Goin’ down to South Park, gonna have myself a time?
Over the years, here have been several South Park games ranging from bad to average, the past two on XBLA have been decent but small in scale and not exactly what fans wanted. The Stick of Truth hopes to fix that by providing a lengthy RPG that feels like an extended episode of the show, but can Matt and Trey pull it off with Obsidian, the studio behind Fallout New Vegas?
The story follows the new kid that has moved to South Park, you customise the kid any way you wish but he doesn’t have any dialogue, which makes cutscenes awkward and hilarious as they all seem to point out that your character doesn’t talk. The story begins by focusing on the Stick of Truth, which is held by the Grand Wizard Cartman and his army, but soon after it is stolen by the Elves led by Jimmy the Bard.
Not all is at it seems though as soon you are abducted and probed, Nazi Zombies invade the town and you even end up fighting underpants gnomes on your parents bed while they are having sex, yes you read that right, and you even have to avoid being whacked by your dad’s testicles, which funnily enough isn’t censored but quite a number of the scenes are…sadly. The scenes censored involve anal probing and abortion, I haven’t seen the uncensored scenes yet but the European version gets a picture of the EU flag with a statue hanging its head in shame with a text box explaining what happens in the scene while also mocking Europe for missing out. It’s quite clever of Matt and Trey, since the decision to censor was taken out of their hands and it’s a real mystery as to why, Ubisoft claims it was a marketing decision and maybe that’s the case, all I know is that the fans are far from happy.
The game itself looks and feels just like South Park, you can explore the whole town while gathering new friends and collectables, including new weapons and Chinpokomon figures as well as tackling side quests which can involve anything from finding Jesus to beating up hobos and everything in-between. Combat is turn-based and quite rewarding as long as you time your attacks right, it reminds me of the combat in Paper Mario where you have to tap the button at the right time to inflict extra damage or to take less yourself and even counter. Sometimes it can be a little awkward, but overall it’s a decent system.
As far as an RPG goes, The Stick of Truth is a basic one. You level up by fighting and completing quests, which you can then level up a power but perks such as doing extra damage or gaining mana or PP back in battle is earned by gaining friends via the game’s version of Facebook, which is a nice touch as now and then you’ll get messages posted on your Facebook wall from your friends with random but hilarious dialogue.
The visual style is so close to the show that it’s uncanny, sometimes it’s hard to tell that you’re actually playing a game and not watching an episode. They’ve pulled out all the stops with cameos from more or less every South Park character you’ve come across while watching over the years. The script is priceless and I really don’t know how they get away with half the things in the game, I love South Park and have been laughing non-stop from start to finish.
South Park: The Stick of Truth may not be the most in-depth RPG, but it’s the most rude, crude and hilarious game I’ve ever come across. If you ever wanted to explore the town and kick the crap out of Kyle or Cartman, then this is the perfect opportunity. It’s a shame about the censored content, but it doesn’t stop the game from being a must-have for any fan of the show. All I can say is…please make a sequel!!