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Monday, November 8, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game

Well, in accordance with the release of the movie, I figured that I would delve into the Video Game adaptation of the popular Scott Pilgrim comic series. With it's nostalgic style and gameplay, this game looks to not only appeal to the older gamers who grew up with this style, but also deliver a taste of the older style of games to a whole new generation of gamers. With an established storyline in the comics, the art direction of Paul Robertson, and a killer soundtrack from Anamanaguchi, can this game live up to the hype? Well, grab your coat, gather up your guitar, and remember to bring your Loonies as we delve into Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game!

Title: Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft
Genre: Beat ‘em Up
Rating: T
Systems: PS3, 360

Ever since the first announcement was made that there would be a game being created about the Indie comic series Scott Pilgrim, there was a major storm of hype leading up to the release. The hype continued to grow after the release of each detail about the game as well. The story was going to be that of Scott Pilgrim, the art style was going to be directed by Paul Robertson (of Pirate Baby Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006 fame), and with a soundtrack by the chip tune group Anamanaguchi, the anticipation of this game was at a high.

The story of the game itself is based upon the Scott Pilgrim series of comics, which depict the trials and growth of the 24-year old Scott Pilgrim as he attempts to defeat the 7 Evil Exes of Ramona Flowers, a ninja delivery girl who he has fallen for. The game takes place in Toronto, Canada, and the player must make their way through numerous numbered stages with multiple parts in each. Each stage pits the player against numerous mooks and special enemies, and the player must fight their way through the hordes to reach the end of the stage and then face off against one of the Evil Ex’s. Each Ex has their own unique fighting style and nuances, so while the purpose is to beat them down, the player must adapt to each fight in order to survive. Each boss comes complete with an ample amount of HP, and some pretty painful attacks, so there is a decent amount of challenge present. As with the comics, the game also comes with an ample amount of gaming humor and references.

The game style is that of an old Double Dragon style beat ‘em up with a number of additional functions available. The player chooses one of the four main characters of the series; Scott, Ramona, Stills, and Kim. Each character also comes with their own style of moves, stats, and money. Throughout the course of the game, killing enemies gives that specific character experience points. The enemies also drop a sum of money upon defeat. The money is used in a variety of item shops found throughout the stages of the game itself, ad the player can purchase many things ranging from permanent stat boosts for the character, as well as restoration items that either give an instant heal, or a heal upon defeat. With each level up, the character gains access to a new move to use, eventually leading up to a special move unique to the character itself. So, the game gradually becomes easier the more one plays due to the purchasable stat boosts, and the each character is unique in terms of the individual stats.

The main feeling that the entire game brings about is a tidal wave of nostalgia. The graphics are all done in the style of a 16-bit game, while the music is all chip tune, reminiscent of the 8- and 16-bit games from the 80s and 90s. The characters themselves are all sprite-based and fit in quite well with the detailed stages throughout the game. Combine that with some over-the-top 16-bit effects, and we have a game that has the potential to bring a tear to the eye of gamers that grew up with this style.

Scott Pilgrim: The Game is also a throwback to the older gaming styles as while it allows for simultaneous multiplayer for up to four players, but lacks any form of online multiplayer. As such, this requires all the players to be in the room at the same time in order to get the full fun of multiplayer. Other than that, while the game is rather fun playing alone, this game definitely shines when there are more players involved. The game is essentially pick up and play, though being that each character has separate stats, a player using an unused character may find themselves in for a painful experience just because they lack the power to bring enemies down quickly. So, this could require some work by the owner of the game in order to level up all of the characters to the max level of 16.

Overall, the game itself is a very fun throwback to the games of old in terms of the style and music. The storyline is simple, but it follows along with the comic storyline and portrays it well enough. The graphics are incredibly nostalgic and for fans of Paul Robertson’s work, there is little disappointment found here. The music also brings back a ton of nostalgia thanks to the chip tune soundtrack by Anamanaguchi. So, in conclusion, Scott Pilgrim: The Game definitely can bring about a lot of fun to both fans of the series, and those who are looking for a competent, nostalgic, inexpensive game.


Now let’s get into some numbers.

Storyline: 8.5/10 – While the storyline itself is very straightforward in terms of the main plot, those who have not read the comic series, or even seen the movie, may feel a tad lost in terms of why the events in the game happen the way they do. There is pretty much no dialogue at all, and there are really no details or hints given aside from the overall premise. The intro video does show a graphical representation of the overarching plot, whereas Scott loves Ramona and must defeat the 7 Evil Exes to date her, but there is no detail given as to the character detail and development that the comic portrayed in full detail. Overall though, it has a simple plot, and runs through it well enough.

Graphics: 8.5/10 – With games out now that depict computer generated awe like Final Fantasy XIII, Scott Pilgrim is a major throwback to the games of yesteryear. While it doesn’t immerse the player in fantastic CG, or even N64-esque 3D, what it does deliver is some very well done sprite-based characters, detailed (well, 16-bit detailed) settings, almost no lag, and an extremely cartoony atmosphere. For those who grew up with this style of games, it absolutely nails a nostalgic chord. So, while it’s not a gorgeous opus of graphical superiority, it sets a pinnacle for 16-bit styles utilizing the technology of today.

Controls & Gameplay: 9/10 – The controls are simple enough for the purpose at hand; attack, block, and defeat your enemies. It’s a beat ‘em up game and each character has a similar base set of attacks. You have the quick, weak attacks, the slow but powerful attacks, air attacks, ground attacks, and special moves. While there is the occasional issue in regards to the plane level for attacks, the controls and gameplay are pretty solid.

Music and Sounds: 9.5/10 – While it is not a symphonic masterpiece, the soundtrack is extremely well done. The chip tunes of Anamanaguchi completely enhance the gameplay itself as it helps set the atmosphere of each stage, and honestly, when one is farming money for stat boosts, the music helps make the grind worth it. The sound effects are also done well enough, as each event comes complete with the appropriate sound. So, music- and sound-wise, the game definitely delivers, and shows that with enough effort, a game doesn’t need to have a full orchestra to deliver a great soundtrack.

Replayability & Fun: 8.5/10 – In single player, the game is still very enjoyable, though at the max level with max stats, the game may feel a tad bland, but with a group of people in the same room, with similarly-leveled characters, Scott Pilgrim completely delivers in terms of fun. The beat ‘em up style promises to bring about some good enjoyment of just knocking around crowds of enemies, and for fans of the comic series the game definitely proves to be worthy of the name itself. Unfortunately, as stated, without a group of people to play with, and no online functionality, the game can be limited in enjoyment once all the characters are all maxed out.

Overall: 44/50 = 88/100 = 8.8/10 = B+
Recommendation: For the low price it has, the game is worth picking up. For fans of the series, it definitely delivers in terms of references and enjoyment as now you can deliver the beatings to the Evil Exes. For fans of beat ‘em ups, and just nostalgia fans in general, the game also does not disappoint as it brings back a massive tidal wave of nostalgia in terms of style, while delivering a very competent beat ‘em up game. The graphics are done well, the soundtrack is awesome, and the game is worth it not only for fans of the series, but anyone who enjoys a good beat ‘em up.

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