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South Park: The Stick of Truth Review


There have been times where I honestly thought this day would never come, but rejoice everybody, South Park: The Stick of Truth is actually here in all its glory and endless fart/poo/religious/sexual/outrageous/whatever else you can think of jokes under the sun, but let’s face it, I have just described pretty much every episode of the long running hit TV series. So, here’s the thing, as well as assessing the gameplay there is another question that must be considered while reviewing the game; how does the comedy translate? The reason for this? Well, because they come hand-in-hand and you’d be foolish to look at them as separate.

After its leaked existence in late-2011 and then it’s confirmation at E3 in 2012, South Park: The Stick of Truth has gone through some turbulent times. Four delays and a change in publisher thanks to the collapse and bankruptcy of the original publishers THQ. There were times when it looked like this Obsidian Entertainment developed gold-mine-of-a-game may never see the light of day. But alas, it’s here and may I be one of the first people to proclaim: “It was well worth the wait!”

The game takes place in the town of South Park (obviously) and features nearly all the characters that fans of the TV series have come to know and love over the years. Your character is the new kid in town, having just moved there and now living just a couple of doors down from Cartman and Kyle. At the time of your arrival, the kids of South Park are embroiled in a war between the forces of the Kingdom of Kupa Keep (led by Cartman, the wizard, and assisted by Kenny, the princess, and Butters, the paladin) and the Elven Army (led by Kyle, the jew, and assisted by Stan, the warrior, and Jimmy, the bard) with both sides fighting for the right to hold the ever-so powerful item known as The Stick of Truth, which starts in the possession of The KKK (yes, that really is what Cartman calls his army). As the new kid in town, you are thrust out into the open world by your parents who encourage you to make some friends and you find yourself joining the lowly ranks of The KKK and, regardless of the name of your character, you are dubbed as “Douchebag” by Cartman himself. As the story unfolds, you start to learn that there is more to South Park, and also more to your character than what meets the eye and it sees the two sides of the war join forces to in an attempt defeat an ultimately bigger and stronger power in the quest for the right to hold The Stick of Truth and save South Park.



The game plays out as a RPG with turn-based fighting sequences, something that, personally, I think hasn’t been done well since the earlier games in the Final Fantasy series. The RPG side is fantastically detailed and in depth for a game such as this with the main story quest line taking me a tad under 10 hours to complete, although that was with very little time spent on the numerous side quests and other activities around the town of South Park, add it all in and I would hazard a guess around the 20-25 hour mark for a full thorough play through and that’s before even thinking about any possible DLC (which is rumoured). I must say that I was quite surprised by the whole RPG side to the game, although in theory I probably shouldn’t have been given Obsidian Entertainment’s proven track record with Knights of the Old Republic 2 and Fallout: New Vegas.

There are four classes in which to choose from for your character; Fighter, Mage, Thief and……..Jew! I mean come on; did you really expect anything else?! The Fighter (my chosen class for this review playthrough) specialises in melee attacks, along with heavy armour and weapons, the Mage is your go-to for sorcery and spells, the Thief is well-known for his deadly and unpredictable attacks, and the Jew, along with the further barrage of abuse that you get from Cartman, has its own form of martial arts known as Jew-Jitsu. As standard in nearly all RPG’s, your character has bars for Health Points (HP), Power Points (PP) and Mana, which grow larger as you level up. Each class also has its own set of special abilities which use Power Points in order to be performed. Your character possesses one melee weapon, one long-range weapon, as well as various clothing/armour items that can be bought or found throughout the town, and also various character modifications such as wigs and face paint. Items such as weapons and armour can have attachments that improve their performance known as strap-ons (don’t laugh……I’m so childish!).

As I’ve already mentioned, the combat is turn-based and actually plays out extremely well. When combat begins (which can be either scripted or when roaming and approached by an enemy) a ‘selection wheel’ surrounds your character and it is from here that you choose your course of action for each turn, but choose wisely as one plan of attack for one enemy type may not be suitable for another. Each character takes one turn to perform their chosen move, but take note, you can use a summons or an item/potion before you attack as they don’t count as part of your turn. Often you’ll be fighting with a buddy at your side such as Butters or Stan and just like your character they come with their own special abilities and attacks. The buddies abilities are varied and change depending on which one you have chosen to use. It also costs a whole turn to switch out your buddy for another one during combat, so try to plan effectively where possible.

