Scott Pilgrim vs The World Game Review
Graphically The Game Is Incredible, Harkening Back To The Days Of Gorgeously Simple 8-bit Graphics, And It Has Been Lovingly Created By Paul Robertson
Platform : Xbox360 / Playstation 3
Publisher: Ubisoft/Universal Studios
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Chengdu
The Scott Pilgrim series, be it the books, film or game could very much be considered a 'marmite' sort of a series, very much dividing fans to make steadfast decisions that they either love or hate it, there appears to be no middle ground. The reason behind this in part stems from the focus on 'hipster' culture (I myself am not a part of said culture, however SP ticks a lot of my boxes as it were), but also due to the amalgamation of so many cultural references towards gaming, anime and music that, to be honest, a lot of people simply wouldn't pick up on or understand.
One of the things that most inspired such love from fans of the comic were the sheer amount of obscure gaming references made at literally any available opportunity. Every band or song name was a reference to little known games of the eighties and nineties, almost every piece of dialogue contains references or quotes from the likes of Metroid, Starcraft and Super Mario to name but a few. Every fight based beautifully off of the likes of Street Fighter. Hell, every character bursts into coins after a defeat; it’s perfectly understandable why gamers would lap it up.
And of course, when the comics were used as the basis of this computer game to help promote the release of the major motion picture, these references were going to be translated perfectly into game form, and they were made in abundance. Straight from the offset, the world map and character selection screens are blatant references to Super Mario, the opening text and style relates to Street Fighter Alpha 3, and the Street Fighter allusions of course follow on into the gameplay with almost every character move being tributes to the beloved beat ‘em up series. And this only begins to illustrate the amount of old-school game references, with the game itself playing like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game, River City Ransom or Streets of Rage, and also harkens everything from Kirby to Guitar Hero. And none of these references can be called rip-offs, the sheer amount of love and detail that goes into game shows it’s a perfect homage to everything old-school, and fits perfectly with everything Scott Pilgrim represents.
The simple fact of the matter is that what makes the game so enjoyable is the sheer simplicity, the same way so many games of the early nineties still stand up to the test of time and can be enjoyed to the same level. Yes, it’s merely a simple side-scroller, but so was Golden Axe, and Streets of Rage, and they were some of the most simple, enjoyable and beautiful games of our generation.
Instead of directly copying games of the same style Scott Pilgrim is an homage, an emulation of all the best things about the genre, and example of what was done right for it back in the day, and serves as a guiding light in reawakening the genre thanks to the popularity of XBLA and Playstation Network games in general. Of course, there are times when players may feel the game gets repetitive, and that’s understandable, however everything about the game is beautifully thought out, every move is a perfect reference of another game, borrowing moves from Street Fighter and even Sonic the Hedgehog. The pure humour and ingenuity of the game make up for any level of repetition to contend with.
Graphically the game is incredible, harkening back to the days of gorgeously simple 8-bit graphics, and it has been lovingly created by Paul Robertson, most well-known for the obscure 12 minute long video Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006, and its sequel Kings of Power 4 Billion% (you can check out his work at http://probertson.livejournal.com), as such the game looks both unique and brilliant, and goes a long way to show how XBLA and PSN games are bringing back old-school gaming in a big way, taking a proven style and mixing it up in a new and refreshing way for old and new fans alike. It feels every bit as though it could have come out in the early 90’s and been a smash hit.
Likewise the music has been incredibly made by chiptune legends Anamanaguchi, creating a fast paced, exciting retro soundtrack that fits excellently in the style of the game, combining styles old and new and mixing NES style 8-bit music, throwing in some modern day mixing and topping it off with some badass guitars to make some of the best music that’s been heard in a computer game in some time.
Simply put, Scott Pilgrim is a love-letter to games of yesteryear, a well thought out and accomplished title that every geek should experience. Of course saying that I can understand the fact that SP is not the most easily accessible title, and how to the more casual gamers it may seem a little boring, but it’s not for everyone, it’s for the hardcore, and as such it’s a masterpiece.
Writer, gamer, and general all-around awesomeness compressed into human form. Co-founder of Reset Gaming.
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