Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game Complete Edition review “Both faithful and frustratingly inconsistent”

Has there ever been a game tie-in that has managed to capture the spirit of its subject so faithfully as Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game? This beat-em-up and the character share a lot of things in common after all. They’re both initially quite off-putting, as you try to see the good in them, before slowly turning your opinion around in spite of a few extremely questionable decisions they make. The only real difference is that Scott may be a better brawler than he is a musician, but the opposite is true for Ubisoft’s cult 16-bit throwback. 

Fast Facts

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Release date: January 14, 2021
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft

Before I get into my TED talk about why the Anamanaguchi soundtrack is one of the best of the era, let’s dig into what Scott Pilgrim actually does in his precious little game. Following the broad beats of both the graphic novel series and the movie, you and up to four mates can choose from a handful of characters to kick the everloving snot out of Toronto’s surprisingly large gang of goons. Once you get to the end of each level, you’ll have an evil ex-boyfriend of Scott’s new paramour, Ramona Flowers, to defeat, whose powers range from mystical (Matthew Patel) to Vegan (Todd Ingram). 

Yonge Street Fighter

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

As you can tell, the graphic novel’s plot lays the perfect foundation for an old-school beat-em-up, and it’s one that this game shakily builds on. Whatever character you initially choose – you’ve got a choice between Scott, Ramona, Stephen Stills, Kim Pine, and included DLC extras in Wallace Wells and Knives Chau – has the same basic moveset and stats, which you level up by beating chumps up and buying stat boosts from stores dotted around the places you wander through. It’s a rudimentary system that wants to add depth to the experience, which it eventually does, but not without introducing a fair amount of grinding to begin with.

The main issue stems from what your fighter can and can’t do at the start of the game. While you’d hope for a natural evolution of your powers to take on all-comers, instead the early hours seem like you’re fighting with one hand tied behind your back, forcing yourself through levels so you can get abilities that dramatically improve your chances. And by that, I mean, having to unlock a counter feels a bit stingy. 

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