Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game...finished!!

I've read the comics, I've watched the movie, and now I've played the game, which is a small mix of both, with a bit of Paul Robertson weirdness thrown in. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a visual blend of references pulled from everything in general and slapped into a "River-City Ransom"-esque game allowing 4-player co-op in the same room. And the game plays splendidly...when it works.

What probably bothered me the most was the game's inconsistent save feature. At times, I would progress a full 6 levels and then go back to the world map, then power out. When I returned to the game, that 6 levels of progression are wiped clean when I returned. After some OCD, I left my save demons to rest only after verifying through clean exit to the title screen before returning to the game. No game should exit without an exhaustive test of the save feature, and it's sad to see a game so awesome like this get neglected in that department.

Another annoying feature is the lag the game sometimes had when trying to access the pause menu at times, sometimes reaching as long as a full 3 seconds before anything would register. Add to that one game freeze so far, and the whole thing would've been a recipe for disaster if it was a game I didn't absolutely love.

The game is initially slow to get the ball rolling, and, if you have a short temper, can be quite frustrating to deal with. Your character starts with a simple jump and set of attacks, and all your stats are zero to begin with, so you will get beat up, and fast. It's not until you take advantage of all the stat-building items you can purchase before you can really enjoy the game for what it's worth - a really awesome street brawler with TONS of enemies. You have stats for your strength, defense, speed, and willpower, all of which can be leveled up (maximum 100 points) through items purchased throughout the game. But it takes more than increased stats to give you a fighting edge; you'll need extra moves, and those are acquired over time as you level up. From performing dash attacks to double-jumping, you will amass a vast array of attacks against any enemy.

And all the moves you learn are practical. Initially you only have a simple block and your attacks, so you have no choice but to go on the offensive. Later on, you develop stronger attacks, and even an evade and recovery ability to keep you in the fight longer. I went from being completely offensive to holding a defense first to performing evade tactics first before anything. Before I knew it, I took out large groups of enemies in no time.

Did I forget to add that a joystick makes the experience even more arcade-y? Like, say, a Street Fighter IV TE joystick? I've grown so accustomed to the stick that I fumble horribly on a regular controller now.

Finally, to those people that won't play/buy the game because of the lack of online co-op...GET OVER YOURSELF!! The game stands to be one of those great games you can play again and again by yourself, and is an absolute blast to play with 2 or more people IN THE SAME ROOM!! Who wants to deal with people that jump online to play a little bit, only to exit unexpectedly just to fuck you over? At least if everyone's in the same room, you can use something called a "pause" button and resume back into gameplay. But to deny a game because of its lacking online possibilities is very selfish of ANY gamer.

Overall, despite the games shortcomings, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is one that, for a measly $10, will give any gamer wonderful visual easter eggs, awesome 8-bit music, and plenty of replay value. You'd be denying yourself a stellar game if you didn't pick this up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Paul Robertson + Anamanaguchi = Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

That's the only thing I should say to people to convince them that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is awesome - both eye and ear candy! Oh, and there's 4-player simultaneous ass-kicking. C'mon!

Did I forget to mention that the game is only $10 on PSN now?

Oh, and don't let the "no online 4-player co-op" scare you away from this purchase. Why does a game absolutely need online for it to validate a purchase?? I mean:
  1. It's Paul Robertson. He's been making made-up video-game videos for some time, it's about time one of them became real!
  2. It's Anamanaguchi! Awesome 8-bit music and mixes. If you haven't listened to Dawn Metropolis, I urge you to check them out!
I've said my peace. Now I'm going to defeat some evil exes.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I finally completed DeathSpank over the weekend, with 100% in trophies to boot. I think DeathSpank falls in a category of those people who are fans of the creator, much like how Brutal Legend was great for those that were fans of Tim Schafer and his works. Players who enjoyed Ron Gilbert’s Monkey Island series and humor will enjoy the wit that gets tossed around in DeathSpank.

As fun and enjoyable the game was, there were, however, large amounts of grinding and item gathering. And while the humor was great, they were nestled in small morsels mostly at the beginning and near the end, leaving the entire game in the middle almost devoid of any elaborate humor. I had an awesome time in the beginning and end with lengthy random conversations with the NPCs, but the people in-between had little or nothing to say to keep the humor mill running.

The gameplay was also a bit unbalanced overall. While there were plenty of weapons to equip and use, all you really need is a good melee weapon, one or two weapons with special powers, and a really good crossbow. Sadly, most of my battles were spent doing ranged attacks at a safe distance. And even if I received damage, the food system was so terribly broken that I never really found a need to use potions, except during boss battles when I don’t have 8 seconds to consume food.

The game does give you a variety of weapons to use, and tries to enforce level restrictions and elemental improvements for its usage. But the hero cards that allow you to use equipment 1-2 levels higher than your current level defeat the former, and any stronger melee damage defeats the latter. And the only indicator you have that any elemental weapon is NOT working is the word “resist” above the enemy only AFTER you attack. The game could have used some enemy log to keep track of weaknesses or something.

The special runes are probably the most underrated items used in the game. They grant players to combine the use of two special weapons used at the same time for a greater combined effect. But, with an inventory system largely focused on a visual format, the runes surprisingly come with text descriptions on what to use.

Don’t forget that this is a Ron Gilbert game, and nothing would be complete without any puzzle-solving elements. Sadly, this felt a little lacking – almost like a half-finished Monkey Island game. I had items in my inventory that I almost NEVER used, making me wonder if I had truly finished all of the side quests. And believe me, I completed a HEFTY amount of them.

Despite my gripes with the game, the battles were solid and fun, and who doesn’t like going around taking out swarms of enemies at once? For a $15 experience, I think it would’ve been a better value at $10. But, considering it has been about 15 days since I bought the game, it was worth the $1-per-day to enjoy the game for what it’s worth.

Friday, August 6, 2010

When I'm too busy to play games...

...I read. And when I'm too lazy to read, I read graphic novels. With the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World movie coming out shortly, I thought it would be interesting to read all 6 volumes of the graphic novel (the 6th volume just came out this past July 20th).

Even before the movie was announced, I had some small interest in Scott Pilgrim. It seemed to be a graphic novel that didn't take itself too seriously, with an interesting plot and distinct style. Add to that the short but concise volume set, and you have a quick winner in my book.

And after checking out the interactive trailer that was just released, the movie will have plenty of nods to Scott Pilgrim fans from minute details here and there to full comic-to-screen recreations. Now, would I recommend you to read the novels before watching the movie?

Personally, if you read the books before the movie, you'll have a greater appreciation on how the movie's executed to match as close as possible the events in the book. Heck, it would probably make you question less what's going on, giving you more time to just enjoy the movie for what it's worth. I wonder how many of the critics that gave poor reviews actually read the books.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World comes out in theaters August 13th. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game comes out August 10th on PSN, and August 25th on XBLA.