action thirst, but it isn’t as innovative to a degree that a next-gen game should be at this point. While it leaves a lot to be desired in what it would’ve been (wider range of attacks, a more engaging Megazord battle scheme, a couple of extra mini-game possibilities), it’s still a pretty formidable action game that’s more than worth the $19.99 price tag. OVERALL SCORE 7/10
PROS: The Samuraizer is very fun, Lots of extras to unlock, a very good 2-player game
CONS: Very repetitive, Bosses are pretty easy, Megazord battles are a bit of a letdown