Sunday, August 22, 2010

Scott Pilgrim VS Scattered Prince

So, this is going to be a bit of a different blog post. A review of all that is Scott Pilgrim. The comic book, the movie, and the game. Let's stat from the beginning.

Scott Pilgrim VS the COMIC:
Bryan Lee O'Malley created something that I can say no other NON Japanese author has done for me. In the sense of creating a Comic series in the traditional manga style that was thoroughly engaging. The story follows the unlikeliest of heros, Scott Pilgrim. He's a skinny under achiever with an aloof attitude who has this bad habit with being not the most sensitive of guys. He's a 23 year old bass player for a band (the Sex Bob-ombs... yes like the MARIO enemy) and the story starts with he and his group talking about his new 17 year old Chinese Catholic School girl girlfriend. The story doesn't pick up until he meets and falls in love with Ramona Flowers and has to defeat her 7 evil exes in order to gain the right to date her. Though the story never really fully explains how, but apparently Scott is a very proficient fighter and can hold his own in a fist fight, using many of the manga sensibilities, O'Malley creates some pretty epic battle sequences. What really sets this story apart is the dialog, the writing is witty and charmingly funny. Everyone from his younger sister Stacey to his cool gay roomate (who he shares a bed with out of necessity) Wallace all have very distinct personalities. The ensemble cast is fairly large, while Scott and Ramona pretty much play out as the main characters of the story (with the 7 evil exes), everyone else receives quite a bit of a face time. As a gamer, this comic was like a slap of fan service with every volume. Leveling up and earning coins when defeating enemies gives this story a very hyper realistic vibe. And for anyone that plays classic RPGs to pretty much any geeky game can appreciate the little nods O'Malley gives to the subculture. Even the world of Japanese manga gets some homages, battles with giant mechs to an ad on a bus featuring the band Trapnest (from Ai Yazawa's NANA). It's the little things that make this comic so charming. Give it a definite read!

Scott Pilgrim VS the Movie:
Before I get into this review, let me first say that even while I was looking forward to seeing it, I was not too thrilled about Michael Cera playing the titular role. This isn't George Michael Bluth (his Arrested Development character he tends to portray for every role) VS the World. But after watching the movie (twice even) I stand corrected. This was Scott Pilgrim in all his awkward, geeky, super street fighter glory. The story does deviate from the comic and alot of the scenes were abridged to make the six volume series fit within the time span of a feature film. All the scenes that mattered stayed and some of the funniest lines were ripped directly from the comic. Though slightly smaller, the ensemble cast format stayed fairly true. You enjoyed the pessimism of Kim and felt just as bad for poor Knives! A character that stands out is Kieran Culkin's portrayl of Scott's cool gay roomate Wallace Wells. Just as he was in the comic, Wallace was the voice of reason for an otherwise unreasonable Scott. The fight sequences were epic and played very much like the fights from the comic (with a few exceptions). Though the whole subspace highway deal that was evident in the comic was not really as fleshed out in the movie, it wasn't really too much of an issue. What I loved is that even for people who have never read the comics, the movie would be a great watch for anyone who loves insane comic action flicks and all the lovely little gamers out there. Watch it! Love it! Read the comics! It's awesome!

Scott Pilgrim VS the Game
With the return of classic gaming sensibilities, this game is equal parts Double Dragon, Final Fight, River City Ransom, and Guitar Hero all in one. The game is a classic side-scrolling beat-em-up where you fight through waves of enemies to get to the final boss (one of the evil exes). You earn experience points and eventually level up to learn new moves.

Setting: The levels are well designed with multi tiered battle areas and weapons/shops strewn around the field. What sets this game apart from other downloadable games on PSN and XBL is the length. The levels last long and you'll find yourself repeating levels to gain more experience for the oncoming boss battle. You navigate each level with a Super Mario Bros 3-like overworld map. And all the old school gaming homages brought a smile to my geeky little face. 5/5

Graphics: The game is classic 16 bit. The sprites are all well rendered and the animation is fluid. The old school graphics fit well for a game based on a comic that is pretty much a fan service love fest for old school games. Everything is pretty and it's hard to find anything wrong with it. Loves it! 5/5

Sound: The music is infectious and sounds great, the sound effects are also so deliciously retro. It's hard to really judge such a classic game in a modern world, but for what it was the sound delivers and gets a... 5/5

Gameplay: This is a 1-4 Player experience. You start off with Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Kim Pine, and Stephen Stills (with two unlockable fighters). The game is fun on it's own but is alot more fun with a group. Playing with at least one other person increases the dynamic of the fights. When you are down you can have a friend will you back to life rather than using your GUTS bar to replenish health or lose a life. Attacks are mapped to two buttons (strong and light) with a button for jump and block, also special attacks are learned when leveling up and can be executed with Street Fighter esque D-pad+button combos. There is also a pretty deep combo system that makes an otherwise simple beat-em-up into much more of an in depth fighter. Each character also has a character specific "Knives" attack, summoning Scotts 17 year old g/f from the start of the story to execute an attack when shit gets hairy. The only flaw in the gameplay is the lack of an online multiplayer mode, let's face it... sometime people don't have friends to come over and play with. That is the only complaint I have over gameplay and is a pretty big deal, hence docking a 1/2 point. 4.5/5

Story: The game follows the story of the comics more so than the film. The character designs are ripped right from the comic and some of the side characters that appear in the comic (but never in the movie) make appearances. Following the story of the comics is interesting for the people that never read the comics but love the movie. Like most beat-em-ups are fairly light on story, this game delivers for what it's worth. 5/5

overall 4.9/5 NEAR PERFECT!

DOWNLOAD THIS NOW! it's on PSN now and will be on XBLA on August 25th. I just hopw Ubisoft can patch the game to add an online multiplayer in the future, that would earn back the lost 0.1 point.

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