The legend goes that in 2010, a game known as Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. I vividly remember playing it after becoming obsessed with the movie that inspired it. That’s right, this by all respects is a video game based on a film. Not to despair though as it’s more than that too. In fact, the Scott Pilgrim brand was first seen in a series of graphic novels that came out back in 2004. Now in 2021, we see this 11-year-old game hit modern consoles, and it’s a big deal. You see, this had been initially delisted due to licensing issues. And ever since, people have anticipated the long-awaited return. Thankfully, Ubisoft heard our pleas and by utilizing black magic and virgin sacrifice, our wait is over.
Now the question we ask ourselves is: did nostalgia make this title great; or was it truly an enjoyable romp?
A CANADIAN ROMANCE!
Our story begins as our protagonist Scott has a dream about a girl. The next morning, he wakes to disappointment, realizing she isn’t real. As he goes about his day, he‘ll cross paths with an Amazon delivery girl. To his surprise, it’s the girl of his literal dreams – Ramona Flowers. However, there’s a roadblock in pursuing her; he’s currently with someone. As time passes, Scott finds interest in his girlfriend beginning to wane. Then, during a “Battle of the Bands” event, he notices Ramona again. Before he can approach her though, he’s attacked by one of her ex-boyfriends
Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game has you fighting her seven evil exes. They’re each trying to put a stop to your potential relationship from flourishing. You’ll be traveling through the mean streets of Toronto, a Dojo, and an apartment building on your quest for a girl’s heart. With your fists drawn, you’ll beat your way to bliss as you mow down hordes of foes in your path. Her exes who all have unique abilities are trying to stop you. Will the two of you be able to get together?
PUNCH, PUNCH, KICK!
Would you believe this game was made in just five months?
Beat’em ups are inherently short to encourage replaying. It’s no different here, with my time clocking in at about two hours. It’s definitely a bit longer than most I’ve played, but you’ll be through it in an afternoon. None of that really matters if the experience is entertaining and to be frank, I had an absolute blast. Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game plays exactly as I remember it. The actions are seamless, and the animations are slick. The art style is pixelated, and there’s unnecessary jiggle physics that I appreciate a lot.
The gameplay style itself is reminiscent of the Ransom City franchise. For those unfamiliar, it essentially means there’s a combination of fisticuffs and RPG elements. As you’re kicking ass, you’ll accumulate experience points and level up. Although, it isn’t the traditional way since your stats won’t increase. You‘ll not be getting stronger, but instead unlocking brand new techniques. Something that I really liked is how most of the individuals are unique, but unfortunately, that doesn’t extend to everyone – I’ll touch on that later. There is a level cap of 16 as well, so you’ll only be grinding for money more often than not. I loved seeing that my ass-kicking rewarded me. It gave purpose to the button mashing.
I’LL TAKE A HAMBURGER, PLEASE!
So, what exactly helps in making your biceps swell?
That’s a great question and I have an equally great answer. While the act of leveling won’t do the trick, there are stores scattered that‘ll do precisely that. It’s worth mentioning also that these are mainly concentrated in the first area. Each food item purchased will grant a specific stat boost; from attack to defense. Of course, much like the maximum level, this’ll also be limited to a 100 value for each of the four separate stats. As you may have surmised by now, maxing a character out will make the game easier. Thankfully, there‘s a total of three difficulties to choose from. I was at the lowest one for the purposes of this review and I’ll be real, I died quite a few times. I did try out the hardest difficulty due to curiosity and oh boy, it was definitely a rush.
IT’S A SECRET TO ME!
I enjoyed the gameplay loop, but I’d be lying if I said the repetition won’t eventually wear thin and become tedious. It assuredly will, more so once you’ve capped off all stats. Luckily, there is a slew of pop culture references and secrets to find. Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game could be considered a celebration of sorts. I had tons of fun trying to find cheeky nods to franchises in each new area. For example, after defeating a boss, Scott will escape in the same fashion as Mega Man. Another character will do her best Kirby impression and utilize a warp star. In terms of secrets; there’s a well-hidden nod to Link 2. I was always finding something new and it helped in keeping each run somewhat interesting.
SCOTTY ISN’T TONE DEAF!
