Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Scott Pilgrim vs The World


Recently I've noticed something I never thought I'd see, a good video game based on a film. Ever since the video game version of E.T for the Atari 2600 caused the big video game crash in the 80s it has seemed that all games with a move license are certain to be horrible cash-ins made in a feeble attempt to draw more money from the public, but not Scott Pilgrim vs. The World the game which shows what developers can do with the proper use of a movie license. As a fan of the movie and comics I have to say that it practically was made to become a video game, and Ubisoft did not disappoint one bit!

The story is the same as the film and graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim a lovable timid loser from Toronto, Canada falls in love with the mysterious American delivery girl Ramona Flowers but in order for their relationship to survive Scott must defeat Ramona's seven evil exes each armed with their own unique abilities varying from mystical powers to telekinesis obtained through veganism. The only difference in story is that in this game Scott is accompanied by his fellow band mates Kim Pine and Stephen Stills and even Ramona herself as they battle through hordes of generic foes to reach the evil ex waiting at the end of each of the seven levels. The story is every bit as ridiculous as its source material and you'll love every minute of it if you know it. However the story isn't exactly spelled out so you'll need to have seen the movie, or read the books.

Art Direction

The game is intentionally done in a refined 8 bit graphical style reminiscent of NES games as the game is a throwback to games from the past with beat-em-ups in particular such as Double Dragon and Battletoads as well as the art style from the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel. The art style is guaranteed to make any old school gamer giggle with a fanboyish glee and evoke feelings of nostalgia for gaming of the late 80s and early 90s.

In addition to the graphics the soundtrack is also done in an 8 bit style with the music consisting of electronic beeps. While the music is very well-composed and catchy like any 8 bit tune it can wear on the nerves after looping for 30 minutes straight and cause headaches at high volumes. Its a kind of love it or hate it aspect (personally I love it) but it does enhance the feeling of nostalgia created by this game.

This is the absolute shining aspect of the game. SPVTW is kind of a spiritual successor to the NES game River City Ransom in which you battle hordes of enemies while moving from screen to screen. You can choose to play as Scott, Kim, Stills, or Ramona (and later Nega-Scott once you unlock him) all of which play very differently from each other. Being a beat-em-up SPVTW's controls are very simple consisting of light and heavy attack, jump, and block. You can execute combos but they are very short, sweet, and easy to memorize which is good as you'll need to be quick on your feet. As you play through the game you'll learn new abilities such as countering, and technical attacks unique to each character and in addition to your own strength you can call in Knives Chau (Scott's crazy Asian ex-girlfriend) to perform a different action depending who calls her in.

 Also similar to River City Ransom SPVTW has RPG elements albeit on a deeper level. Characters have stats that determine how much damage they deal and take as well, as their movement speed and ability to revive from KO status, these stats can be raised by purchasing food and other items from the various shops hidden in the stages which is also the only way to recover HP.

The game is fun playing solo but the real fun comes from the multiplayer mode as in addition to providing a fun filled bunch of hours with up to four people multiplayer allows you access to two multiplayer only abilities which are reanimation which allows you to revive a KOed player and prevent them from losing a life, and the special band attack which defeats all on screen enemies for a hefty guts cost. As fun as the game is it is very difficult and even on the easiest difficulty you'll lose more than a few lives throughout the game. Even on multiplayer the game is very difficult as the game scales the difficulty depending on the number of players. Despite this difficulty this game is a blast on both solo and multiplayer with its crazy combat and RPG elements.

The game has great replay value as the characters all play very differently and there are several unlockables to be achieved through multiple playthroughs and there is some downloadable content to be released in the future such as Knives as a full playable character.

This game is an excellent throwback to beat em ups of years past and will make you want to pull out the old consoles and give them another run.......... after you play SPVTW.

Definitely worth having even if you are not an old school gamer (It will convert you!). Plus its only 10 bucks.

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