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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Video Game

A video game based on the movie and graphic novel

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An Epic Game of Epic Epicness

  • Aug 31, 2010
In the world of gaming, a video game coming out shortly after a movie is usually one of the seven signs of the apocalypse.  They're often terrible.  They've loaded with bugs, for one thing, and they're always rushed out the door to meet the release date of the film.  Let's be honest for a second... who DIDN'T think Scott Pilgrim would get a video game?  The moment the movie begins and you here that Legend of Zelda tune, it should've been obvious you'd get a game at one point.  On the other hand, who thought it would be a downloadable game o the Playstation 3 and 360?  Probably very few of us saw THAT one coming.  And yet it's probably the best decision for ANY video game based off of a movie. 

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Video Game is the perfect tribute to the movie, the graphic novel and video games in general.  It's one of the most well crafted old school beat 'em ups I've ever seen.  Part of that comes from the fact that video games and gamers are so concerned with video games moving forward that they forget that sometimes the overuse of technology is bad for the medium.  Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game knows exactly what it is.  The graphic novel and film were all about old school gaming... why wouldn't the game take a page from the same playbook?  If Scott Pilgrim was anything BUT Nostalgic the end result would've been terrible.  Period.  Those who say otherwise are completely missing the point of the movie or the graphic novel.

Which is why what works about Scott Pilgrim is it's arcade like style.  Which makes it the perfect downloadable title.  It's cheap, costing you only a small ten dollars and for those who began their gaming in the era of the NES or SNES... it's the perfect nostalgia trip and one you SHOULD take if you were a fan of game like Double Dragon, Final Fight and those Arcade styled Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtles games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.  The game is a lot like those, with other little snippets of video game references thrown in.  There are seven levels, the world map you travel on is reminiscent of Super Mario World.  Except for the fact that it's a completely linear experience.  One that requires you to take things one level at a time.  But that's how it should be.  Those who are in on the reference and the joke will understand that.

So, of course, Scott Pilgrim is pretty basic at what it does.  It's a beat 'em up game.  You and up to three friends can start a game and play as the different members f Sex Bob-Omb.  Either as Scott, Kim, Steve Stills or Ramona Flowers.  Each have the same basic beat 'em up moves.  Basic button mashing punches.  There are weak attacks you can wail on people with, and then there is a more powerful attack which breaks the block an enemy has.  It's not all about this.  There are other elements to spice things up.  Scattered throughout levels you'll also find items on the ground that you can pick up and start hitting enemies with or throw at them.  You can also knock weapons out of your enemies hands and take them as well. 

Stages progress with you having to kill everything you can to get to each evil ex at the end.  There are other little elements thrown in that make it more than your basic beat 'em up.  Your characters level up much like they would in an RPG.  Each time you defeat enemies you gain experience points, and collect money from them.  Each time you level up you learn a new fighting move.  You'll start off with basic punches but soon you'll be able to execute slides, rushes and even Samus's screw attack (I'm NOT joking Metroid fans).  And the money?  You can spend at various shops to buy yourself stuff like extra lives and different kinds of foods or other items to increase your stats.  Every character has four stats to increase.  There's strength and defense but there's also Will Power and Speed.  Will Power being what increases the effectiveness of your special ability.  Each character has two unique special abilities.  One that's for support and another that's a spin technique.

There isn't a lot of variety, but just the same, the game isn't that long.  There are only seven levels, and because of the beat 'em up appeal it's pretty straightforward.  This is why it's merely a downloadable release and not a full game.  But it's fun and quite addictive if only because the game has a lot of unique charm.  The art style is reminiscent of old 8-bit style games as well as the graphic novel.  It's colorful and it's easy on the eyes.  But even better is the music.  The tunes are immensely catchy.  Especially the theme in the first stage.  Just about everything about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World rings of nostalgia... and nothing rings of nostalgia better than the music and the sound effects.  There are other nostalgic qualities such as when you venture onto a subspace highway and you see little "glitches" that look like what you might've seen on an NES game, or how some of your enemies look pixilated or how the bosses glow the closer they get to death.  Little bits like that show just how creative the game really is and how devoted the developers were to getting at the very core of what Scott Pilgrim is all about--a guy who lives the life of a video game.  And there are references to other games EVERYWHERE.  In every level. 

It's also a challenge.  It takes a page from the play book of all Arcade Beat 'Em Ups there.  It's a hard game.  You'll find that some of the bosses especially can drop you with ease if your stats are terrible.  To compensate and make sure you're not losing lives left and right the game has little handicaps built in to help.  In the first place, you may find that your characters get the strength to go on and even after their HP reaches zero they'll recover a small amount.  Just the same, if an ally goes down and you're doing multiplayer, you have a chance to revive him or her before they lose a life.  It's pretty cool stuff.  Scott Pilgrim is easy to pick up and play, it's just difficult to master.

Scott Pilgrim does what it does well.  It's a cheap game for some ragtag fun.  If there was anything about Scott Pilgrim that was worth complaining about, it's the unlockables are rather subpar.  There's a zombie survival mode and there unlockable characters, but not much else.  You may have fun playing through the game again and again, but there are times when Scott Pilgrim will remind you just why they don't make Beat 'Em Up Titles anymore.  Scott Pilgrim has charm.  That's why it works out so well and because it's competently designed.  It knows what it's doing.  But it's hard to admit that there may not always be incentive to come back and play it once you're done.  It has replay value, sure... just little reward.  The game can get away with that... and since it's cheap I don't think many gamers will mind.  It's certainly more fun with friends, however, than by yourself.  If you can get some buddies together then you'll have a blast (in some cases, by fighting with each other... there's optional friendly fire). 

Usually when a game based on a movie comes out there's little reason to invest in it.  They're often terrible because they've been rushed through development.  Scott Pilgrim is a different story.  For fans of the graphic novel, especially this is required gaming.  There's craftsmanship here, the kind you haven't seen in a while.  Fans of old school gaming are sure to appreciate it.  It's also just fun.  Perhaps one of the most fun beat 'em up experiences you could have.

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September 11, 2010
whoa. This sounds like fun! You the man, Sean!
September 02, 2010
Great review, Sean! I'm not sure if this is a game that I will ever play, but I appreciated the descriptions about it.
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #1
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game is a side-scrolling beat 'em up game based on the comic book series Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley, and tying in with the release of the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It is published by Ubisoft and developed by Ubisoft Montreal with Ubisoft Chengdu. The game was first announced at Comic Con 2009 in July 2009. It was released on PlayStation Network on August 10, 2010, and on Xbox Live Arcade on August 25, 2010.

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