A Battle For The Ages
After suffering an incredible amount of delays and an auctioning of the property which saw Ubisoft buy the game from the crumbled THQ – South Park: The Stick of Truth has had it pretty hard. However, it’s finally here and unsurprisingly, it’s damn good.
The Stick Of Truth centers its story in the universe of the Black Friday episodes seen a couple of seasons ago in the TV Show. You play as the ‘new kid’ who has just moved into town after running away from some sort of organization. The reason why you ran away with your family is hinted at throughout the games duration but for the sake of this review I’ll aim to steer away from any insight whatsoever. Your goal is to make some new friends, but in doing this you engage in a war between the Elves and the Humans. You meet the wonderful cast from the TV Show pretty early on and from there it’s time to wage war!
What had me a little on the sceptic’s side of things was how a South Park game would incorporate both RPG elements and turn-based combat instead of the free-flowing chaotic combat I’m adamant a lot of us are so used to. The way it’s handled within the game is probably one of the most surprising and awesome things about it. It works, feels solid and it’s actually incredibly deep. Not only do you buy/receive different types of weapons throughout the game, but during your time in South Park you retrieve ‘Weapon Strap-ons’ which act as weapon modifiers and can really up the ante when you need them to. Some weapons can carry two, some only one but each modifier you put on will in some way or another add to the overall strength of the weapon. You can add a modifier that’ll increase shock damage or frost customizable. Not only are modifiers used on weapons, but they’re used on the equipment you put on as well. Your clothes act as a second modifier and again, can really change the tide of battle in your favor. The way you fight is simple and intuitive at the same time, as you have a wheel that allows you to select what you want during combat instead of a laid out menu. Navigating the wheel is incredibly easy and makes for a system that doesn’t need to be studied for hours on end to understand. Making use of the ‘examine’ option is very important however, as it shows the weaknesses and immunities of your enemies. This can come in handy late in the game when enemies are more powerful and can unleash attacks that can cause a lot of damage in a small amount of time. The way Obsidian Entertainment have made the combat system in The Stick of Truth is brilliant, and in its own way can be quite addicting when you get the hang of the abilities each character on your buddy list possesses.
“It all adds together to make an incredibly deep and satisfying combat experience.”
While the main quest-line of The Stick of Truth took me around 8 hours to finish, there was still a heck of a lot to do after I completed it. These side-quests not only add to your overall level (which is capped at 15), but are absolutely hilarious as well. You’ll come across various characters from the TV Show and have a blast doing whatever you have to do for them. A specific one I thoroughly enjoyed was battling Stan’s sister, also known as the ‘She-ogre’. While it was only a boss fight, it was hilarious and really just emanated the tone of what the game is going for – that being a fun, hilarious experience for a fan of the show to truly bask in.
Throughout these side-quests you’ll find many particularly useful items to aid you on your travels and you’ll honestly just generally have a great time completing all of them. I’m usually not one for various amounts of side-quests, but in The Stick of Truth I wanted to complete them all because they are both hilarious and incredibly satisfying to complete.
It’s not all glitz and glamour for The Stick of Truth though, as I did come in contact with various amounts of stuttering and at one point my whole game forgot how to produce English onscreen. However, I feel like the former point is probably nowhere to be seen in the PC version and the latter point was just an odd glitch that comes around every blue moon. It’s just something we get on consoles that have been around for the last 7 – 8 years and it’s definitely more prevalent in other titles but it does pull from the experience every now and then. Another thing that I’d like to point out is that the game is particularly disturbing at points, garnering an R18+ rating in Australia even with certain scenes pulled. It’s just a fair warning and I’m sure South Park fans won’t mind as it’s something that we’ve grown used to over the many years the series has been running for but if your stomach is a little weak you might want to avoid the game as it is quite confronting at certain points. That said, South Park fans will have the tolerance built up already but again, it is pretty intense so a fair warning to you all.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is truly the definitive South Park experience. I’d go as far to say that it’s the best TV-to-Game adaptation I’ve ever played. It’s hilarious, it’s a lot of fun and most of all it’s an incredibly satisfying experience for fans of the TV Show. While there are some problems with it technically (on consoles) and it can be quite confronting at certain points, I couldn’t help but continue playing to become the one and truly awesome, ‘new kid’.
Platforms: PS3 (Reviewed), Xbox 360, PC
A review copy of the game was provided by the publisher.