Getting The Band Back Together
HIGH That soundtrack.
LOW Why is this game so damn hard?
WTF I don’t like the movie this game is based on. Sorry!
8-bit throwbacks were all the rage back in the Xbox 360 and PS3 era. It seemed like every indie tried to ape the style of NES platformers and side-scrolling brawlers, to varying degrees of success. None were more famous or loved than 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game.
Based on the eponymous comic series and tying into Edgar Wright’s film adaptation, this side-scrolling beat-’em-up was met with praise from fans and critics alike. Unfortunately, like most licensed, digital-only games, it was delisted in 2014.
With its cult-like status only growing in the decade since release, Ubisoft has now re-released it with the subtitle The Complete Edition. As in the original, the game details main character Scott Pilgrim meeting love interest Ramona Flowers and his journey to defeat her seven evil exes. Players control different characters from the movie and comic, with up to four players being able to play locally or online.
Paying homage to the likes of classic beat-’em-ups like River City Ransom or Double Dragon, Scott Pilgrim’s combat is fast and fluid. Each of the seven playable characters has their own skills, movesets and upgrade path allowing them to unlock new and devastating combos to unleash on the waves of enemies on the streets of Toronto. Players can also pick up objects around them to use as weapons like trash cans, umbrellas, and baseball bats. Money dropped from enemies can be spent at stores for health items and status buffs.
I genuinely enjoyed the combat, though I found the difficulty unfair at times, reminiscent of the kind seen in oldschool brawlers. Enemies are ruthless and Scott Pilgrim‘s reliance on grinding EXP for upgrades sucked a out a lot of the enjoyment from gameplay.
Also miserable is the fact that the player has a limited number of lives (which can be increased after paying a ridiculous amount of in-game money) and gets booted back to the beginning of a level. Failures got really annoying, especially during boss fights. Thankfully, stats and money are left untouched after death, so it’s not too painful. That said, I wish there was a more accessible mode for players who just want to breeze through this colorful, retro-inspired game.
On the plus side, the art is gorgeous and Anamanaguchi’s score is still kickass even after ten years. I loved how each character moved on screen, and each one felt distinct from another. Also, those who love references to other games will definitely get a lot out of this one — the map screen looks a lot like Super Mario Bros. 3 and the bonus stages look an awful lot like Rainbow Road from Mario Kart, for example. It definitely feels like the ultimate love letter to a specific era of gaming.
Overall, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition is a difficult, grindy play that ends up being ultimately enjoyable thanks to its combat and style. Fans of the source material have no doubt already bought it and are enjoying the hell out of it, and anyone else who enjoys a good old-fashioned brawler with plenty of style should check it out as well.
Disclosures: This game is published by Ubisoft and developed by Engine Software. It is currently available on PS4, XBO, Switch, PC and Stadia. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 5 hours of play were devoted to the singleplayer mode, and the game was not completed. About an hour was spent in co-op and a few hours were spent on the game’s original PS3 release.
Parents: According to the ESRB this game is rated T for Cartoon Violence, Language, Mild Blood, Partial Nudity. The official description reads as follows: This is an action game in which players assume the role of a boy (Scott Pilgrim) pursuing a delivery-girl love interest while defeating creatures along the way. Players traverse side-scrolling city environments and beat up several stubby enemies (e.g., humans, robots, zombies). Players also use cartoony baseball bats, hockey sticks, spare tires, and swords to whack at enemies. Zombies are depicted with their brains exposed and with small splotches of blood. Some female characters wear revealing outfits, and their breasts jiggle slightly when they move. One sequence depicts a character’s exposed buttocks in the background. A handful of scenes depict characters sticking out their middle finger (i.e., “flipping the bird”)
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All the dialogue here is subtitled, with various visual cues alerting players of danger. While none of these things can be altered or resized, the game is still fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Yes the game’s controls are remappable.