Game Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game
Release: August 10th, 2010 (PS3), August 25th, 2010 (Xbox 360)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Studios
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is based on the graphic novel series of the same name, written by Bryan Lee O’Malley. It focuses on the titular character of Scott Pilgrim, a 23-year-old slacker who discovers the girl of his dreams, one Ramona Flowers. Like all great love stories, there are just a few small obstacles standing between Scott and Ramona — namely, her seven evil exes. In order for the two lovers to be together, Scott must battle his way through random thugs and, ultimately, the the seven evil exes; for the first time ever, Scott must fight for something that he wants.
Like many of the old school brawlers — games such as Double Dragon, Final Fight, and River City Ransom — the goal is to make it from one end of the level to the other, fighter a horde of bothersome baddies along the way. Predicatably, each of the seven stages culminates in a boss fight, bring Scott and Ramona one step closer to happiness.
Punching and kicking are your primary means of attack, but there are also objects — things like baseball bats, trash cans, basketballs, even the enemies themselves — that can be utilized to give players the advantage. Fallen enemies drop coins (of Canadian denominations, mind you) that can be used to acquire food (for more health) and other beneficial items (primarily, stat boosters). That’s right, Scott Pilgrim may primarily be a brawler, but there are also elements of the RPG; characters will level up and, consequently, become more powerful.
It has to be said: Scott Pilgrim isn’t much for originality. Before you even begin your first stage, you can see Pilgrim‘s influences. The world map is very reminiscent of Super Mario World. On top of that, as mentioned up above, the fighting is aped from Final Fight, and the leveling system pays homage to, well, any of the old school RPGs. But that’s why it’s so great; it looks like an old 16-bit, SNES-era game, and it plays like one, too. Scott Pilgrim takes its story and, instead of setting it in a modern game, reverts back to what once was. It knows what it is and it makes no apologies for that.
As much fun as I had with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, there were a few issues. A couple of times, in the middle of a level — usually when I would enter a shop — the game would glitch, lock up. Like the flip of a coin, there was a 50/50 chance that the game would correct itself after a few seconds. Otherwise, I would have to reset everything and, more than likely, lose the little bit of progress I had accrued since starting that level. Ironically, these issues, although not intentional, also tweaked my nostaligia bone — how many time, for those of you old enough to remember — did your NES lock up on you in the middle of a gaming session? Don’t get me wrong, I still would have liked a game that worked 100% of the time, but I think my disappointment was mitigated by an unintentional bout of nostaligia.
Much like the graphic novels and film, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game references a different time. If you grew up in the late 80’s or early 90’s, Scott Pilgrim may scratch an itch long forgotten. It’s not a perfect game, but that’s part of the charm. It plays to a specific audience, and it embraces that fact. If you like Final Fight and Super Mario World and RPG leveling mechanics, then please, please, please, drop $10 and download Scott Pilgrim. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Oh, and as a side note, go see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in theaters. It is, quite frankly, my favorite film this year and, disappointly, not many people have gone to see it. Gamers: there are so many references aimed directly at you…this film is almost a love letter to the NES, SNES, and Genesis generation(s).