Fans of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim anthology were rewarded back in 2010 with a video game adaptation of the beloved series. Developed by Ubisoft and released that summer for Playstation Network ($9.99) and Xbox Live Arcade(400 Microsoft Points), Scott Pilgrim Vs The World brought side scrolling arcade CO-OP action back to consoles. Right from the get go, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World kicks into high gear. With a pulse pounding soundtrack by indie rock chiptunes band Anamanaguchi, and retro graphics brought to life by pixel artist Paul Robertston, Scott Pilgrim brings the best of weekend gaming to bear encouraging players to ditch the online, gather some friends, and sit down for some old fashioned fun.
Whether or not you were around for the heyday of side scrolling action titles like the Ninja Turtles series for Nintendo and Sega Genesis, Scott Pilgrim brings a unique spin to the genre that anyone can appreciate. Lots of the titles strengths lie in its visual style, which transports you to a pixilated Toronto, Canada and has you do battle with the seven evil ex boyfriends of Scott’s dream girl Ramona. It is chock full of references to great older titles, which while subtle in some cases, help this game feel like a loving homage to the early days of gaming. From the snow blown landscape of Dundas Street, to movie sets at Toronto’s Castle Loma, and even the tops of Toronto Transit Streetcars, each stage sends you and your band of friends against comical hordes of hipsters, photographers, bouncers, and all other manner of interesting fodder as you beat, throw, hammer, slice and dice your way to Ramona Flowers heart.
Lending itself to the experience is a great soundtrack by Anamanaguchi (which you can pick up over on Itunes). The group brings unique and fast paced music to each stage which will keep you immersed in the experience and on the edge of your seat.
The game also has a great RPG leveling element to it which adds to the overall depth of the experience. You gain levels as you traverse stages, and collect Canadian Currency to purchase health items and stat upgrades along the way. This allows you to build your character in a unique fashion with each play through. As you level you unlock variety of attacks, which allow you to chain together some pretty vicious combos on unsuspecting villains.
The greatest strength of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is its multiplayer. Gathering up 3 friends and sitting down for an afternoon of local CO-OP fun is an experience many of us don’t often get to take part in these days, with the proliferation of online gaming. The thrill of completing a game together, cooperatively with friends in the same room is one of the greatest and now forgotten joys older games brought us. In this way Scott Pilgrim is a glimpse of the past for those who never had the experience, and brings an awesome feeling of nostalgia for those of us who did. The game feels richer when played together.
Despite a promise for online multiplayer DLC this summer, Ubisoft has delayed the release of its latest content patch. This is bad news for gamers who have a hard time recruiting friends to the cause. The single player experience in this game is a lonesome one, and with its reliance on multiplayer gaming for the majority of its fun, Scott Pilgrim doesn’t stand up well during solo runs.
Some of the easier to overlook issues become more glaring when sat down on your own to mash your way through the games stages. Controls can be clunky at times, and enemies can be difficult to line up for attacks. These flaws of course come with the 2D territory, but can be annoying none the less.
The game feels like a bit of a grind at times, especially on higher difficulty settings, due to the RPG nature of the game. Lower stats unfortunately translate into a more difficult play experience, which means you’ll be seeing lots of the older stages once you’ve completed them.
If you’ve got the time, and some friends, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World delivers a well rounded sidescrolling experience that compliments the original source material, but stands separate enough to offer an interesting and unique take on the Scott Pilgrim mythos. The visual style and punchy soundtrack, coupled with an amazing multiplayer experience and great RPG elements pack something for all gamers. Overall it is a great addition to the adventure genre, and will get players excited about spending an afternoon with friends playing video games.
Http://www.Ubisoft.com (scott pilgrim site for release dates)
XBL Arcade (Cost)
http://www.polygon.com/gaming/2012/8/21/3257346/scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world-multiplayer-dlc-delayed-until-fall (regarding the delay of the multiplayer DLC release)