The original version of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game on the PS3 and Xbox 360 was unforgettable when it released in 2010. But once the game was delisted, there was no way for franchise fans to download it anymore.
Now, the game is back in the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition. It’s available for more platforms than ever, including PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and even Google Stadia. And I’m pleased to report that it retains all of the charm of the iconic original game.
It’s impossible to discuss the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Complete Edition without discussing the graphics. The entire thing is rendered in a 16-bit aesthetic that instantly transports you back to the days of the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis.
In addition to looking adorable, this aesthetic helps the game blend the worlds of the Scott Pilgrim comics and the movies. So while anyone who loves retro graphics will love the look of this title, the game is particularly rewarding for those who already love the Scott Pilgrim franchise.
While the retro graphics are arguably the big draw for this particular game, it’s important to mention the music. Simply put, the chiptune-inspired soundtrack from Anamanaguchi is likely to be the best game music you hear this year!
That’s especially important because beating this game is going to take a lot of continues and a lot (I mean a lot) of grinding. The fact that the music doesn’t get annoying or overstay its welcome when you play the same level repeatedly is nothing short of a modern miracle.
Beat ’em up gameplay
But what does the game actually play like? As befits the retro aesthetic, the game mostly plays like an old-school sidescrolling brawler.
Of course, “brawler” can mean many different things to many different gamers. In this case, the gameplay mostly emulates the classic NES title River City Ransom. That means you spend every level moving from left to right and beating up a colorful array of opponents, culminating in some memorable boss fights.
One of the few downsides of the game is that the nonstop beat ’em up gameplay can get a little repetitive. Fortunately, your characters are constantly leveling up and unlocking new abilities. These abilities, combined with many interactive objects you can turn into weapons, keeps the combat from getting stale.
When “Complete Edition” is right there in the title, it makes you ask a simple question. What’s so “complete” about this game?
A big draw for longtime fans of the game is that the new version of this title comes with all the DLC, allowing you to play as Wallace Wells and Knives Chau. And you can play this game online right away, with no need to download DLC like with the first release.
That may not seem like a big deal, but I was one of the fans who bought the original game but did not snag the DLC. Once it was delisted, I had no way of unlocking those extra characters. So if you have the original base game and none of the DLC, this Complete Edition is your last chance to experience the full title.
Endless Easter eggs
Every gamer has different tastes. But to me, one of the best things about the complete edition of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is the seemingly endless array of Easter eggs.
Many of these are tied to the Scott Pilgrim comics and movie. Look closely in the background and you will see little cameos of supporting characters like Stephen Stills and Young Neil. And you will also see characters exclusive to the comics, including Lisa Miller and Scott’s younger brother.
But there are also plenty of Easter eggs focused on the world of video games. One of the first things you see in the game is a “winners don’t eat meat” message in the same style as the “winners don’t use drugs” message that appeared in front of many arcade games. But instead of being a message from the FBI, it’s a message from the Vegan Bureau of Investigation — a reference to vegans having special powers in the Scott Pilgrim universe.
And when you travel through subspace, you will see sections made to look like an 8-bit video game glitching out. If your character needs some extra cash in these sections, he or she can simply attack the Mario-esque question blocks scattered through the level.
There are also multiple points where you must destroy something as a timer ticks down. These sections are a deliberate homage to the bonus levels of Street Fighter II that had you destroy things like cars before the timer ran out.
Long story short? If you love Scott Pilgrim, video games, or both, there are a ton of cool things to discover.
Rise and grind
It’s easy to assume the Scott Pilgrim game won’t be very difficult based on its cute aesthetic. But make no mistake: this title retains the difficulty of retro games and not just the look and feel of them.
Even on the lowest difficulty, you’ll quickly encounter levels and enemies that are too much for your characters. In classic gaming fashion, your only real option is to grind through previous levels, unlocking additional stats and abilities to help you achieve victory.
It’s possible to get a stat boost by buying consumables in shops throughout various levels. While this is handy, there is no way around the need to grind until you are strong enough to win.
What’s the replay value of this game like? Honestly, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
You’re forced to play various levels multiple times in order to level up. But once you are strong enough, those early levels will feel like a joke. And while it’s fun to knock around the guys that used to stomp you, that fun diminishes pretty quickly.
Of course, you can always level up the different characters. And with six playable characters, there is a lot to keep you busy and many unique endings to unlock.
But once you tire of this, there isn’t much to go back for except some really boring extra play modes and the online mode (which simply lets you play through the game with people online).
Is Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition (what a mouthful) worth buying? Absolutely!
While it’s not a perfect title, it packs plenty of entertainment for an MSRP of $14.95. It has sweet graphics, a killer soundtrack, and lots of variety in terms of the enemy and level design.
If you’re already a fan of Scott Pilgrim, snagging this title is a no-brainer. And even if you’re completely new to the franchise, this title succeeds as a throwback brawler that you won’t be putting down anytime soon.