“South Park: The Stick of Truth” Review
After seemingly countless delays that the animated series even poked fun at, South Park: The Stick of Truth is finally available for everyone to enjoy… well, everyone that likes the profane, suggestive, and obscene comedy the franchise is known for.
What Is It?
Developed by Obsidian, the folks responsible for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, South Park: The Stick of Truth is a role-playing game that stays true to both the genre and television series almost entirely due to its inappropriate, albeit clever, writing.
Like a lot of adventure games these days, the game will require you to create and customize an avatar. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make use of hardware camera technology, so those of you hoping for a South Park interpretation of yourself via any sort of webcam are out of luck.
The game features you, the new kid, first moving into the small town of South Park, Colorado. As is customary in most RPGs, you won’t say much if anything at all, which of course people in town will surely acknowledge. After being encouraged by your parents to make friends, you come across the incredibly lame Butters being attacked by other kids. Upon saving him, he takes you to the Wizard King Cartman, who gives you the name “douchebag,” trains you in combat, and talks about the all-important Stick of Truth, which ends up being stolen by a bunch of elves.
We’d go into a little bit more detail with the story, but in all honesty, it wouldn’t do the game any justice. It’s not that it’s bad — in fact, it’s so bad that it’s hilarious — but if the cartoon (and other crude shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy) provides any indication, the first events in the plot hardly matter as the story soon takes a huge turn.
Why Should I Care?
One of the real joys in this game is the fact you have the freedom to explore 90 percent of South Park almost right away. After getting accepted into Kupa Keep, Wizard King Cartman’s gang of backyard heroes, I was assigned various tasks and duties, including recruiting more kids to join the humans on their quest to recover the Stick of Truth. Instead of taking the missions extremely seriously, I spent a good hour or two messing around while exploring South Park.
Along the way, you can befriend and take on tasks from the likes of non-playable characters like Mrs. Cartman, Mr. Garrison and even Jesus Christ and Al Gore. Upon first meeting these people, they usually become your friend on Facebook, which is actually what the game’s menu system is designed after.
When you’re not playing around in the seemingly open world that is South Park, the bulk of gameplay consists of combat, as in most RPGs. Surprisingly, considering South Park‘s obviously western roots, the combat is turn-based and very closely resembles the battle system from the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi games in the sense that, in South Park, you must tap a button immediately when your opponent strikes in order to defend yourself and vice-versa to cause more damage. Of course, since this is a South Park game, it’ll have its crude twists. Characters can incur more damage when they’re bleeding, and they won’t be able to use healing items (in the form of food) when they’re grossed out (which is usually the result of farting in their faces). And unlike the aforementioned Nintendo games, South Park can at times be more difficult because of its rather punishing AI. However, most of my trouble in battle was due to the fact that I didn’t pay enough attention to my inventory.
As stated, the game’s menus make itself out to look a lot like a social networking tool, so at times it’s easy to forget that this is where you can upgrade your inventory. Some of the weapons and armor you equip also come with a customizable slot in which you can add some sort of status effect. For example, depending on the upgrades you have, you can customize a shirt that’ll increase the power of ranged attacks.
In addition to the battles, there are some fun puzzles to go along with the exploration-heavy gameplay. Early on, the new kid will learn how to fart for the benefit of battle, but the fart and other kinds of buttplay become quite a necessity when it comes to solving puzzles. Oftentimes, you’ll come across areas that you can’t reach because they’re blocked. Normally, if there’s a flame nearby, a flaming fart can blast the obstacles away. A little later in the game, the new kid will also unlock the ability to teleport thanks to a high-tech alien probe shoved up his anus. Yes, this is obscene, but it’s all in good, tasteless fun. If you’re from England or most parts of Europe, however, a lot of this stuff is censored. If you plan on going around region-restrictions, though, you’ve been warned.
What Makes it Worth My Time And Money?
If it wasn’t obvious enough, South Park: The Stick of Truth was made to delight fans of the 15-year-old series. There is a whole lot of fan service here from Terrance and Phillip always being on local TV, to Mrs. Cartman having a load of crack cocaine and sex toys in her room. Chinpokomon, South Park’s Pokémon parody, also made its way to the game as a collectible for fetch quest enthusiasts.
The game itself looks and sounds absolutely stunning. That is, it looks and sounds as good as it can by South Park standards. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, co-creators of the series, lent their writing talents to the game, and it’s definitely the game’s true highlight. As stated, the plot is absolute garbage, but it’s some of the best garbage, which only Parker and Stone are capable of writing.
I’m not even that big of a South Park fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed the 20 hours or so that I spent being a part of the South Park community (although the main game itself is only a little more than 12 hours or so), and using my ass to get out of awkward situations caused by obese friends, aliens, and a giant Taco Bell. If you’ve had this game on your radar since it was announced, rest assured knowing that it was completely worth the wait, and just might be the best licensed game to come out in quite a while.
|Title:||South Park: The Stick of Truth|
|Platform:||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC|
|Release Date:||March 4, 2014|
|Editor's Note:||An Xbox 360 version of the game was provided by the publisher.|