Sunday, August 22, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Versus the World: The Game

When I was a young man my father took me to the city to see an arcade game. He told me "Son when you grow up will you be a savoir to the beat um ups or be damned to only look at games with fancy graphics and new fangled play mechanics?". Well I never joined the black parade, but I sure do enjoy Alien Hominid and now Scott Pilgrim Versus the World: The Game. My biggest complaint about the game is that it seems to be a bit buggy in parts, and the Universal Logo looks correct but they used the original Universal music rather than the chiptunes version heard in the film. The graphics are charmingly simple and there are references to River City Ransom, Super Mario Brothers and others which I probably don't get because in all honesty I never played that many video games as a kid.

Initially there are 4 selectable characters, Scott, Kim, (Stephen) Stills or Ramona. There are 2 unlockable characters as well. As you level up in the game you gain access to new abilities as well as the traditional increased HP/GP (gut points, basically the same as special points). Whenever you beat an enemy or boss they also drop Canadien coin of varying amounts. You can then use the money to buy new items which further increase your stats, or food items which give you a health boost when you need it. Each character has their own special attack that uses GP, and a special assist from various support characters (initially just Knives Chau). The assist is different depending on the character, for example Scott's assist is all enemies are temp stunned, whereas Kim gets some GP subtracted and HP added.

The animation is extremely charming and fluid, the moves are easily as varied as what you'd see in a modern Castlevania game and the leveling system rewards multiple playthroughs. The nostalgia factor is tapped into in many ways, and the SD sprite style really meshes well with the style of the comics. I think the worst thing you can say is that it does get a bit repetitive, and that it does get pretty hard at times. I would have really liked to see online multiplayer rather than just local multiplayer, although the local multiplayer is very fun. While playing with some friends I did run into one major fun killing bug, while fighting ninjas on top of a train, we missed one enemy and then went to the next screen, only to find ourselves locked/stuck at that screen.

A bug like this is totally unacceptable in a finished game, or at least that's what I would say if I hadn't seen spawns I needed to kill for a quest stuck in trees in WoW from way back when. Of course, Blizzard does their best to stop enemies from being inside trees and so I would also hope that Ubisoft does what it can to address the issues in Scott Pilgrim. One last note of interest: The game has multiple female characters, and to the extent that 8-bit or 16-bit characters can converse, they did, and it appears that it wasn't always (directly) about Scott Pilgrim. However, this is hard to say for sure since 16-bit characters always talk with emotes and gestures. If anything I'd say the game comes a hell of a lot closer to passing the Bechdel Test than the film did.

I'm going to measure this game in cuteness points, as it is easily the cutest looking game I've played since Disgaea 3.

I give Scott Pilgrim Versus the World 11 out of 10 cuteness points. I would have given it 9 out of 10 but the end world/end level rewards screens are fantastic, just look at Kim's and Stills' faces. PRICELESS.

EDIT: After Reading Volume 6 (comics WAY better than the movie, btw) I realized that this game has 1 straight male protagonist, 2 bisexual(?) women and 1 bisexual (gay?) man. This makes it the most diverse cast ever seen in a beat-um-up.

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