Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

    Game » consists of 5 releases. Released Nov 09, 2010

    Beat up a lot of people to win the heart of your girlfriend in this retro-themed 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up based on the Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels.

    viking_funeral's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

    Avatar image for viking_funeral

    Fun, Frustration, Nostalgia, and a faint reminder of Dark Souls.

    Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World tries so hard to remind of us of games played in late 80s to early 90s, so it's a bit ironic that the game that it ended up reminding me of is a more modern release, namely Dark Souls. Both games have frustrating difficulty curves and have gameplay that focuses on animation priority. If you press a button, you are locked in that animation until it completes. Both also contain many battles that are borderline impossible until you learn of strategies that some delusional purists would describe as cheesing. The difference between the two games is that every mistake made in Dark Souls is a learning experience and can be prevented. Scott Pilgrim is an often glitchy experience, and you'll be fighting with notable disadvantages for the first half game.

    It's hard to break down the many frustrating aspects of Scott Pilgrim, so lets start by focusing on the many positives the game has. The game looks amazing. The Art Director was none other that Paul Robertson, a modern master of retro-pixelated graphics. All the animations are smooth, highly detailed, and pay a reverential nod to classic early 90s arcade games like The Simpsons and Turtles in Time.

    The music is equally top notch, being composed by the 'Chip-Punk' band Anamanaguchi. I often found the contagious tunes stuck in my head hours after I put down the game for the day.

    The overly indulged homage to games of the late 80s and early 90s can be both wonderful and annoying. Your experience will highly depend on your own experience with the games referenced, and what your tolerance is for pop-cultural nods, even if they are often from video games themselves. In full disclosure, I have read and enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, and reverential nods to video game culture from the NES & SNES era is a large tonal part of the comic. Even in that context, and as slightly amusing as I found the many nods, it did grate on my nerves once in a while.

    And now to segue into the frustration.

    The combat has a steep learning curve. Many actions will lock you into animations that can be difficult to get out of. Add to that the fact that blocking is almost worthless, and that most enemy attacks will force you to watch while you are beaten on by a combo. If that's not enough, once knocked down, you will spend several seconds lying there before your character stands back up. Finally, enemies will approach from all sides. Even if you somehow found the block button and held it before an enemy starts a combo, you have no protection from the back. Later on, you'll even be dodging full screen and incredibly fast ranged attacks and aerial enemies.

    The cure to this problem is two fold, and both involve grinding. As your character levels up, new moves will be presented to him/her. None of the early moves are overly useful, save maybe the dash attack or back attack, and really should have been opened up from the beginning. Much later on you will get an air recovery, and even a ground attack. Yep, not until over halfway through the game do you have the ability to attack enemies lying on the ground, except for rare moves like Scott Pilgrim's light dash attack (a slide kick). Having initially played the game with someone other that Scott, that was frustrating.

    The second cure is the stat system. Each character gets 4 stats that level through consuming items in stores, a la River City Ransom. Easily the most important of these is Speed, as it effect your attack speed, movement speed, and even your ability to recover from knockdown, which can leave you on the ground for up to 3 seconds at the beginning of the game. And you are slow at the beginning of the game. Movement, especially up and down, feels like a sluggish chore. Later on you get an up/down dash, but even then the up/down movement is poor without over a half-full Speed stat.

    Defense is also important, as when an enemy begins into you with a combo, you're often going to watch the whole thing play out. Defense lowers the damage numbers popping up over your head, as well as increases your resistance to being knocked down. Strength is great for killing when you get your hits in, and Willpower seems to be the dump stat by mostly acting as a second life meter. You can use Gut Points, a pseudo-magic meter, to do special moves, but they often feel weak, and will start to take your life when your GP runs out. If you run out of Heart Points, your life meter, you get to recover using your GP, which further reduces your desire to waste your GP on special moves, especially when you are likely to get hit so often during the game.

    Nearly half way to max level and full stats the game becomes much more playable. It can be a frustrating experience due to gameplay limitations and even bugs at that point, but it isn't nearly as annoying as the initial hours of playing the game.

    The game will also crash. Some areas will stop spawning enemies and force you to return to the Super Mario Bros. 3 themed world screen, and in particularly good timing, the game locked up my entire Xbox 360 during the most frustrating boss fight of the entire game. I didn't even know that was possible, and this is on a very late model, less-than-a-year old console.

    Speaking of the most frustrating boss in the game, you're going to want to look up how to defeat the 2nd to final boss. You can give a try or two without spoiling it for yourself, and you might even be able to pull it off, but there's going to be a lot of skill and even more luck involved. It is easily the cheapest, most frustrating boss battle I have experienced since the 90s. It's also a nod to Final Fantasy 6, which is bit odd in and of itself.

    If you love side-scrolling brawlers of yore, are a fan of the Scott Pilgrim comic books, or just enjoy really quality pixelated graphics and chip tune music, it's worth giving this game a try. Once you get past the grind, it can often be fun. Whether or not that fun is worth the frustration is up to you, but I would not play this game if you have no interest in the Scott Pilgrim world and/or video game culture from the early 90s. The gameplay is simply not strong enough to recommend this game on it's own.

    Other reviews for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game (Xbox 360 Games Store)

      Wait, what year is it? 0

      The developers of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game are obviously massive fans of retro beat-em-up’s and have created a extremely faithful clone of River City Ransom right down to the early 90’s cliches. As first impressions go Scott Pilgrim is fascinating due to it’s commitment to bringing an old school game to a new era, but Scott Pilgrim may adhere slightly too much to the retro game feel, ironically including many of the flaws that those Video Games it’s inspired by had. Scott Pilgrim vs...

      7 out of 7 found this review helpful.

      Good Game, but Show Stopping Bugs 0

      Scott Pilgrim vs the World is a classic brawler with a heavy emphasis on retro.  Within a the first 15 minutes it will remind you of River City Ransom (RCR.)  The comparisons are fair as it has a reminiscent art style and borrows some of RCR's features.  However, to simply call it a newer version of RCR is selling it short.  It controls well, has a great sound track, interesting levels, and is in general a whole lot of fun.  The big problem here is that Ubisoft clearly rushed the game out the do...

      1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

    This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

    Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

    Comment and Save

    Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.