It’s fair to say that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition isn’t just quite a mouthful, it’s also more of a re-release than a remake of the 2010 original. Out now on all current/next gen consoles (thanks to backward compatibility), this one is strong with retro flavor.
Based on a bit of a modern cult classic movie, the plot for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World pretty much writes itself. It’s summarized on IMDB as “In a magically realistic version of Toronto, a young man must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes one by one in order to win her heart” and that pretty much translates verbatim to what happens in the game. It’s a retro side-scrolling beat ’em up complete with boss fights and an 8-bit/16-bit visual style – a visual style that’s also visible in the movie, with plenty of nods to the videogaming culture next to an emphasis on bands and the music they play.
With its retro graphics, Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game looks the same as it did on the PS3 when it came out in 2010, and the campaign (as per the norm for beat ’em ups) isn’t very long either. But as Scott Pilgrim fans might know, the original game hasn’t been for sale since it was removed from the digital storefront a few years ago, so this release is good news for those who never got to pick it up earlier. On top of that, the complete edition also features all of the post-release DLC content – which many missed because it was spaced so far apart and because this game was released in a time where digital purchases weren’t the norm yet.
What this means is that you now get an online multiplayer mode, additional characters, as well as two additional gameplay modes in dodge ball and battle royale, which both play out as you’d expect. The main campaign remains the meat of the package though, and it’s (as is almost always the case in this genre) best enjoyed with a friend – preferably in local co-op. And although the new content isn’t “new” in the traditional sense, and none of it makes the game experience better, it’s nice to have them included.
The gameplay for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game holds up, as do the graphics, but mostly because the ‘retro’ element is so strong that is just feels like a natural fit. The brawling mechanics aren’t as complex or refined as you’d find in other games, but it’s functional and fun nonetheless. Characters can be upgraded with new moves and items over the course of the campaign, but button mashing is ultimately something players will quickly resort to when a scene gets crowded – and that’s not a problem in a game like this.
Last year saw a ton of great beat ’em ups with Streets of Rage, Battletoads, 9 Monkeys of Shaolin and Cobra Kai. Scott Pilgrim isn’t as good as those more modern interpretations, but fits in nicely when it comes to the retro appeal they all have. The fact that it’s being released at a budget price point despite all of the included DLC is certainly a nice gesture. If you fondly remember the game from your PS3 days and want another crack at it, then Ubisoft’s just made that possible – and it’s still fun whether you’ve played it before or not.