Easily the greatest contention most professional reviewers have with games (aside from them "sucking") is whether or not a game is like another. This is a fairly inconsistent discrepancy, because sometimes a game is great for it, such as Darksiders, and sometimes a game is pandering for it, such as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game.
This thought was spurred by a comment Jeff, himself, made:
If I wanted to play River City Ransom, I'd play River City Ransom.
You've probably heard this phrase before. It's a favorite among the critics. Sometimes it's used to comedic effect by incorporating some outlandish turn of phrase that offers an estranged comparison:
If I wanted to play a fucking pile of shit, I'd stab my eyes, scoop them out with the sharpened stick, and mash them into a cartridge of Custer's Revenge as if they were goose pâté.
Classy. Marky Mark may have said something like that at some point. It's highly likely. Unfortunately, others can't live up to the swarthy sophistication of the leader of the Funky Bunch, and when they try to match up, all you get is a hot mess with vibrations unlike Sunkist; many wanna' know who done this. Of course, making you feel the rhythm was his occupation, so naturally he'd make you feel the vibes and make others want to come along for the ride.
The former cohort of Prince Ital Joe didn't critique video games, nor does he now, so we must look to the those not of the inclination of straight Hip-Hop for advice. So thus far, most critics and on-lookers find that Scott Pilgrim's game is less of the homage that it claims to be, and more of an identical representation.
This is an assumption you'd get after only playing the first level.
To their credit, it is a pretty weak level; nothing interesting really happens. Progressing through the game, however, any player would find that the game offers more depth to the combat than throwing dudes and then dragon kicking them when they get up. The level-up system unlocks new moves at a very regular interval, giving the player far more tools of destruction as they progress. In some ways this can hamper the experience as getting up faster is a late-game unlock, but for the most part it offers a fun progression system.
Items may seem like they are a direct implementation, but there are differences. The player no longer needs to assign moves or equipment as it's all handled automatically. The moves are also not as useless, such as the Javelin Man in River City Ransom, which just made the experience more trying.
On top of all this, the art style is absolutely amazing, and is taken full advantage of on the high definition consoles, as much more than two enemies can be rendered on screen at once.
Certainly there are some similarities, like battling twins (which was a praised reference to Double Dragon) late in the game, but Scott Pilgrim makes use of wildly dynamic set-pieces and follows its own story, so the direct comparisons don't even match at a cosmetic level. You beat dudes up, and there are a few references to River City Ransom, but even then, there are many references to many different products, which is inherent to the source material.
Maybe I'm mistaken, but beating dudes up isn't a valid reason to claim that this game is a direct recreation of another game. Castle Crashers, with its similarities to Shadow Over Mystara, certainly didn't get this sort of treatment when it launched. I can only assume that you damn yourself when you go out and market yourself as an homage. In that regard, perhaps they damned themselves.
People must really hate that word.