Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game Review

Posted on September 15, 2010 by


So, we’ve seen the movie, read the comics, and now there’s a game to go with them. And for once, the video game/movie rule (wherein any adaptation of one to the other is so awful as to make you haemorrhage violently in self-defense) does not apply. In fact, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The game, is one of the best video game adaptations i’ve ever played. Seriously.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The game (herein abbreviated as SP) manages to avoid the traditional pitfalls of the hideous game/movie conglomeration by going retro. An old style side-scrolling 4 player beat-em-up, rendered in 8-Bit, this is a serious blast of arcade nostalgia to older gamers, a love letter to years spent in dim alcoves standing before the warming glow of the machine, shovelling in coinage that your mother gave you to do the laundry with. To younger gamers, it’s an interesting diversion from the mucky, grim brownness of modern video games, a bright, simple, energetic and epileptic affair.

I can’t say enough about how much I love the style of the game, so much so that i’m including a video for you to watch, which is a serious rarity for me. Enjoy.

The controls are simple to learn, and difficult to master. While you can just hammer the attack buttons until foes drop to the floor and explode into small change, there is a greater level of depth to combat, which makes for seriously rewarding gameplay for the hardcore gamer. Strategy- You face many different kinds of enemy, all with different strengths and weaknesses, working out how to deal with them, both alone, and as part of a group, is vital to large group encounters. Weapons- The levels are littered with items, bottles, baseball bats, trash cans etc, that can be picked up and used as bashing weapons and throwing weapons. Choosing when to use them and when to use your fists and feet can make all the difference in a fight. Combos- There is more to combat than just hammering the punch/kick buttons, with the ability as you level up to draw out longer and more epic combo attacks on foes, not to mention countering, where you can return any attack two-fold with a well-timed button press, which is deceptively difficult to do, or special attacks, such as summoning Knives Chau to stun foes with the awesome power of her love for Scott.

The game allows you to move from level to level via a Super Mario World style world map, and the world is filled with references to to the comic, because this is, like the movie, an adaptation of the comics themselves (as opposed to an adaptation of the movie which is an adaptation of the comics), and so is brimming over with characters, set-pieces and jokes from the comics, as well as looking as if the characters had just jumped out the page (and in beautiful colour too, my one complaint about the comics being that it could be hard to tell which character was which in black and white due to the simple art style). Within levels, you can also take Subspace Highway shortcuts, to earn massive bonuses, and all that change you pick up from your fallen foes doesn’t go to waste either, in and out of levels there are various shops players can enter to buy stuff to improve their character and gain explosive new moves.

Now, i’m not saying this game is perfect. In fact, I have two pretty serious complaints to levy against it. Namely, the total lack of online play. I know retro games didn’t have online gameplay that forced kids to associate with actual human beings, but this is the 21st century, and multiplayer gameplay has been firmly grounded in the online realms for over ten years. Yes, it’s fun to play with friends, epic even, I acknowledge that something is lost from the multiplayer gaming experience as a result of online play, but even so, it’s lack of inclusion in a game that can only be acquired from the Xbox live arcade or the Playstation Network is a rather damning failure on the part of the developers. The other complaint is also multiplayer related- the inability for other players to pick up controllers and just jump in, something you’ve been able to do with arcade games for decades.

Other than these two problems, this is an excellent game, with tight controls, a great look, and always a welcome inclusion to games sold exclusively via the consoles online stores, the ability to download a free trial first to see if it’s your sort of thing. Which it is. The game is clearly intended to be played with friends, as it can seem a little impossible playing alone, though. Totally recommended.

Posted in: Games