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Played Out - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

It was nary over 9 months ago that the Scott Pilgrim media blitz swept upon us with the finale in the graphic novel series, a high profile movie, and an arcadey video game tie-in. Sadly, the public at large sloughed it aside, and the pop culture creation most hilariously reflective of so many of our lives remains the largely undiscovered gem it was before...

Except that it's probably not sad at all, given the tragedy befalling so many pitch-perfect series upon their transition to "franchise." It's certainly disappointing, however, that Hollywood is, as a result of the box office flop, unlikely to greenlight many more experimental blockbusters...

Or is it? I mean, Watchmen could be considered a similar sort of project, and I'm with creator Alan Moore in the opinion that the book should have been left well enough alone...

THEN AGAIN, Scott Pilgrim always was a specific fiction concerned with our world of metafiction, and therefore almost begging some sort of video transformation...

Bah. Just ignore all these ramblings and read the books. Here's an awesome image excerpt to convince you to do so:
{Insert creative segue that doesn't make it obvious how detached my thoughts are.}

Downloadable on XBox 360 and PS3, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a circular mash-up of inspiration whose three main strengths originate in the same source. The books from which the material is drawn, the pixel art informing the visual design, and Anamanaguchi's chip-tuned post-rock all derive first and foremost from video games themselves. It is the informed child of beat-'em-ups the likes of Double Dragon, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game, and, most directly, River City Ransom, in which some sort of non-linearity grants the player reign to explore the side-scrolling world and improve their skills by spending the money that inexplicably emanates from defeated enemies.

It really is the perfect game to play with your friends... which is why I follow the many before me (including Scott Pilgrim's creator, to a degree) in absolute pouting over the lack of online multiplayer. Sure, I can sometimes lure my brother to play in-house with me; other than that, however, I really have no chance to play this game with as many people as I want to when I want to the same way I would in the halcyon world of the '80s pizza parlor. The internet is the closest thing we have to Chuck E. Cheese without having to rent kids from craigslist.

A number of bugs also hold the game back from perfection, including noticeable, inexplicable lag any time you're perusing menus. It stinks of a rush job for release in time with the movie, further condemning franchising strategy at large. With Ubisoft choosing to hire one of the best pixel artists in the business (Paul Robertson) to emulate the best pixel-inspired graphic novels set to the best pixel-resonant music, it makes little to no sense that they wouldn't strive for perfection on the gameplay side as well. Gameplay, you know? The fun part that actually inspired all those other creators to be as awesome as they are?

I really do pout too much, though. Outside of the menus and a few of the many moves, the punching and kicking is as fun as it ever was. It just hurts when you've grown to love something as much as I love Scott Pilgrim and see little things holding its film and game counterparts - counterparts I very much enjoy - back from the greatness it all deserves.

That's another side effect of franchising, by the way. Whiny, ungrateful fanboys.

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  1. Blogger chris | 10:14 AM |  

    I will attempt to convince Qualler to get this so I can play it at least once! Man I miss arcades too. There was one in the restaurant we went to last night and while the restaurant was full of children, there was nary a soul in the attached arcade.

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