Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Chengdu, Ubisoft Pune
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment SA
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Beat-em-up, Side Scroller
Platform: Playstation 4
Age Rating: PEGI 4
Release Date: 14/01/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Chapter 1 – How It All Begins (Introduction)
Roorai – Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition finally brings the iconic arcade brawler back – and in the process, manages to once again lay the framework for the genre whilst boasting a unique and unforgettable presentation. The Complete Edition of this critically acclaimed tie-in to the Scott Pilgrim books and movie also includes additional features and content originally sold as additions or DLC for the original long-lost title – including new playable characters and modes. It’s no surprise that after all these years of being renowned as the pinnacle of ‘lost media’ that Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition is the definitive way to experience the beat-em-up legend inspired by the cult classic franchise.
Pete – Scott Pilgrim, as stated in the paragraph above, is a very famous example of digital-only games being removed from digital distribution platforms due to licensing issues, like Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Marvel vs Capcom: Origins. With the rights being split between multiple parties including Universal Pictures (the film distributors), Edgar Wright (the film’s director), Bryan Lee O’Malley (the original creator), Ubisoft (the game’s publisher), and Anamanaguchi (the game’s soundtrack artists), it was always going to be very complicated to get the game back on store shelves. But thankfully the video game gods were smiling on us for the 10th-anniversary re-release of the movie on Blu-Ray when Ubisoft dropped the bomb in September 2020 at a Ubisoft Forward digital event. But does this re-release of a 10+year-old game still hold up to today’s market as it did back in 2010? Find out after the “beatdown”.
Chapter 2 – What Makes You Turn the Pages (Story)
Pete – Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a fairly simplistic story to follow. Playing as the title character (or any one of his companions that you have the ability to play as, which in the grand scheme of story purposes makes no sense), you make your way through various different locations in Toronto Canada, picking fights with meaningless grunts, until you find yourself in a battle with one of Ramona Flower’s “Evil Ex-Boyfriends”, as the game eludes to in the opening cinematic of the game. Each stage has you finish with a boss fight against each of these ex’s, powering up as you go, to face the ultimate evil in the final stage.
The stories in scrolling beat em ups are never usually much to write home about, and Scott Pilgrim vs The World is absolutely no different. Based on the fact that this game is supposed to pay homage to games in the series from years gone by, it makes sense why they would keep the story as simplistic as possible.
Whilst the story mirrors that of the graphic novel, and then by extension the movie too, there is a lot that was shown within both of these mediums that are most likely relegated to either a character doing various actions in the background or a dialogue-free moment that happens before a boss fight. With there being no voice acting in the game, it does make story events difficult to follow for newcomers. But if you are familiar with the source material, then you are very likely to find yourself chuckling at the little nods they have made here.
Chapter 3 – How Does It Feel? (Gameplay)
Pete – The gameplay in Scott Pilgrim vs The World is essentially exactly what you would expect from a side-scrolling beat ‘em up from yesteryear. The controls are very simple, with there being a Strong attack, a Special Attack, Jump, and Block mapped to the face buttons, and a Super Attack button mapped to R1 and a “Call Strikers” button mapped to L1 on whatever controller you are using. There isn’t much else to say about the controls as they are the very essence of pick-up and play.
You start out with a weak normal attack and a slightly more powerful Special Attack, which means you will tend to struggle with very early enemies in the game. But you notice as you defeat more enemies in your wake, you start to unlock new moves and abilities that not only increase your damage slightly with each level upgrade but gives you more specific moves for certain situations. For example, some of the early abilities you get include grabs, which has 2 different versions, with one being just a simple throw, and the other leading to more damage as you start to pummel the opponent with a flurry of hits.
On top of the unlockable moves, you also have stat points, which are very synonymous with many games now which have RPG lite mechanics. As you progress through the game and upgrade your skills, you may gain additional points on your stats, which are Strength, Speed, and Defence, which are quite self-explanatory. However, there is one more upgradable stat, which is Willpower. Willpower in Scott Pilgrim is the additional meter seen below your health points. Whenever you upgrade your Willpower, you gain more points to use on Super Moves, calling “strikers”, which are basically assists if you’ve played a versus fighting game like Marvel vs Capcom or Dragonball Fighters Z. These moves will deplete your willpower gauge, so you are best to use these sparingly. Willpower will also give you some life back once you fall below 0HP. Once again like a fighting game like Street Fighter that involves a lot of meter management, it requires you to think about what’s ahead and how you want to use those Willpower points.
Roorai – The combat really is the focus of the game, and boy, does the game do it well. One thing that I noticed with Scott Pilgrim compared to other retro-styled beat-em-ups was the sheer precision, fluidity, and detail within the combat. Whilst you of course have your standard range of attacks, each character can utilise this move set as well as incorporating the environment and items into strings of combos that can help as the difficulty of each stage gets progressively higher – for example, if you’re being chased by sword-wielding maniac ninjas, throw turnips plucked from the ground to space yourself and get out of danger’s way.
