Thursday, September 09, 2010

Review: Scott Pilgrim

Hipster? Yeah, but I don't care. Scott Pilgrim is a funny comic is a funny movie is a funny beatemup game. I'm specifically reviewing the last of those, however.

Scott Pilgrim, available on PSN and XBLA for $10, is the best beatemup since Castle Crashers (which was the best beatemup since ye olde days). Scott Pilgrim follows the River City Ransom (or Kunio-Kun for you Japanese purist folks out there) formula; beat people up 'til the blink and disappear, leaving coins for their destroyers to collect, and also steal their weapon if they had one. You use said coins to buy food, and said weapons to beat people up even harder. It's an addictive formula, especially back on the ole' NES/Famicom. However, Scott ups the ante in nearly every way; more enemies, more weapons, more upgrades, more moves, and 4 player co-op (which sadly isn't online). Add all this together, along with some of the best animation this side of Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle 2006 (which makes sense since Paul Roberston did most of the sprite work), along with some great chiptune music from Anamanaguchi, and Scott Pilgrim was predestined to rock hard.

Now that I've heaped on all this praise, let me step back for a second and say what I dislike about the game. First, as previously mentioned; no online co-op. WTF people? This is 2010! What were you thinking? Secondly, the game can get glitchy when you're strength is high (you hit things so hard they can fly off the screen, which can lead to some strange happenings). Thirdly, and this applies only to the XBLA version...but what happened during the playtesting guys? Were you too preoccupied being hipsters to notice the terrible stuttering in the game? Whatever, I forgive you.

Also, let me mention that although the secret modes are fun, why aren't they unlockable? Let me say for the record that I love the Boss Rush and Survival (Zombie) Modes, but why do we have to enter a code to unlock them? I realize there's still a nostalgic appeal in cheat codes, but seriously...I'd understand if after you beat the game, the cheat code popped up so you knew what to do, but instead, the developers kept it secret; the only way you'd know they existed is via word-of-mouth (or internet). Again, sometimes that's cool; even in Scott Pilgrim there's codes that do cool things that don't actually appear under the extra modes section (sword of love, blood mode, etc.). It just seems like a waste to have 2 full-fledged modes [with leaderboards even!] that are completely inaccessible to someone who doesn't know the codes (or rather, doesn't even know of their existence within the game). And that leads to my next minor issue.

Why have these modes, but skimp on the achievements? About 3 of the achievements are completely throw-away ideas (beat the game as Scott, defeat the twins simultaneously, defeat Matthew Patel without losing a life). Instead, we could have gotten 'Ultra' achievements for doing things like "Unlock Nega Scott," "Complete Boss Rush Mode," "Survive for 30 minutes in Zombie Mode," but no...we're stuck with these useless achievements that don't count for anything.

All these negatives are largely a non-issue however; the game is a blast, and if you have 3 friends who are all able to get together at once, it's a really fun local co-op game. It is totally worth the $10, and I highly recommend it. Honestly, I'd like it better than Castle Crashers if not for those minor gripes!

A- or 9/10, whatever.

Hipsters hipping hips.

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