South Park: The Stick of Truth -
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Genre: Role Playing
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Pricing: MSRP $59.99
South Park is now closing in on over two decades, and is starting to gap generations of humor. Unlike the Simpsons, or Family Guy, South Park chooses to not only poke fun at modern culture, but is extremely vulgar at the same time. The vulgarity is childish and some might dismiss it as unsophisticated humor. Without going too much into the actual show, this game is only for fans of the series. I must repeat and emphasize, only for fans of South Park! I will also attempt to talk about the various aspects of the game without any spoilers, so feel free to read on. I cannot stress enough, the best part of the game is the story, so watching online videos might spoil some parts.
The story is this game’s focus. It is more or less, a giant episode of South Park. I would compare it to the movie. It is obviously longer than a standard episode, but still is a very fluid story found in the world of South Park. If you enjoy the show, this game does a great job of telling a funny, engaging story. The game starts with you playing the part of the “new kid” in South Park. You are introduced to your parents and the story kicks off. They make a few jokes about not talking, because you never do! You start meeting the people in South Park and the story starts pretty much immediately. The movement of the game consists of a side view and you can explore just about anywhere with a door. You find tons of objects, useless and useful. Plenty of fan service in the items throughout the game, past episodes or inside jokes found in the South Park universe. It is also pretty neat to see the entire town of South Park. Up until this point, you really have only seen parts of the little mountain town, but never in a continuous fashion. Everything is here, and as a fan, it is great. The map navigation is great, easy and never cumbersome. You eventually unlock a “Fast Travel” system which makes the later parts of the game flow a little better. It does take a fair amount of time to travel from one end to the other on foot. The basic elements of a RPG is here in the map layout, you have towns, merchants, plenty of NPCs to talk with. It is safe to say the movement is solid. Also quest items are marked on the map, so if you are lost at any time, you can quickly figure out where to go next.
The combat tutorial gives you the basic controls, and it is turn based with a little quick time mixed in. If you strike at the right time, you can earn bonus damage, and if you defend at the right time, you can prevent more damage. You have buffs and ailments just like any RPG would have. You also have a variety of magic attacks as well as melee. It is also important to point out, you will heal fully after each battle, so potions are only used in battle. Additionally you can enhance each attack with your farts at any time if you have enough saved up. If you don’t have enough gas, no problem, just eat a burrito! If you enjoy fart jokes, this game is more or less built around your character’s ability to fart in a variety of ways. I thought the combat was pretty solid, and enjoyable. Also, if you complete certain missions, you can equip a one time use summon ability. You can re-equip only once per day, but definitely worth the humor, and assured victory on any non-boss fights. Towards the end game, it does get a little repetitive, and you do become almost over powered. I only played on the normal difficulty, so I may try to play on a harder difficulty. Overall the combat is enjoyable but don’t expect the next sophisticated turn based RPG combat system.
The visuals are perfect. Well, perfect for South Park. It is identical to the show in every way. I guess some people could say “Photo-realism” has arrived! I played on the PC version but expect the PS3 and Xbox versions to be identical. Load times are short, but they still exist. Sound is also just like the show. Be sure to pay attention to any background music in the buildings. You might recognize a few songs. The attention to the visual detail is really the best part of this game.
There is very predictable South Park humor at every turn, all the recognizable characters, and even some surprises. Take your time and be sure to explore every room, and talk to everyone to get the full enjoyment out of the game. It took me just under 18 hours to finish the entire game, and clear my quest log. It definitely felt like the right length. You should buy this game if you enjoy casual RPGs, and think South Park is funny.