Just 10 short years ago, we had a year of video game releases that quite honestly gave the rest of the decade a run for its money. 2010 was the year of games like Mass Effect 2, God of War III, Red Dead Redemption, Super Meat Boy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Fallout New Vegas, and Limbo. On every level, whether it be top tier AAA titles or small indie classics, the gaming industry was firing on all cylinders. It was also, of course, the year we received something that no one expected. We got an incredible classic beat-em-up with fun, challenging gameplay, beautiful art design and a killer soundtrack.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game was that game, and those of us lucky enough to have a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 at the time could download it from their respective stores and have the couch co-op experience of their lives. Licensed games, however, can’t always live online forever. Without a physical copy of the game made, the only way to play this classic was to have it already downloaded on one of the aforementioned consoles.
Now, fast forward to 2021, and we’ve seen the triumphant return of Scott Pilgrim to all video game consoles, with physical copies being produced and sold as we speak. But does it still hold up the way those of us who got to play it remember? Yes, and also no. Here’s why.
Now you’ll recall I already said the gameplay is fun and challenging, beautiful art and an incredible soundtrack, so where does the “no” factor into my answer? Let’s first start with a reminder of why you should play Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game before we get into the negative bits. First and foremost, it’s just plain fun. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game takes its inspiration from retro-style arcade beat-em-up games that remain popular today with games like Streets of Rage 4. In all honesty, it’s not my favourite genre, but it’s simple, fun, and once you’ve levelled up enough, you can start stringing together some pretty cool combos.
There’s also a lot here for fans of the Scott Pilgrim original comic books since a large inspiration for the art, and character design came from those books rather than the film. If you look closely almost every character in the comics is represented in some way in the game, and it’s that kind of detail that makes me love how beautifully created the world is even more. It’s also set in my hometown of Toronto, which gives me an even greater (although biased) love for how well crafted the game’s design is. Seeing my city in cute pixel art will never get old for me.
I really have saved the best for last though, in that the absolute best part about this game is the multiplayer mode. Back when I first played Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game on my PS3 in 2010, I played it mainly on my couch with friends, and I had the best time. Today in 2021, I played online with strangers, and I still had an incredible time. It’s easily still one of my favourite multiplayer games of all time and such a joy to play with others. The game opens up so much more than it would playing by yourself, since playing with different characters also brings each of their unique move sets to the combat. In full four-player co-op the chaos is thrilling and some of the most fun I’ve had in ages.
While the rest of this will probably seem nit-picky (because it mainly is), there is still the “no” portion of my answer. For those who may not have played the original release: When I said earlier that the gameplay is challenging, what I really meant was ‘downright brutally difficult.’ That is, of course, if you’re playing by yourself. This is where I’m left disappointed by this re-release because the single-player experience can be extremely frustrating. It’s not that I dislike a challenge, but I was hoping to at least get a checkpoint system added with this release. The levels can be quite long each with multiple stages of enemy encounters that make it a real endurance effort. Yes, levelling up does help, but not by much. Even just a checkpoint between stages instead of restarting the level would have helped make it a less frustrating experience.
That’s really my main gripe with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. It was an issue for me 10 years ago, and it’s still an issue today. I also experienced a few weird glitches while playing on my Switch both in docked and handheld mode, though nothing that really interrupted gameplay to the point of a restart. And while online multiplayer remains the best aspect of the game, I rarely played a game that didn’t have an issue at some point in the level. Sometimes it would freeze us in an area until everyone quit the game, other times it fixed itself, but there was always something. Although I attribute that more to Nintendo not exactly having the best online network, so I doubt players on any other device will have this problem.
Even with these issues, I still love this game, and I can’t recommend it enough to play with friends or even just online. I’m glad to see it return to every console giving even more people a chance to experience it. So long as you are playing with others, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is the same incredible and fun experience that made the game such a classic back in 2010, and 10 years later it still holds its own as an excellent game.
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