PSN Review – Scott Pilgrim vs The World

In a world ruled by first-person shooters and endless sequels, one man’s unique vision of a  love tale was turned into a movie, which resulted in a game tie-in. With its super-detailed 2D graphics and gameplay that will make your older brother remember his days of youth, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game is the throwback to classic gaming you’ve been waiting for on the PSN. If you have a place in your heart for 8-bit sprites and MIDI music, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is for you… and at $10, one of the best deals to land on the PSN so far this year. Read on to findout how Ubisoft turned this movie tie-in into something well worth your time.

Since Scott Pilgrim vs The World is all about being ‘old school’, I’ll begin with the graphics. If you have problems with 8-bit graphics, I don’t recommend you check this game out. If you love them, then you’re about to be blown away by this game! Featuring some of the best “8-bit” visuals around, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is jammed packed with details and a bountiful level of animation for everything in the game. Ubisoft Montreal wisely hired the ‘Sprite Guru’ Paul Robertson to use mighty pixel magic to the make the game look mighty fine. If you have never seen Mr. Robertson’s work before, he has built a reputation out of making awesomely awesome 2D sprite games and set pieces. The look of  game reflects that of Bryan Lee O’ Malley’s artwork and fans of the graphic novel will be most pleased! Everyone from Knives to Young Neil make an appearance and hell… you even get to travel on the subspace highway that Ramona loves to use while delivering her packages for Amazon.Ca. Fans of the series will geek out over this game. So don’t say I didn’t warn you!

‘How about the soundtrack’ you ask? I’ll put it this way… I’ve been humming the songs from the game all week long! While it might not feature any classics from lets say, the old Mega Man games, the ‘chiptune’ band Anamanaguchi took it upon themselves to make one hell of a rockin’ MIDI soundtrack, with some drums and guitar throw in here and there for the more dramatic moments. I can promise you that you will be rocking along with the ‘cheapiness’ of the music, forgetting all about the orchestras and dramatic music of today’s big budget titles. If you’ve been craving some great MIDI music, Scott Pilgrim is here to satisfy that itch.

The shining jewel of the entire game is none other than the game play. No joke; Scott Pilgrim vs The World is one of the best, if not the best, ‘beat’em ups’ on the PS3 released thus far. Controls are a breeze, taking little to no time getting used to them, and gameplay is 100% classic: ‘beat up a few enemies, then screen tells you to go to the next area’. Heck, even when you die and reappear, all the enemies on the screen ‘mysteriously’ fall down to the ground. I love it! You can also go into ‘hyper mode’ which gives you the ability to perform 100+ combos! There is also an abundance of weapons scattered across the stages, which I highly recommend using as they can make quick work of enemies before you’re fully leveled up. Now don’t get me wrong, the next-gen has offered some amazing experiences over the past few years. Uncharted 2 is easily one of my favorite games…of all time. However, I had so much fun just beating the crap out of random emo kids that I couldn’t… stop… playing. One reason is that the game also has some RPG-style elements thrown in for good measure. Each and every enemy you kill rewards you with XP, which means you’ll level up two times or so a stage and with 4 different characters to choose from, there’s plenty of time to spend leveling up the entire party to their maximum level of epicness. While gameplay is a blast, one problem presents itself that might turn off some gamers…

Scott Pilgrim vs The World’s difficulty, can be; how should I put this? A bitch at times. Now I realize why so many gamers claim that games are too easy now because it is true! Even on the ‘Average Joe’ difficulty I promise, no... guarantee you that you will be playing the same stage over and over again, banking on the fact that you’ll level up in the process. Not to worry, even though difficulty can be a pain, it is ultimately rewarding. Nothing feels more satisfying than leveling up a few levels and beating the snot out of boss that scrubbed the floor with your face earlier in the day.

While Scott Pilgrim has a lovely single-player mode, the game was more or less meant to be played with up to 4 of your best friends. Instead of outright dieing, you’re able to ‘reanimate’ your pals, which makes the game that much easier. Multiplayer is a blast… until you realize the game’s biggest fault. Scott Pilgrim vs the World lacks any kind of online co-op modes. The only way you’re going to be play co-op with four of your besties’ is if you Step 1: Call your friends. Step 2: Invite them over to play the game with you. Step 3: Hear them whine about having to get off their butts and drive over. And you know what? That is just too much work for gamers nowadays. Sure, the game is a mere $10 smackers, but still. If MAG can feature 256-player player action with intense graphics and 30 frames per-second, why couldn’t Scott and his boys n’ girls give us online beat’em up action? This game could have easily reached a perfect 10 if it featured online multiplayer, yet it is sadly missing. What a shame! Perhaps one day we will receive a patch, but until then, perfection has been UNachieved.

After the Sex Bob-Ombs played their last song and the curtains have closed on Scott Pilgrim’s quest for love, the experience I had reminds me of my glory days at the arcade at the local mall. The days when $5 would grant me access to such classic beat’em ups such as the Simpsons Arcade game and Final Fight. The days when gaming wasn’t all about graphics and having a multi-million dollar budget. If you’re looking for classic side-scrolling beat’em up action, along with a blasting soundtrack, tough yet rewarding game play, and plenty of character, you can’t go wrong with Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Fantastic game play, with a steep difficulty curve which is ultimately rewarding.

A smorgasbord of great MIDI music you’ll be humming to all week long

While local co-op is enjoyable, online co-op would have helped the game tremendously.

9 out of 10