Your character’s special abilities and fart attacks (although the latter are the same for all classes) unlock as you level up and progress through the game. Level ups are rewarded with a skill point that you can attach to one of your character’s five special abilities (up to a maximum of five per ability) in order to make it stronger and more effective. There are also perks that can be applied to your character that affect his/her performance during battle and these are unlocked by making friends with the people of South Park. Not everybody will want to be your friend straight from the word go though, often the town folk will require you to complete a side quest for them before they agree to be your friend, or they’ll just not want to be your friend until you’re popular around town. Some town folk have the ability to help during battle in the form of summons, which are almighty attacks that wipe out all current foes in one turn; don’t worry if you think this sounds over powered though as they can only be used once per day per summons, and you must return to that friend and talk to them before you can summon them the following day. During my play through I only unlocked two summons in the form of Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo and Mr. Slave………fans of the show will know what Mr. Slave is like and I can honestly say that after watching his summons unfold in front of me, I have never laughed so hard at a video game before! I won’t spoil it for you, but be prepared to laugh.?

The biggest concern I had for this game was the seemingly difficult challenge of taking the art style, textures and the overall look and feel that the TV show has and converting that to an interactive game world. I must say, after spending quite a bit of time with it now, I really must tip my hat and give props to those people responsible for this area at Obsidian Entertainment and South Park Digital Studios. It looks absolutely fantastic and they have done a great job of a faithful representation of South Park, but most of all the character movement feels so fluid and natural, even with the way they walk; the ‘South Park Shuffle’ as I like to call it. Nearly all the buildings in the town are accessible and can be explored to gain further quests and/or loot, it’s attention to the little details that has really made exploring a joy to do.



I suppose the big question that you’re all wondering is: is it funny? Well……YES! I mean, as long as you find the TV series funny (or at least bearable) then you’ll find laughs in this too. If you can’t stand South Park or get offended easily, then maybe play it with the sound off, because in no way does it deter from the sort of crude humour that we’ve come to expect from Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I do feel it is a shame that here in the EU we've been victims of the reported censoring, but honestly, I actually found those bits kind of funny anyway as even just reading the description of what was ‘meant’ to take place had me laughing. There are little details and jokes that fans of the show will appreciate more than those who aren’t regular watchers, and as a fan, they really do add to the overall South Park experience. I would love to quote some bits to you just to back up what I’m saying but there’s two problems with that: 1) I don’t want to ruin the surprises for you, and 2) I’d like to keep my job!

I found it very hard to fault this game throughout; I did have some issues with the depth of field (especially with ladders) and there were occasional frame rate drops which caused severe stuttering, but then that may just be my old PS3 trying to keep up with things.

All in all, South Park: The Stick of Truth is a fine representation of the South Park world and is a fun, enjoyable but also comprehensive game to play. Personally, I’ve never played a game like this before. It kept me laughing throughout, but also kept me concentrating on my character and his abilities/weapons/equipment like any good RPG should. Could this be the beginning of a new genre……Comedy-RPG? I don’t know for sure, but it’s safe to say, that this is easily the best Comedy-RPG out there.

?Words by James Grantham.
?@JamesGrantham26 | PSN/Xbox LIVE: Redskins2336

(Version Tested: PS3)?

?Pros

+ Faithful representation of the South Park world
+ Detailed and in-depth RPG elements
+ Side-splittingly funny
+ Balanced and enjoyable turn-based combat
+ Looks great. Feels like an interactive episode of the show!??

Cons

- A little short from what is ‘expected’ from an RPG?
- May be offensive to some people (don’t let the kids play it!)

Edited On 04 Mar, 2014

Comments
( 9 )
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 3 years ago
Been waiting for ages for this roll on thurs when i can finally play it big south park fan been watching some of my box sets this week to get me in the mood love the south park humour
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Sounds OK, but I'll wait, it'll be in bargain bins in a month and cheap enough second hand.
JoeToots's avatar
JoeToots 3 years ago
bloody hell assassin you seem to have been looking forward to every game for ages and always cant wait to play them..
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 3 years ago
You know me joe always there day one that's me haha
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 3 years ago
The uncensored scenes are on u-tube now for any adult gamers wishing to see them but your not missing out on much to be honest
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
It isn't the point of not missing out, it is the fact that in this day & age censoring shouldn't be happening. + it's South Park so what the hell do people expect
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 3 years ago
agree entirely Nox when the shows in america are sometimes cut but just saying after reading some comments from people who have played them are saying its just not funny and we are not missing out on much
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Nothing bugs me more than censorship
jay.hamilton's avatar
jay.hamilton 3 years ago
well mine has been dispatched this morning so usually will receive tomorrow, so ill be having a fun weekend, just wish it had a co op mode or something as think it would work well on a turn based game with chat

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