Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a loving revitalization of an iconic narrative

February 11, 2021

Image courtesy of Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s recent re-release of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is imbued with love and admiration for the Scott Pilgrim film and comics that serve as the original inspiration. The beat ‘em up style of gameplay allows users to experience firsthand the iconic narrative that pop culture has cherished for so many years. As a novice game player and longtime fan of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010), I found this game to be extremely easy to pick up, while also maintaining a dynamic and delightfully nostalgic storyline. 

The six-volume series of graphic novels that inspired the game adaptation follows twenty-three-year-old Toronto native Scott Pilgrim as he endeavors to win the romantic favor of the new girl in town, Ramona Flowers. Soon after Scott begins pursuing Ramona he is contacted by one of her exes and challenged to an epic video game-style throwdown for her, in which he prevails. Scott soon comes to discover that in order to date Ramona, he will have to not only fight, but defeat the remaining six evil exes. 

First and foremost, it is important to note that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is really, REALLY fun. In the game, players fight off swarms of henchmen before coming face-to-face with the big boss of the levelone of Ramona’s evil exes. The animation and the graphics are remarkably well-crafted and captivating. Players roam through the streets, restaurants, and bountiful subspace portals of Toronto, giving aggro Canadians the ole’ one-two and collecting cash for upgrades and health boosts along the way. Players can kick ass while enjoying the delightful tunes of Anamanaguchi’s retro soundtrack, which mirrors the energy and style of the quintessential soundtracks of old-school video games, but with a modern synthesized sound.

The singleplayer and multiplayer experiences of the game are vastly different. In multiplayer mode, even with just two people, the game becomes noticeably easier to beat and significantly less frustrating. The game can be pretty short if you aren’t aware of the features outside of simply fighting your way to the end, so savor every new kick and punch while you can. Despite the game progressing much quicker with multiple players, the ability to play this game with friends can make it more enjoyable for those seeking a more casual and light-hearted experience. There is also a friendly-fire option that you can turn on if you’re looking to virtually beat up a pal. 

With a bit of digging, players will find that there are certainly aspects of the game that will take up more of their time. The business of beating up bad guys in gameplay is not as lucrative as one might hope, so being able to afford character upgrades is definitely a task that players will spend a bit of time on. This is especially true if they aim to unlock ‘Nega Scott’, Scott’s evil alter-ego, which can be achieved by defeating the last ex, Gideon Graves, with all four of the main characters. 

On the subject of reaching the final ex, the game boasts a unique ending for each character and effectively references the vibrant personalities of each character from the comics and the movie, so long as you are already familiar with them. The game allows users to select from six characters: Scott, Ramona, Knives, Stephen, Kim and Wallace. The  original release of the game in 2010 offered Wallace and Knives as DLCs, or downloadable content, rather than having them built into the game. This modification of the character roster would seemingly offer players a more unique experience, but the truth is that the individual characters in the game don’t seem to be all that distinctive. Sure, they have their own ‘signature moves’ and endings, but one weakness of the game—which could be written off as the simplistic beat-em-up game structure—is that it doesn’t reflect the nuanced personalities of the characters that define the comics and the movie.  The game is modelled after the comic’s story of Scott’s epic battles against Ramona’s Evil Exes, and it understandably runs out of new challenges and gameplay options at a certain point. Further customization of the four characters would have offered a more inventive gaming experience, as it would be interesting to explore special features exclusive to the different characters that reflect their strong personalities.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has experienced success in both comic and movie form, and with the highly anticipated re-release of this game, devoted fans of the franchise will surely find a new way to enjoy a beloved favorite. Although the game loses some of the nuance of the storyline and the characters, players still get to live out the iconic narrative in astonishing 8-bit style animated technicolor. You also don’t need to be a Scott Pilgrim superfan to enjoy the melodic soundtrack and the classic gaming style of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. It is a masterpiece of visuals and sound combining to create an epic journey for love that perfectly complements the gaming inspiration of the franchise. It is more than a game—it is a work of art. 

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