South Park: The Stick Of Truth

"It was very brave, what you did in that man's butthole."

Posted in Game Reviews on March 14, 2015
Prod 10

It was a miracle that we even get to be able to playSouth Park: The Stick of Truth.The game has had a rough production history over the years from game creator's THQ collapse meant the game was an orphan in and out of foster homes until it landed into Ubisoft's hands with numerous delays. You would be forgiven in fearing the worst of this title. That being said after spending 30 minutes on the game and those fears and worries will disappear as you quickly realize that you playing something truly amazing here.South Park: The Stick of Truthis not only one of the best licensed games you’ll play, it is a deeply rewarding RPG that will keep you entertained throughout it’s entire duration. As long as you don’t get offended by anything like fighting Nazi Zombie aborted fetuses or throwing your excrement at a enemy that is.

South Park is torn by war of two teams of kids protecting a magic stick. Just when they thought it would be simple, a new threat is aiming at South Park. Their only hope is the new kid "You".

The story is straight out of the classicSouth Parkplaybook and if you’ve seen the recent console wars trilogy of episodes you will be immediately aware of what’s going on here. You play as a new kid who has moved to South Park for unknown reasons and you must simply make friends and settle in as much as possible. The boys are of course playing their usual role playing games and this time it involves keeping hold of the all powerful stick that controls the universe.

I’m a huge fan of the show. Literally, I watch it almost every single day on, and I’ve seen every single episode so far more than once. I love, love, love South Park (especially the earlier episodes). So when I booted this game up, and stepped out into South Park for the first time, I couldn’t help but smile when I saw how similar the game looked to an episode of the show. Aside from South Park being fully rendered and explorable, there’s little love notes to the fans hidden all over the world. One time, I opened the four main boy’s closets and I found dozens of references to past episodes.

The game plays similarly to the classic RPGs of the Playstation era. There’s a large, fairly open world for you to explore, with turn based battles that take place on a separate battle screen. You can see your enemies in the world, which allows you to debuff them before the fight with your farts and arrows, and it also allows you to hit them before they hit you which gives you and your teammate the first round of the battle. The combat is more or less what you’d expect from a game like this, you attack, end of turn, your enemy attacks, etc. There is one big difference though. Most of your moves, including your basic attack, must be charged with a button combination. For instance, I was a thief character, and I had a backstab move that did massive damage and made my enemies bleed for damage over time (DOTs or DPS). As my character pulled his dagger out, I was prompted to press “A” (I played the game on a PC with an Xbox 360 controller) a number of times to maximize the effect of the attack. These combo style moves aren’t limited to your character alone, as your party members, Kyle, Stan, Cartman, Kenny, Jimmy, and Butters, also have moves that need to be charged for maximum damage. This is a totally fun mechanic and it spruces up what would otherwise be a simple hit and be hit affair. However, between all the characters (including yours) there’s not enough moves or summons (of which there are only four) to keep things really interesting. I used Stan as my party member for a vast majority of the game, and by the end of my playtime I’d grown sick of his different special moves’ animations. A little more variety in the attacks would have helped this game from getting redundant in the later stages. That said though, all the special moves are fun to watch initially, and even more fun to execute. One of my favorites was Cartman’s V-Chip attack, which not only serves as a reference to the hilarious climax of Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, but allows you to charge the attack but having Cartman utter profanities in rapid succession. Never in any video game has a character attacked their enemies by shouting things like “dog butt” or “christians”.

This game does have some drawbacks though. It seems very short, even with all the side quests and the main quest. I did all but one of the side quests and the game took me roughly 10 hours to beat. Alongside massive RPGs like Skyrim and Fallout, this one seemed to be really underdone in terms of sheer playability. Some random events or never ending quest chains would have made this a far better game. Also, upon completion of the story, you’re basically dropped back into the world with nothing left to do. You can’t go back and access quests you missed, and there’s no enemies to fight in the world, making this game lose a lot of replayability. If you want to see something you missed the first time, be prepared to start all over again. The story, while certainly living up to the current standards of South Park’s episodes, loses a lot of steam towards the end. I’m a huge fan of the earlier South Park episodes because I feel that they were far more witty. The newer episodes tend to have more gross out humor than anything else, and especially lately, the series has suffered for it. This absolutely falls in the latter, and without the censors at Comedy Central around, the writers had free reign to include such shocking scenes as your parents having sex as you fight a battle right under them (it’s a long, spoilery story), or Randy getting anally raped by strange alien machines. These scenes are ten times more graphic than the show, and will certainly elicit an “Oh man! Gross!”, but the game lacks the subtle satire that made South Park on television so good in the first place.

The sound design is perfect as all the characters are voiced by their TV show counterparts and everything feels just like it should. So many little touches have been made such as hearing Terrance and Phillip episodes when you walk past a TV to hearing so many songs from the show’s past when you walk into a shop such as the montage song or Sexual Harassment Panda’s theme tune.

The loot you collect which can be sold for money is mainly references from the show which ranges from every episode throughout the show’s history. Basically, if you have a favorite episode, there probably is at least one reference to it in this game. The fan service on display is unlike anything I have ever seen in a game before and the more you like the show, the more you are gonna love playing this game.

Outside of the main quest is a bunch of different side quests that have you meet tons of familiar faces from the show’s past. They range from the simple such as helping Stan fight his older sister Shelley to get his iPod back to the epic such as helping Al Gore track down ManBearPig, with hilarious consequences. These all help to break up the main quest and lengthen the game to be around twelve hours long to finish. This is short for an RPG but this isn’t a traditional RPG.

There is zero grinding involved in the entire game. You also rarely have to go to the same place multiple times, there are actually entire sequences you will only see once. With grinding and repeating content, they could have easily doubled the time it takes to finish but there really is no need. It feels like a complete and focused experience this way. Plus you can always replay it if you crave more like myself.

Character customization plays a huge part in the game as you can choose pretty much everything you see on your character. After initially choosing your characters looks you can change your outfit from hundreds of different options, each with their own battle benefits. You unlock more as you progress as well as buying them from the cash you procure. You can even change your characters looks by going to Tom’s Rhinoplasty for an expensive procedure. I’d recommend the Hasselhoff nose job for one of the game’s best jokes.

When it comes down to it you really have to ask yourself, how much do you likeSouth Park? Even though I thoroughly believe that this game has very solid and fun RPG mechanics, it is still wrapped up completely in South Park’s brand of humor. If you don’t like the show it will be hard to put up with a fart joke for the 10th time in a row just to play the game. If you like the show then I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t have a blast playing this game.

As a fan who grew up loving the show and has faded in and out of love with it over the years,South Park: The Stick of Truthwas a complete breath of fresh air and has invigorated the entire show for myself. After completion I immediately wanted to go back and watch old episodes and reminisce all the great moments that are so greatly represented in this game. I don’t think we’ll ever see a bigger love letter or faithful recreation of a TV show like this again and this is definitely one to soak and enjoy for a long time indeed.

In Summary

The Good
  • Perfectly Captures the South Park Universe
  • Rewarding Combat, Exploration and Looting
  • Never fails to keep you laughing
The Bad
  • Rather Short
  • Restricted Small World
  • Little replayability