Review: South Park: The Stick of Truth
This title has had a long time coming, suffering from numerous delays due to employee layoffs, development issues and of course THQ closing it’s doors and having the assets transferred over to Ubisoft. In retrospect this game did not have a bright future as past South Park games were complete disasters. Fast forward 3 years after the initial announcement of the game and I can happily say this is one of the better licensed games I’ve ever played.
You play as the new kid in town with a shadowy past. After customizing everything on your character except the gender you run into Butters as your first friend in town. He brings you over to Cartman’s house where everybody is playing Drui- Warriors and Wizards.
You get to choose your class ranging from: Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew. From there you’ll learn how the turn based combat system works which is very similar to Paper Mario. It requires a lot of timing both during offensive and defensive situations. The town of South Park then opens up for you throwing you into crazy situations such as trying to befriend the goth kids, raiding a meth lab out in Kenny’s backyard to traveling north and exploring an 8-bit version of Canada. The variety is absolutely stunning and it’s one of South Park’s shining features.
Everything about this game feels authentic from the graphics, writing, jokes and references. It’s like 2 seasons of interactive South Park content. Drawing from 17 seasons of content, showrunners Matt Stone and Trey Parker have made this game capture the essence of South Park more than the show itself. Not bound by the restrictions of television the game’s raunchy and vulgar humor is amplified. There is one quest where you have to go up Mr. Slave’s rectum, while in there you find all sorts of things and lets just say a dildo is the least bit strange item you’ll find up there. Stomping on Nazi zombie fetuses, getting anal probed, watching your in-game parent get it on and conducting abortions let’s just say it’s hard to believe this game was made at all. It strives to push the boundaries of censorship and it’s the kind of humor fans have come to expect.
The presentation end of things are down to a tee. The result of the video game treatment for this series is completely unscathed. The volume of jokes of references is mind boggling, practically every character from the series makes an appearance in the game and every corner of the game is littered with detail. Obsidian’s mission to make this game feel genuine borderlines on an obsessive level as the game just feels like a giant love letter to fans.
Unfortunately the gameplay side of things is where the game starts to bother me. It’s a solid role playing game with lots of different items, customization, status effects pretty much everything you’ve come to expect from an RPG. Which would be perfect if the game didn’t do such a terrible job at explaining itself. The tutorial while very entertaining is too short and skimps out on a lot of fundamentals. Even 4-5 hours into the game I found myself discovering essential things i could do through the loading screen tool tips. Most of the tips are relagated to an in game manual in the start menu to explain every single aspect of the game to you, but it’s a pictureless giant wall of text that most players will not even bother looking at. This concerns me a lot as this game is marketed towards South Park fans, yet I as a long time gamer was constantly frustrated because the game just failed to inform me on key fundamentals.
The melee combat feels like a watered down Paper Mario with non of the same kind of elegance or flair. There isn’t much feedback on combat queues, I constantly found myself not being able to execute new moves just because the game was uninformative. Not to mention most of my experience of the game was just squinting at the screen anticipating the next glint of my weapon so that i know when to press a button. The quick time events and button mashing queues are also poorly done as there is no indication to whether or not you’re button prompts are having any effect to the gameplay. That’s not to say the special abilities aren’t entertaining. Certain characters have ridiculous moves such as Butters’ Professor Chaos and Cartman’s farting moves, but even this bright spot in the game is eclipsed by the fact you can only have one character in your party at a time. You do get a nice variety of Cartman, Stan, Kyle, Kenny, Butters and Jimmy but this just feels like a lost opportunity for something better.
The interface lacks any sort of way to sort your hundreds of items which is just embarrassing as key things like this are a no-brainer for a RPG. The map is just dreadful as it’s magnified by default and the only option is to magnify it even more. One very nice touch I must mention though is the in-game Facebook, charaters constantly have status updates and the more friends you make the more ability perks you earn which is a nice mechanic that encourages exploration outside of the main storyline.
At times this fully priced retail game feels very cheap. Characters will get stuck or slide around the screen, throw projectiles won’t work, music will cut out and there was considerable frame rate issues on the Playstation 3 for me. This game just lacks polish all around which is very ironic seeing as how most of their care and attention went towards the details of the game.
Verdict: Buy it if you are a South Park fan, skip it if you are not.
What it boils down to is that South Park: Stick of Truth is game that is more fun to watch than it is to be played. The execution of gameplay stumbles way too far to be much fun as a role playing game completely losing anybody looking to purchase this video game for the purpose of having fun. Especially if you are sensitive or easily offended.
That being said South Park fans will completely adore this game and it’s one of the best licensed video game games every right beside Goldeneye 007 and the Batman: Arkham series.
and he is firing that gun on top of Groot, a giant tree like being with super powers.
But lets face it, we’d still watch Rocket Raccoon over Wonder Women.
- me: hey maybe today's gonna be a good day
- hair: no
- family: no
- school: no
- life: no