Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game Review

If you grew up playing games in the late 80s and early 90s, you probably indulged in a little RPG-style beat-em-up called River City Ransom. The game had you beat up Japanese banchos as you traveled the city looking for your girlfriend, a common NES plot device. The game’s combination of RPG leveling mechanics and a pseudo open world made for a title that felt way ahead of its time.

Apparently the developers of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game felt the same way about Technos’ game and have adapted the cult comic that is also chock full of late-80s/early-90s videogame references into what is almost a carbon copy of River City Ransom, with a few references to other old-school games. The only thing missing is enemies declaring "BARF!" when they die.

This isn’t a bad thing. If anything, Scott Pilgrim shows that the RCR formula still holds up today and is at home even among modern games. However, Scott Pilgrim may adhere a little too much to the retro game feel, and makes a few missteps along the way as a result.

Scott Pilgrim 

If you aren’t familiar with the Scott Pilgrim comics, they tell the story of 23-year-old Scott Pilgrim, a lovable slacker who plays in the band Sex Bomb-Omb. After meeting the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers, he learns he must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends in order to be with her. The game follows this plot very closely, as you traverse seven lengthy stages fighting the exes until you reach numero uno, Gideon Graves.

The game doesn’t hide its River City Ransom roots, featuring all the same game mechanics, but with modern updates. There are shops containing stat-boosting items strewn about the seven levels, where you can spend the money earned from beating up the evil hipster enemies. As you fight, you’ll gain experience towards leveling up, which grants more moves and abilities to further deliver the pain. When you start, you have your light and heavy attacks and a block, but as you reach the level 16 cap, you’ll gain throws, block-breaking attacks, and devastating special moves.

The fighting mechanics in the game are well implemented and allow for numerous ground and air combos. Ubisoft has done a fine job making the enemies damageable in any state, at any time. For example, you can initiate a combo, launching the enemy into the air, then follow up with a few more hits before executing a ground and pound attack. There is no "safe state" for the enemies, so elaborate combos are ripe to be created. The only fault here is that combat can flow a bit slowly; "Scott Pilgim: Turbo" would be a great upgrade. 

Scott Pilgrim2 

While it may look and feel like an 8-bit game, Scott Pilgrim‘s art style and soundtrack are outstanding. Paul Robertson’s pixel art evokes the games we were playing back in the NES era and is animated beautifully. It’s a joy to see the game in motion. Coupled with composer Anamanaguchi’s chip tune score, which is a nerdgasm for the ears, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is aiming squarely for the 10-year-old gamer in your heart.

Unfortunately, the game adheres a little too much to its retro roots and a technical issues and odd decisions are numerous. The game stutters and slows down when there are a lot of enemies on screen (which happens frequently) and will even freeze while loading or fail to progress the level after a battle. There is also no online co-op, meaning you have to gather three friends to play locally. In this modern climate, I think this is a bad decision, leaving gamers who want to play with their friends either across the country or across town out of luck. It’s an oversight of what could be a simple addition in today’s gaming environment.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a great homage to beat-em-ups of old that plays well, but is hurt by a few technical issues and gameplay missteps. Amazing pixel art and a rocking chip tune soundtrack complete the package, but the omission of online co-op will sours the experience for those with modern gaming standards.

3 out of 5


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Matt Erazo View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.