Thursday, August 19, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game (2010, Ubisoft, PS3)

As my very few readers probably know, I am a major retro gaming enthusiast. I have been since I was 5 years old, playing Sonic The Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros. 3. As a Retro gamer, I look for obscure hits such as Clash at Demonhead and River City Ransom. Looking around the Playstation Store a few days back, I seen a new downloadable title called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. Hearing from multiple game sites of it's retro appeal (and seeing the movie, which is my new favorite) I decided to try the demo. I had trouble with my internet a few days ago, and could not download it, but now I have downloaded it and tried it. And I have to say I was very surprised at what I seen. Very, very surprised.

I was skeptical at first. I mean, I know as well as any gamer, that licensed games tend to totally suck. Games such as Bebe's Kids, No Escape, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park just prove this point. But I decided to try it to play it because I love the Scott Pilgrim Universe (became a recent fan after I seen the film) and I absolutely love it.

The reason I like Scott Pilgrim so much is because it seems like something I would dream up in my head. Hell, The main character, Scott, kind of reminds me of myself. I could envision myself as this character. And I have the same mentality with the game: If I were to make a video game, this is exactly how it would be.

Scott Pilgrim is a very retro-styled video game. The visual style is kinda like a Neo-Geo game, play Metal Slug and you'll know what I mean. The game is like the beat em' ups that were housed in the arcades in the late 80's and early 90's with a few RPG elements similar to another beat em' up, Castle Crashers.
It has support for 4 players, which I have not tried yet (I only have one controller). The presentation to Scott Pilgrim is top-notch, with a 90's arcade-style intro, lots of classic retro game references, and a amazing soundtrack (more on that later).

The gameplay is a adaption of the graphic novels, you can play as Scott, Ramona, Stills, and Kim. The action is similar to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Uber-chaotic action with friends which you can't tell what's going on. You and your friends take on a army of evil ruffians trying to reach the bosses of the game, the Evil Exes.
You can just button-mash through the whole game like a early 90's beat em' up like Streets of Rage, or you can level up and gain access to Street Fighter-like moves. As you fight, you gain experience points much like a RPG. Gaining levels expands your Life and "Gut" points (The former being your special power) and you can also visit shops and purchase food, rock albums, and books using money you gain by thrashing goons ala River City Ransom.

Mentioning River City Ransom, this game has a lot of references to classic games. Such as the Super Mario Bros. 2-like character select screen, to the Triforce on the Recycle bins you can use as weapons. Whoever designed this game sure wanted to invoke a lot of nostalgic feelings.

The music is phenomenal. It's performed by Anamanaguchi, a band specializing in chiptune music, and they did a tremendous job with their work with this game. It's a fusion between NES-style music and punk rock, and it sounds amazing. If the charming graphics or the adrenaline-rush gameplay doesn't keep you playing, the music certainly will. I'm seriously not joking when I say it's probably my new favorite video game soundtrack.

It's not perfect, of course. The biggest issue is the lack of an online feature. You can only play the game locally, meaning you're gonna need to get some controllers........and some friends. It's not a big issue, the game's probably more fun with friends on the couch anyway. The enemies are a tad cheap at times, being able to hit you in situations where you cannot avoid taking damage. This doesn't happen too often, so I guess it's tolerable. The game is not easy, even on "Average Joe" (easy) mode. This is probably because the game is designed for multiple players. If you go at Scott Pilgrim solo, prepare to grind some levels, you're gonna need 'em.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a retro gamer's dream. Classic brawler gameplay, amazing chiptune/punk rock soundtrack by Anamamaguchi, video game references abound, and a cheap price tag (10 bucks) make Scott Pilgrim a winner. I can't recommend this gem enough.

+ Classic stress-relieving brawler action.
+ Charming 16-Bit visual style.
+ One of the best soundtracks in a Video Game.
+ 4-Player support.
+ On the cheap.

- No online play
- Occasionally cheap enemies.
- Hard difficulty on Solo play.

?: Why didn't this game come out in 1993?

Overall: ***9 out of 10***

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