Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition Review on PlayStation 4
The world has changed a lot since the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World comic series first released, but it continues to hold a certain charm even today, flaws and all.
The same can be said of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition: While still rough in certain areas, it polishes up an enjoyable, retro-style title made all the better with some friends along for the ride.
Based on the events of the comics, the game is a straight-forward side-scrolling beat-em-up with RPG elements. Each level sees Scott and his friends tasked with taking down one of Ramona Flowers’ Seven Evil Ex’s, and the rag-tag group has to fight and scrape their way through hoards of eccentric enemies to do so.
The more enemies they defeat, the more experience they’ll gain, allowing them to level up and learn new techniques. These range from new attacks that allow players to damage enemies continuously or blast through mobs with ease, to skills like an aerial recovery which can make the combat infinitely less stressful.
The majority of the gameplay isn’t anything that’s overly complex, but that plays to the title’s favor.
Almost anyone can get the hang of punching, throwing and jumping within minutes, and so long as they have a friend along for the ride, they’ll be able to make their way through the game’s fast-paced story mode with ease. Which is an important point to touch on.
While the game can be played solo, it’s much more enjoyable with a friend or two in tow. Much like Golden Axe or Streets of Rage, the game is designed to be played with others, with special team attacks only available while multiple players are engaged in a game together.
To be sure, there’s still fun to be had while playing solo. Players can take the role of one of seven different characters, and each have different styles and aesthetics tied to their attacks.
Scott Pilgrim uses straight-forward and hyperactive punches and kicks, Ramona Flowers utilizes an interdimensional hammer to smash through enemies.
At the same time though, this is purely aesthetic. Every character has the same attacks they can use, and unlocks said attacks along the same leveling track.
This can make the game feel repetitive in single player, as there’s little in terms of gameplay that would entice playing through each character’s campaign alone.
It’s less noticeable during multiplayer sessions though, as the chaos of multiple characters brawling at once helps cover this up.
Plus, thanks to the game’s other multiplayer-focused modes like Battle Royale and Survival Horror – which see players duke it out to be the last one standing or try to survive hordes of undead enemies respectively – one can keep the fun rolling with interesting twists on the gameplay.
However, it’s worth noting that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition does have elements which mirror some of the worst design elements of side-scrolling beat-em-ups and RPGs.
At several points in the game, there are what feel like gameplay potholes, meant to trip the player up through no fault of their own.
These can range from enemies hitting them with an unseeable attack that deals heavy damage to bosses whose attacks are nearly unavoidable if you haven’t fought them once before. They only serve to drain players’ health and lives, and, in most cases, force them to replay a level from the start.
Likewise, progression can be held up by players not having reached a high enough level from playing through each level once. When this occurs, they’ll need to grind through past levels for money and purchase items to raise their stats – which are only available at shops the game doesn’t tell you about – until they’re able to survive the next new area.
This isn’t as obtrusive if players have a friend or two playing alongside them to revive each other after cheap knockouts or make the grinding more bearable. At the same time though, it can hold up the flow of the gameplay that could have otherwise settled in.
Then there are the mechanics that the game doesn’t tell you about. At several points in the game, players are likely to discover the game hasn’t properly explained or even told them about mechanics that are vital to their progression, such as the aforementioned shops or with techniques like countering enemy attacks.
This can be frustrating enough on its own, but it’s all the more apparent during single player or higher difficulty runs where buying healing items and countering strong enemies is a must to make it through levels.
It’s far from a deal-breaking issue, and won’t impact those who played the original game or are playing with multiple people nearly as much. However, it can still result in some unneeded headaches and difficulties.
Fortunately, almost every other aspect of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition is polished and refined, portraying the style and charm of the series to great effect.
For example, instead of recapping the plot via a stream of cutscenes and dialogue, it plays out in the form of brief scenes or images at the beginning and end of each level which hint at what’s going on.
These can be anything from a brief glimpse of your next target rolling into a concert venue via an infinite stretch limo to Scott and Ramona kissing the second they reunite following a scuffle with a level’s Evil Ex.
It’s a simple but effective approach to telling the story, and helps to keep the experience feeling breezy for both long-time fans and newcomers alike.
The art style, meanwhile, is spot-on. Every character, from Scott and his friends to the side characters and enemies are brought to life with 2D sprites that would be feel right at home in the comics.
The environments ooze with color, and each area from the snowy suburbs to Gideon’s lair carry a sense of character that draws the player in with ease.
It’s all brought together by an outstanding soundtrack. Relying heavily on retro sounds and beats, the OST is filled to bursting with tunes that capture the energy and emotion of the series while also making it feel like something out of an SNES game.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition is a good remaster of a solid title. Though it doesn’t iron out some core issues with the original game, there’s still plenty of fun to be had here, especially if you’ve got some friends to join you for the ride.
It’s well worth a look from die-hard fans of the series, and newcomers will find plenty to love about the game and its source material.
Poorly explained game mechanics