In the before times of 2010 a beat’em up was released exclusively for Xbox Arcade and PlayStation Network based on a movie that was based on a popular graphic novel. And somehow, all of them were unique enough that we’re loosely using the term “based” here. That game was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game and at the time it was really exciting and novel concept. Licensed video game properties were still more well known for their incredible flops than being actually well-made video games. Scott Pilgrim, perhaps surprisingly, was one of the few exceptions.
Then, as quickly as it appeared, it vanished. The game was delisted in 2014 due to what is believed to have been a licensing issue. It’s unclear exactly whose license or what the problem was. Ubisoft may have just let their contract with the Scott Pilgrim franchise run out, or it could have had something to do with the composer of the game’s soundtrack from Anamanaguchi. The fact we know for certain is that, after 2014, the game became incredibly difficult to find. It was a digital only title, so the only way to play it was to have an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 that still had the game installed on its hard drive.
This backstory is why Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Video Game Definitive Edition is a modern day marvel. For many fans of this series that game was never going to exist again, lost to time. The fact that it’s playable again is a huge win for fans of the game and the Scott Pilgrim franchise, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean the decade-old title is a modern .
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Video Game is a 2D RPG style beat’em up where you must travel through the city of Toronto to defeat Ramona Flowers’ seven evil ex-boyfriends. If you’ve seen the 2010 movie adaptation or read the graphic novel then you know the general plot. The story isn’t why you come to this game, however, you wanted the fighting. You can play as either Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Kim Pine, or Stephen Stills. In the definitive edition, you also gain access to Knives Chau and Scott’s roommate Wallace Wells, who were originally DLC characters.
That addition makes this the “definitive” edition of the game. But if you were hoping for a fresh and new experience on the original title, you’ll be disappointed. The title is very much a port, not a remaster or remake. Which means it’s the same game that came out all the way back in 2010. And that includes the same bugs and issues the game had.
While that return to normalcy can be a comfort for those that wanted back the game they once had, that lack of refinement is one of the biggest downsides of this game. It’s still the same fun that we had a decade ago, but games have changed a lot in that time. The original game was made for couch co-op style action, and to its’ credit that part of the game still works great, but online co-op doesn’t. There are error messages and connectivity problems and weird desynch issues where both players will see different enemies on screen. While you are fighting them your partner will be swinging at nothing, but on their end you are the one attacking nothing.
Connecting with players online is odd. The host has to go to network play, choose their character, choose a level, and then invite their friend to their game. Only then can they join. This process is only made that much more cumbersome in the definitive edition where you are forced to use Ubisoft’s online service “UPlay.” Multiple reports from fans claimed they couldn’t gain access to Knives at all until they connected to UPlay even if they hoping to play offline. Forcing players to join UPlay feels a bit gross, and is another way small parts of the game were changed for its modern release without actually making anything better.
All of this said the game itself is still a blast on your own or in co-op gameplay. It’s a really fun beat’em up with an incredible art style. Combos feel good and leveling up has weight behind it. With difficulty levels and characters to master there’s plenty of replay value. The soundtrack is still one of the best ever made, and that alone makes this comeback worth it. If you want the perfect Scott Pilgrim experience then get some friends together, sit on the couch, and play the Story Mode on local co-op together. Especially if you’re a fan of beat’em up style games. It will still be a great time, just don’t expect to find anything new in the Definitive Edition. You’ll be disappointed.