360 XBLA Review - Scott Pilgrim vs The World

6th September 2010 - Certainly if the world hasn't versed Scott Pilgrim yet, in this- the game based on the movie based on a serial Canadian comic book series; they should if only to live the agonising memories of button bashing, 3 life living, 8 bit crunching, boss battling co-operative mayhem from days gone past. The genius re-imagining from Ubisoft, the not-movie-tie in has a lot to live up to...

As long as you have played any arcade title in the last 20 years and before 1995 such as Double Dragon, Metal Slug or Final Fight, you know exactly what sort of game Scott Pilgrim is. The genius being that unlike the remastered and re made games we have come to expect this homage has been finely crafted to replicate the 8-bit wonders of yor, but in 2010. So much so that people walking in will be amazed that a new game could look so old, or that you are actually playing such an 'old game' on such a “new” console. But enough procrastinating, it's time to fight!

- Scott Pilgrim is 23 years old, living in the big city with his gay roommate, just trying to get by in this crazy world. He's in a band. He's lazy. He likes video games.

- Scott Pilgrim likes the new girl in town, Ramona Flowers, but to win her heart, he has to defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. Seven! Evil! Ex! Boyfriends! Lucas has muscles! Todd plays bass with his psychic powers! The Twins are twins! Matthew Patel is an Indian guy! AND MORE!
- Scott Pilgrim is a critically acclaimed, award-winning series of graphic novels by Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O'Malley. Boys and girls! Young and old! Come one, come all! Read Scott Pilgrim! Five volumes in stores now! One to go! 2010!

There are 4 people in Scotts' band to play as, and you will need all of them! Single player is merciless as you only ever have 3 lives, two attacks and not much choice of regaining health. While you can level up and increase each life from +100 to 130 or so and you do have special moves and combos, the animation is unresponsive and most of the time the combinations of Y+DOWN or B< don't work. Scott himself has a nice mob clearing sweep kick and he can summon some extra help for damages, but the biggest problem is that health and items are only ever located in one part of a level in a shop and you will forever be running back to the start to shop for food so that your life doesn't run out.

You must die, I alone am best!
Scott Pilgrim might be the most uber fighter of all the Canadian north, but this review almost didn't happen for 2 very fundamental reasons that will stop anyone playing the game: which ever character you play with, they can level up to 16 unlocking moves and generally gaining +attack and +damage resist. But you will not clear the first level...unless you are at least around level 6. Again and again in single player you will really need to grind over until Scott is even strong enough to make it to the end boss. There are no saves and even at the end of a chapter or level you are left with the life u had and start the next chapter almost dead.


Co-op definitely helps with these issues, but is only local, requiring all four band members in house on the couch with a controller. Further there are issues with saving any coop data or progress.

Pro Tip: In the first level there is a hidden door next to the cat, that cuts through cyberspace for a short cut.


For a game based on a comic book about pop culture, indi Canadian rock and general post teenage emo angst, you would think that Scott Pilgrim the game would have an easy entry point for noobs, but even on the lowest difficulty it is almost, almost unplayable. The experience is condensed; surprisingly only 7 levels and 7 bosses making it a small game and also a very short one, but one that feels so much longer. Making the game so authentic, so incredibly accurate in an elitist kind of way, does wonders for bringing the game to life, but is harsher than a Canadian Winter.

The selling point of the game, the whole point of Scott Pilgrim is that he doesn't actually exist, except that if 'Scott Pilgrim' played a game, this would be the game. If 'Scott Pilgrim' watched a movie, this would be the movie. Both are as much a reflection of the character and world as they are the sub culture of pop culture fans.

Everything right down to the B,X,Y,A buttons are made perfectly to emulate the 8-bit era. Ubisoft even rips off the movie by digitising their logo. Animation of characters and environment, although unresponsive to combos is excellent and far better than actual older games while the whole thing bleeds colour, much more than 8-bits normally would.

Playing on a big screen, actually doesn't look bad at all with excellent detail in the background and weather effects. The advantage here is that while the whole deal is pixelated, Ubisoft are still able to increase the overall number of pixelated details. There are items around to pick up, and characters generally represent in an animae cute little Asian character kind of way.

All your base belongs to us
If you can make it to the end of a level, the boss battles of the 6 ex-boyfriends and one ex-girlfriend (yes, she went there!) are all very amusing and well done. The world map is also very “cute” and reminiscent of anything on the DS like Pokemon, where you move between stages.

If Scott Pilgrim the movie had one flaw it's that it was a mash-up of live action and poor cg effects and even worse wigs. The comic is hand drawn and not in colour, so the video games actually comes out on top adding a jap-animae feel that was missing while still retaining the classic western/arcade vibe.

Pro Tip: Because the game is so hard, try this : X, X, X, A, B, A, Y - Use Scott's Heart Sword from the comic. Enter it at the title screen.

If you missed the point, Scott is in love with some girl called Romona Flowers, no one in Canada works, everyone under the age of 25 is in a band and communication is a combination of playing trashy music and fighting. Also sleeping in the same bed as your gay flatmate to keep warm. Sounds like Canada to me. For such an elitist “indie” movie and comic that is so independent that it makes the word “indie” 'not cool' any more, the music is rather good. Again, much better than the movie.

All the riffs have been down sampled to midi and borrow from the movie while being highly memorable to sticking in your head. It can become repetitive after long periods but each level is unique with it's own theme and music for boss battles. Curiously, the value is not actually in playing the game, but simply being 'cool enough' to say that you know what the game is. Scott Pilgrim really is Ben 10 for twenty something's, who want an elite status figure to not talk about because he is too cool for school. Scott Pilgrim v The world doesn't retail at 1200MSP either, only at 800points so it might be worth the buy if you have someone to play with.

All the Graphics are spot on and it looks better in it's own way than Shank and Tombraider combined. The cute graphics though belie a very very hard game, which is unfortunate when it's so much fun to play.

It's a funny thing when there are more arcade titles to review than actual AAA titles. Lara Croft was excellent but too easy, while Shank sits somewhere in the middle. Scott Pilgrim while the most unique and coolest looking is just so hard and unnecessary for such a short game that it can be hard to overlook.

If you assume the game is co-op only and you never approach it as single player, if Ubisoft trucks out online co-op, then for only 800 points, pick it up. Otherwise invest in the comics, build yourself a heart sword, and get your fight on!

AAG SCORE: 7.5/10

+ Excellent emulation of 8-bit arcades
+ Graphics
+ Cute characters and fun bosses

- Difficulty curve
- No save points/issues with saving character data
- Too short despite the difficulty


Reviewed and Written By Ian Crane