Not only does Scott Pilgrim masterfully include core mechanics from side-scrolling beat-em-ups, but the game also dabbles with roleplaying elements that tie progression into your gameplay in an intriguing and charming way. Enemies and other environmental items will drop Canadian currency which can be used to buy food and other upgrades that increase each character’s unique stat spread from strength to speed of attacks. Additionally, each character has their own levels which once reached, unlock new powers and moves to use throughout the fight. These can range from simple dash attack upgrades to whole new moves that can set up and continue combos.
Chapter 4 – Do I Look Presentable For My Date with Ramona? (Graphics)
Roorai – It’s no secret that the Scott Pilgrim books and movie’s graphical style is unique and unmatched. Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition hosts some of the most beautiful, vibrant, and charming retro pixel-art graphics I have ever seen. Each level stands out in visual communication and feels like a complete wonder to explore. Character and background animations are fluid and not at all jarring. Each punch, kick or grab feels perfectly executed and the feel of the game, whilst taking some time to get used to, is extremely fast-paced and frenetic yet easy to understand at a base level – so much so that I could easily get my friends and family who aren’t familiar with games or Scott Pilgrim to play through and enjoy the game with me.
Pete – The original graphic novel had an art style that was quite unique, but O’Malley has stated that there is a lot of video game inspiration throughout. So making an art style for the game that was inspired by the SNES/Mega Drive generation was an absolute must.
The art style, unfortunately, has kind of been played to death at this point, with far too many indie games relying heavily on nostalgic graphic filters to try and evoke a reaction. However, the big difference between the majority of indie games with this art style is that Scott Pilgrim differs by having it as a proper aesthetic choice, with each frame of animation lovingly created in this particular style. The game absolutely popped back on Xbox 360 back in 2010.
However, it appears that this is merely just a slight visual upgrade from the original version. Whilst it would have been nice for a bit more of a graphical upscale, to say that the art style is dated would be doing the game a disservice.
Chapter 5 – I Want To Re-live This Moment Forever (Replayability)
Roorai – The game’s replayability, whilst lacking in sheer variety, is present. You can go through the game with all the playable characters and aim to level them up and build their stats to your liking. There are also a couple of unlockables present, notably an extra character and a bunch of neat modifiers and secrets unlockable via good old classic cheat codes. You’re also given some new game modes to try out, ranging from creative twists on classic gameplay to outright crazy romps similar to Castle Crashers’ extra modes. The game, whilst having a pretty safe learning curve, for the most part, can be difficult in some areas, with the game incorporating a lot of puzzle/strategy elements to keep the players on their toes. These can range from waves of new, diverse enemies to environmental changes and even small challenges of skill wherein you are given a reward for doing well.
Chapter 6 – It Is The Soundtrack Of My Life (Music and Sound)
Roorai – One thing that should not be understated when it comes to Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition is its breathtaking, awe-inspiring chiptune soundtrack. It is phenomenal in every sense of the word. Anamanaguchi’s cerebral mix of head-bopping tunes perfectly encapsulates the style, pace and aesthetic of Scott Pilgrim whilst not being invasive or jarring. The soundtrack constantly surprises, with melodies that will stay stuck in your head for hours or even days. I never found myself getting tired or bored with the track, and it is one thing that stood out the most from the game in terms of sheer quality.
Pete – Saying that I loved this soundtrack would be an understatement. Ever since listening to it back in 2010, it has been a staple of my digital collection, and a complete form favourite to put on whilst working or even exercising.
The soundtrack is exactly like I remember it in-game. It is a stunning composure, of the highest quality, by a band who have made a career out of popularising chiptune music for the wider masses.
Chapter 7 – Happily Ever After? (Conclusion)
Roorai – It isn’t every day you come across a game as polished or as inspired as Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game, and it’s especially rarer when that experience that has been denied for so long has finally been released back into the world again. The Complete Edition of the game delivers a definitive version of the exciting retro arcade brawler whilst maintaining the charm, style, and humour of the books and series. As side-scrolling beat-em-up games make their well-deserved comeback into the fray, don’t kick yourself for missing a pivotal point in the solidification of the genre. This is one game that will never make you pee due to boredom.
Pete – Despite being a game that is 10 years old, in all departments, Scott Pilgrim vs The World The Game: Complete Edition has aged like the finest of fine wines. Much like the recent revival Streets of Rage 4 from 2020, scrolling beat-em-ups show that they can stand the test of time, as long as there is a decent challenge, a rewarding and fluid combat system. Scott Pilgrim has this all in spades. But unlike Streets of Rage 4, having RPG lite elements like stat building and unlockable moves adds incredible depth and challenge that warrants multiple playthroughs with all 6 characters. This is an essential purchase for fans of side-scrolling beat-em-ups.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Scott Pilgrim vs The World The Game for £11.99 on the PlayStation Store
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.