The Complete Edition Game Review
If ever there was a poster child game for the perils of a digital future, it’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. After being released alongside the feature film in 2010, the retro-inspired beat ’em up essentially died out a few years later. It was delisted from digital stores and only those who kept the game installed on their hard drives were able to play it. Luckily, after a huge public outcry, Ubisoft brought back Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game as a Complete Edition available for modern consoles (and next-gen consoles via backward compatibility). And while the Complete Edition is pretty much just a port of the previous game with DLC included, it’s just as fans will remember it, for better or worse. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a side-scrolling beat ’em up in the same vein as Double Dragon or Final Fight. Players take control of Scott, Ramona, Kim, Stephen, Knives Chau, or Wallace and fight through a series of levels that each have their own boss fight. For those unfamiliar with the Scott Pilgrim IP, the focus involves the titular character battling each of Ramona’s 7 evil ex-boyfriends to win her heart. Brian Lee O’Malley, the creator of the Scott Pilgrim comic book, was heavily inspired by video games when creating the books, and so the setup lends itself well to the video game format. Controls in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game try to stick to the basics of classic beat ’em ups with simple motion controls and one-button attacks (each character has a light and heavy -attack that, along with directional presses, can adapt to different situations). Back in 2010, the game’s controls were quite stiff and clunky and that remains true with the Complete Edition. Sometimes it’s hard to get in the same “line” as an enemy or pick up an object (like a bat, sword, or trash can) to use as a weapon. Players will regularly find themselves punching into nothing despite feeling like they are standing right in front of an enemy, and often, leaving them open to attack. What is otherwise a fairly standard beat ’em up is made slightly frustrating by inconsistencies in combat. Not to the point that the game is unplayable by any means, but Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is designed to be difficult, even on the normal difficulty level, so every miss can result in taking a bunch of damage. It’s surprising that one of the biggest criticisms of the original game wasn’t even slightly changed for the Complete Edition, especially since some added magnetism to hits would have gone a long way to improving combat. It’s likely that the one element that held the original back is now letting the Complete Edition down. Difficulty is a major point of contention for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game because of how punishing it is. Enemies can deal a lot of damage and are often a challenge to avoid. This makes imprecise combat even more frustrating and also makes grinding a necessity. Basically, players collect money from fallen enemies, which is then used to buy healing items or stat upgrade items. Without these items Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game will be a real task, arguably impossible, to complete. Players will need to purchase upgrades to have any real success and they are better served grinding money in the first few levels to ensure a better overall experience. But the game never makes that concept clear, which will leave some players frustrated and prevent them from making any significant progress. Even with better stats, however, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a challenging game, which makes co-op practically essential. Outside of some delicate battles, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game still has many unique features. The 16-bit art style is very creative and each level is varied and full of personality. The game relies on some familiar tropes of the beat ’em up genre, but mixes them with the Scott Pilgrim IP in a way that makes sense. Enemy diversity is also consistent right up to the very end, with players constantly being challenged by new enemies throughout the 3-hour runtime. Boss fights are usually a highlight for beat ’em up games and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game hits that mark with gusto. Each of the 7 evil ex-boyfriends brings a different flavor to the experience, while still keeping within the confines of a beat ’em up. Again, the game may be short (it’s only $15, mind you) but there’s so much creativity throughout that it flies by. But beyond the stunning retro visuals, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game’s biggest selling point is arguably its chiptune soundtrack. Created by Anamanaguchi, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game music is some of the best in a video game, full stop. It’s only made better by the fact that it fits the retro vibe of the game so well. Fans of the original will likely pick up the Complete Edition if for no other reason than to experience the soundtrack again, and they will be rewarded. In addition to keeping the game as the original, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game Complete Edition includes the Knives Chau and Wallace Wells DLC in the game, which unlocks two additional playable characters. There are also some basic multiplayer modes to bother with, but they’re nothing special. For the main levels, however, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is at its best when playing with a friend (or friends) in co-op. This helps alleviate some of the difficulty and really lives up to the spirit of classic beat ’em up games. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game offers both local co-op for up to 4 players and online co-op with optional matchmaking. There is some competition in collecting money and the game increases the enemy count for balance, but the experience is generally the same. That said, Scott Pilgrim is significantly more fun with friends. Outside of hard fighting, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game has a crash issue that we noticed while playing on PS5 through backward compatibility. The game crashed several times at the very end of a boss fight, forcing a rerun of the entire level. In online co-op the crashes were more prevalent and put a huge damper on a fun experience. For a game that has been mostly preserved as it was, the crashes are very frustrating. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is just as fans will remember it and that alone will be worth the price of admission for many people. Experiencing the levels and hearing the music again is a nostalgic experience, in different ways. That said, the game’s clunky combat is largely untouched, which will be a turn-off to players looking for a refined beat ’em up experience. And crashes are not something expected from a port. Still, getting together with friends and bashing baddies on your way to winning Ramona’s heart is a fun distraction for a few hours. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is available now for PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. Today Technology was provided with a PS4 code for this review.