Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World: The Game Review
By - Regian
Movie tie-in games, for the most part, stink. Normally, studios will just take a movie franchise, crank out a game in a certain amount of time that would make those responsible for E.T. on the Atari jealous, slap a full retail tag on it and let it loose on the marketplace. Nine times out of ten, they fail. Miserably.
Here comes Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game, a game tied-in to the recent release of the movie of the same title (which is very good, go see it after you read this review) for ten bucks on Playstation Network. Off the bat, they do one good thing and not slap at $60 tag on it and throw it out to retailers. But soon, you’ll find out that the $10 price tag is a complete steal.
For those who have not seen the movie or read any of the comics, I’ll explain the premise of the game real quick. Scott Pilgrim is your early 20’s slacker who plays in a band with his friends. He meets this girl named Ramona Flowers, to which they both hit it off. Problem is, Ramona has baggage. Violent baggage. She has seven evil exes that Scott has to defeat in order for him to date her. The seven exes all have one plan: Kill Scott Pilgrim.
Man, and they say that finding dates on Craigslist is dangerous.
Scott Pilgrim VS. The World is an old-school beat ‘em up in the likes of River City Ransom and all of those brawlers we pumped quarters into when we were young. However, this is a beat ‘em up with a unique twist. The game adds RPG elements that allow you to become stronger and faster during the progress of the game. The stats which you can improve on during the game are: Strength, Speed, Defense, and Willpower. When you defeat enemies, you earn XP and coins that build up during the progress of the game. After certain XP points, you level up. This boosts your Hit Points (your life) and your Gut Points (your special points that allow for your bigger attacks and to call for assistance) along with giving you an additional move to add to your arsenal. In my game playing as Scott, it appeared that your level tops out at 16. The coins you collect during the game can be used to buy items that can boost your HP, GP, or any of your other stats.
When you start the game, you can select from one of four characters: Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Kim Pine or Stephen Stills. You can do a quick color change for each character before heading into the main game. If you’ve been playing the game before you play it with friends, your character level will still carry over from however far you’ve got to in your solo endeavors.
The game is broken up into seven main levels, each with a certain amount of sub-stages and a boss to defeat at the end of each level. One of my main complaints with level progression is that when you die, you have to start the entire level over. There’s no checkpoint system of any kind and the game only saves your progress when you complete a full level. It certainly gets irritating after a while.
What can you do during your campaign? Well, you can kick, punch, throw, use objects, throw and beat enemies with other enemies. There’s definitely a lot of ways to defeat whoever gets in your path. The enemies range from your normal human tough guys and muscular bodyguards to robots and zombies. However you want to dispose of them is completely your choice. As for the boss battles, some of them range from the laughably easy to the controller-throwing insanely difficult. In fact, the last boss of the game I had to go back and buy nine extra lives just to have breathing room to defeat him. There’s definitely a ramp of difficulty as your progress through the game. If you’re playing this game solo like I did, it’s quite a challenge.
However, if you’re one for playing games with friends, Scott Pilgrim VS. The World supports up to four players locally on the same screen. This is probably where you are going to get a lot of your mileage. This game screams to be played with friends. Sadly, since I don’t have a second controller, all my friends did for a period of time was watch. This brings me to my next complaint: Where in the world is online co-op for this game? That omission alone is a big bummer to a rather solid package. In a time where gamers enjoy and expect most games to have some sort of online component, whether it’s co-op or competitive, it’s disappointing to see that no such feature exists with the game. However, there are online leaderboards for your top score.
There are two other extra modes that are unlockable in the game: There’s Survival Horror, a mode where you fight zombies and try to get the highest score in a 30-minute time limit. Then there’s Boss Rush, which you face off against all of the bosses consecutively. However, at the time of this writing, it is unknown what parameters must be accomplished in order to unlock the Boss Rush mode. The Survival Horror mode is unlocked via cheat code.
Graphically, the game is stylized after an old-school 8-bit beat ‘em up game. Level design ranges from the cold, night streets of Toronto to the colorful clubs that you visit during your progress. Characters and their actions all retain that 8-bit goodness that retro fans love.
In the audio department, the game’s chiptune soundtrack is performed by Anamanaguchi. If you’re not familiar with the name, they also did the soundtrack to the Wii’s Bit.Trip Runner game. The soundtrack fits the game perfectly. In fact, I actually can’t wait to download the soundtrack LP for the game, which comes out here in a few weeks. As for in-game sounds, it’s everything to expect from a tribute retro title. Heck, there’s even a sound alike Mario Bros. coin sound when you break a block with coins in it!
When it’s all said and done, Scott Pilgrim VS. The World is an excellent downloadable title. I can honestly say that not having online co-op for this game only hurts the overall score I give the game only slightly. Given the quality and enjoyment that I have had for the most part with this game, it’s certainly a frontrunner for my best downloadable game of the year. It’s a rare feat, gang. An excellent movie paired with an excellent video game. You don’t see that very often.
- Awesome retro design and accessible gameplay
- RPG leveling and rating systems let you determine your strengths and weaknesses
- Challenging enough even if you play alone
- Just $10! How can you argue with that?
- Lack of a checkpoint system. Having to start over really stinks sometimes, especially when getting late into a level
- No online co-op? C'mon! That's expected nowadays!
Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game was developed and published by Ubisoft. A review code for the Playstation 3 version of the game was provided by the developer. Completed the game's story mode with Scott Pilgrim on the medium difficulty setting. Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game is available currently on the Playstation Network for $9.99 and will be available on the Xbox Live Marketplace on August 25th.