📚 Review: Scott Pilgrim's presentation is still top notch and nostalgia rich
Scott Pilgrim is back, but it's not nearly as groundbreaking as it was 10 years ago.
When Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game hit the Xbox 360 and PS3 more than a decade ago, it quickly gained a cult following — much like the movie and graphic novel series of the same name. The beat 'em up featured outstanding pixel art, tons of references to its source material and videogames in general, and had one of the best chiptune soundtracks ever crafted, courtesy of the band Anamanaguchi.
When Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game was delisted from digital storefronts in 2014, the game became a bit of a collector's item. It was something to laud over your friends who weren't in the know, sort of like the hipsters and scene kids that plague fictional Toronto in Pilgrim's world.
Now, 10 years later, Scott Pilgrim is back and remastered, but the question remains — is this reunion tour worth the price of admission, or is the band past their prime? Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition (yes, that's the full title) is still a visually and sonically a treat, but its gameplay, while solid, has been bested by its contemporaries. This final release is the way to own this game, but don't expect any surprises.
A cult favorite returns
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition
Bottom line: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition is still fun to play. It's a solid 2D beat em up with lots of charm and a sweet soundtrack, but there are better games in the genre since its 2010 debut.
- Excellent chiptune soundtrack and pixel art
- Includes all of the DLC
- Solid beat 'em up action with light RPG elements
- Packed full of easter eggs and references
- A bit of a grind if you're playing solo
- Game is short
- Some visual and audio glitches
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition review My manic pixie beat 'em up
|Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition
|Beat 'em up
|Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Stadia
|Up to four players, local or online
|Xbox Game Pass
For the unitiated, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World follows the journey of 20-something burnout Scott Pilgrim as he fights for the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers, and her seven evil exes. I poured hours upon hours into Scott Pilgrim vs. The World when it originally released and revisiting the remaster was almost like opening a time capsule. In the graphic novels, Scott and his friends reveled in obscure music and videogame references as they hung out in cramped apartments, crappy music venues, and coffee shops. It captured the hipster façade of the early aughts with surprising detail, and a lot of that charm can be found throughout the video game adaptation.
The game has no dialog, telling the story of Scott and Ramona's love odyssey through brilliant pixel splash screens and plenty of video game references. The world map is modeled after Super Mario World's, the recycling bins are stamped with The Legend of Zelda's Triforce, one of the boss's morphs into a Tyrant from Resident Evil, and another sprouts a single angel wing like Sephiroth from Final Fantasy 7. The presentation was a joy then and it still manages to charm today. That goes double for the game's music — Anamanaguchi's soundtrack remains wholly intact and still slaps just as hard as it did at initial release.
Scott Pilgrim's gameplay is reminiscent of old school beat 'em ups like River City Ransom or Double Dragon. You and up to three friends can punch and kick your way through pixelated Canada locally or online (an improvement since the original release only had local multiplayer). With every enemy defeated, you earn experience and pocket change, which you can spend to upgrade your character or unlock new moves. These light RPG elements give the game some much needed depth since the seven levels can be completed fairly quickly.
The remaster also includes all of the released DLC packs, which featured new game modes and a few extra characters. The characters don't play too different from one another, but the unique animations and special moves set them apart enough. The additional game modes include a battle royale mode if you'd rather hit each other, a dodgeball mode, a boss rush, and a zombie survival mode (zombies were in everything back then). Not a bad way to spend $15.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition review Ready to get sad and stuff
Like the titular character, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is charming at first but upon closer inspection, you'll see it's quite shallow. The Complete Edition is content complete, but the additional content doesn't really add much to the package. Once the nostalgia starts to wear off, you'll realize not much has changed in 10 years. Additionally, leveling up additional characters can take a while, especially if you're playing by yourself.
It's hard to come back to Scott Pilgrim when there are better games in the genre.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing since a lot of people enjoy that grind, but there have been many beat 'em up games released since August 2010 and I'd argue that many of them improved on Scott Pilgrim's formula and straight up surpassed it. Games like Streets of Rage 4 and River City Girls immediately come to mind. It might be nitpicking, but it's hard to come back to Scott Pilgrim when there are better games in the genre or ones that have improved on the formula over the years.
I also ran into a couple of visual and audio glitches that I'm almost certain weren't there in the original release. While they were mostly minor and didn't take much away from my experience, there was one that was particularly grating. The game's sound effects were noticeably muffled, though I imagine this could probably be fixed in a patch.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition review Should you buy?
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition is still fun, even more so if you're playing with a couple of friends. I'm certain that after so long, there are plenty of people who long for this nostalgia-soaked game. Are there better games in the genre? There are, but I still think it's one of the better beat 'em up games on Xbox right now.
Scott Pilgrim is sort of like that indie band from high school you liked that released one great album, which inspired a bunch of other really good albums. However, now that you're older and you and culture's tastes have shifted, your once heralded favorite has been knocked down a couple of rungs in your personal power ranking.
In my mind, Scott Pilgrim is no longer the best of the best, but it's still damn good and an easy recommendation for those who have never experienced it.
Still got it
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition
Turn it up!
Some minor glitches aside, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition is fun 2D beat 'em up with stellar presentation that still rocks — just not as hard as it did over 10 years ago.