The music is fantastic. There’s just so much guitar/chip-tune/instrumental goodness that if you’re at all familiar with the media, you’re aware of how well it fits. Even if you aren’t, it’s hard to argue that the OST isn’t amazing – or as the kids say, it slaps. Sadly, I don’t feel like the Nintendo Switch speakers do it justice. So, I highly recommend hooking up headphones if you’re playing on one. Simply put, Anamanaguchi nailed it.
CHEAT CODES AND MODES!
One thing I remember is how codes were a big part of Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game. And just like the previous release, the cheats seem to be largely intact on the new release of Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game. On the Nintendo Switch these included:
- Change Coins to Animals: Up (x2), Down (x2), Up (x4)
- Activate “Blood Mode”: B, A, B, Y, B, A, A
- Scott’s Heart Sword: Y, Y, Y, B, A, B, X
- Secret Level (Sound Check): L1 (x2), R1 (x2), L1 (x3), R1 (x3), L1, R1
- Noble Sacrifice (multiplayer only): Hold L1 + R1, Up (x2), Down (x2), Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A
The first three must be input at the “Press + Button” screen, while the fourth is activated on the over-world map. The last one is during the level itself. Furthermore, as some of you might recall, there were also cheats to activate various other modes such as “Boss Rush”. In this Complete Edition, you’ll be able to jump into them from the title screen.
RAMONA FLOWERS ISN’T PERFECT!
I’ve written over a thousand words gushing and raving over Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game, but it’s not flawless.
It’s time to return to a previous point I made about characters having unique styles. You‘ll be able to choose between five initially, with two secret ones to unlock. There’s another too, but it’s tied to a log-in to Ubisoft Connect. I’ve seen the claims that once servers go down, the ability to play as Knives Chau is lost. I’ve tried playing in airplane mode after unlocking her and she’s still available. So, I concluded based on this that you won’t lose her, but this also is rendering the initial log-in null. It’s forcing you to connect to Ubisoft servers when from what I’ve seen, she could have easily functioned as an unlock. I’d like to make clear that you won’t need any paid subscriptions like Nintendo Switch Online – Ubisoft Connect is separate.
Okay, I went on a bit of a tangent there, so let’s resume the previous point. With eight playable characters, there‘s going to be crossover with moves. While a nitpick, it would’ve been nice if they all controlled differently. Speaking of, I‘ve found some techniques weren’t too responsive. Those that required a direction to be pressed in conjunction with a button prompt wouldn’t always work out.
My final complaint lays with the extra modes. The Complete Edition adds a tiny Dodge Ball game, along with Boss Rush, Survival Horror, and Battle Royale. I’ll be honest here, I was very disappointed as I felt that none of these were compelling. The Battle Royale mode is the best in my opinion. Otherwise, survival horror isn’t a great solo distraction. You’ll continuously be beating up an endless wave of zombies. The overall score is recorded on the leaderboards, but I don’t care for that. If you play a game of dodgeball, you’ll be hitting enemies with a basketball, and that’s all. I feel playing the main adventure is a better investment of your time.
AND THE DE-LISTED VERDICT IS…
Scott Pilgrim VS The World: The Game is beat’em up bliss and ideal if you’re looking for a palette cleanser between Triple-A titles. The somewhat unique move-sets and individual endings of the eight characters were enough to compel me to finish. The charm the game oozes is also an undeniable fact and helped in my enjoyment. You’ll have secrets to discover and references to spot, transforming this into an I Spy game at points. If you play through multiple times, it’ll be helped further by a stellar soundtrack by the geniuses of Anamanaguchi. While this game does have RPG elements, you’ll be grinding for cash which can take a while; some items are quite expensive. Because the money is fashioned after Canada, it kind of makes sense. Our dollar has a pretty low value.
However, having a playable character locked behind a Ubisoft Connect log-in seems silly. It undermines the idea of a Complete Edition. I also found that techniques requiring you to simultaneously press a direction and button didn’t always execute properly. Though it’s worth noting I had a slight bit more luck with the D-Pad. While I believe this is a game to experience, the low-quality extra modes help to hold the score down too. Therefore, I hereby declare;
SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD: THE GAME IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Many thanks goes to Ubisoft for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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Painfully single, but still somehow a master of dad jokes. If asked, he’ll answer it’s for his inner child. Fabio enjoys JRPG’s and has embraced his anime love.