Archive for November 1st, 2010

01
Nov
10

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game [PS3] (9/10)

Scott Pilgrim *knows* videogames.  One of the biggest appeals of the series (for me anyways) was the sheer amount of videogame nerd shout outs in the movie (and I assume in the books).  So it would make sense that a franchise that has so much respect for the videogaming art would be able to produce an awesome videogame, right?  Right!

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a blast to play.  From what I understand, the gameplay itself is almost a carbon copy of River City Ransom for the NES.  And while I have not actually played River City Ransom, I can say that they seem pretty similar from what I have seen.

you have 4 awesome characters to choose from

On the surface Scott Pilgrim looks like a very simple Beat-Em-Up.  You walk from right to left and clobber every enemy you encounter until you reach the evil-ex at the end of the level.  But there is hidden depth to the combat system. At the start of the game, you have the standard attacks available, as you beat up bad guys, you can earn experience which leads to leveling up.  Every level up, and you get a new move.  Before long you will be countering attacks, dodging, grabbing enemies, and performing sweet combos. The progression of learning new moves is well paced and helps keep the game from feeling repetitive, since you usually have a new move to try. The combat itself it really fun and there is nothing like the rush you get after pulling off a cool move.  You can pick up almost everything and turn it into a melee weapon or a projectile.  You even have special attack that allows you to summon Knives Chau, who does something different depending on who called her.

Now, if you have not guessed already from my talk of leveling up, Scott Pilgrim does indeed have RPG elements in addition to the regular Beat-Em-Up action.  You level up as you progress until you reach a maximum of 16 levels.  You also have different attributes (such as speed and willpower) that can be leveled up separately by buying items such as dvds and t-shirts at stores.  (unfortunately, you cannot wear the different T-Shirts you buy, but at the character select screen, you can choose one of 4 color schemes for your character’s wardrobe)  Oddly enough, when you buy an item you won’t know exactly what it does until after you bought it…though the name and description gives you a hint (Hot Chocolate: A Heart Warming Beverage – Heals Health) which is actually a nice idea as it brings a little mystery into the item buying process.

Co-Op is a blast

But Scott Pilgrim does not really shine as a single player game.  Co-op is where this game truly shines.  It is alway fun to work together with a friend to fight hordes of baddies.  When working together you have a few extra options available.  For example, when a player dies, the other one has a few brief seconds to revive his fallen partner.  Also if every player taunts at the same moment, they unleash a devastating attack.  But of course, co-op would not be complete if you could not hinder your partner as easily as help them.  It is possible to pick up your partner and throw him (or use him as a weapon) which hurts them a lot.  Also thrown items hurt you even if you or your partner threw them.

There are a few issues with the game, however.  I did encounter some glitches, including two times when I had to reset the game because it because unplayable.  Also, there are some issues with the controls.  Specifically, the motion.  If you use the d-pad, it is hard to run, but if you use the analogue stick it is hard to control your speed at all.  However, the game is playable and while the control takes some getting used to, it does get easy to use eventually.

Item Shops are awesome

The presentation of this game is amazing.  The cute retro graphics are beautiful (though they look a little distorted on a standard definition TV in my experience) and the short, but sweet cutscenes in between each level are so adorable, you head may explode.  There are videogame references everywhere, from smashing “?” blocks for coins, to buying a “speedy the porcupine” powerup, or traveling between levels using an overhead map in the vein of Mario World.  And the amazing chiptune music will be stuck in your head all week.  The overall look and atmosphere of this game will blow your mind.

There are two extra modes, Boss Rush and Survial Horror.  The first is pretty self explanatory, but Survival Horror may require some explanation.  Basically, you just fight hordes and hordes of zombies.  Both modes are fun little diversions and also great for getting extra practice.  However, the only way to unlock them is through the use of cheat codes (another classic gaming callback).  There are actually many different hidden things that can only be unlocked through cheat codes.  None of them make the game easier, just modify it to add “blood” or change coins into animals or something.

Granted, the game does get a little repetitive after a while, as most beat-em-ups do.  But all in all, this game offers a lot of replay value, be it replaying the game as a different character or playing one of the extra modes.  There is always something fun to do, especially if you have a friend handy.  This short game (only 7 levels) is well worth your 10 dollars.  To be honest, I have fallen in lesbians with this game.

(btw, there is some DLC coming out for this game next week for $2 which adds 2 new game modes and the ability to play as Knives (it also is supposed to fix some glitches)…expect a mini review for the DLC later this month)

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