Before I begin, I would just like to go on the record and say that I’m not a fan of South Park. I used to watch waay back in the days of the first season, but gradually, I kind of lost interest in it as the jokes and shock comedy got to be too much for my tastes. Not that I’m a prude by any means, otherwise I would have never been able to get through this game without at least smiling once. That said, playing this game…quite the experience to say the least.
The game opens out with the arrival of the player’s created character known though out the game as the New Kid. A completely voiceless character whose coming to the quiet little mountain was seemingly foretold by prophecy in hopes of ending the feud between centuries old roleplaying enemies, the humans and drow elves. You are immediately recruited by the Grand Wizard Cartman on the side of humans where you are trained in the ways of ancient magic and swordplay. And by ancient magic I mean being able to unleash powerful farts against your enemies. Choosing among four different classes of Warrior, Mage, Thief and Jew (yes, I said Jew), you are tasked with the noble quest of retrieving the universes’ most powerful weapon ever to be forged, The Stick of Truth, after it is stolen in a sneak attack by the elves.
In many ways, the Stick of Truth plays as a tribute to the classic RPGs of old. The battle system is remembrance to old Final Fantasy’s game turn-based set-up where to player chooses attacks between two characters against a series of enemies. The attacks ranged from blunt weapons attacks, long-range, magic and special summons. These system setup is in its’ simplest form here so there isn’t much difficulty in managing your way through it. You have your choice of characters that you wish to take with you along on your journey and each one has their special talents and attacks. For example, Butters is the paladin/healer and can give your health a massive boost with just a few words of encouragement. Now, many of these battles aren’t really mandatory and can usually be avoided just by running past them, but really, to skip them would be missing out on some amusing animation sequences with equally satisfying results.
Upgrading your character is pretty simple here as well. As you progress through the game, you’ll gain experience to expand on certain talents depending on what class you’ve chosen, increasing their effectiveness in battle. Your weapons can be made much more powerful by slapping on power strap-ons (seriously, that’s what their called) that can lower your enemies defense and afflict magical consequences such fire, frost or gross out.
The town of South Park is completely open world here and just about every street yours to travel. There’s a good amount of stuff to do in South Park with available mini-quests from town residents that will award you with weapon and armor upgrades as well as experience points. Although the town itself isn’t as big, you’ll pretty much visit everywhere that was ever in the show.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
The character creation provides tons of variety in making your very own South Park resident. It’s all here to make your character just as weird and unique as you want, all in the same paper cutout fashion as the show. And speaking of which, I have to give praise on how much this game has the appearance of the show. There were many moments where I could not tell the difference between a cut scene and actual gameplay. It was so similar to an actual episode even down to how you start up your game again from a previous save as just as though you were coming back from commercial.
Honestly there is so much in this game that any fan of South Park is going to enjoy. It’s not enough to say that the game creators have made something that the fans are going to love. I think I would go as far as to say this is a good example as to what can happen when enough time, effort and passion is put into a project. Even more so, this is what happened when game creators take the time to know what fans want to see in their games. The creators of the show, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, had a pretty good idea on what their fans want to see and I think it’s fair to say that they delivered here.
There were some minor complaints I had with the game. I found the battle system to be a bit to simple for my tastes to where there wasn’t much point in really loading up your character with advanced gear and weapons. I think I went through most of the game using level 3 weapons and strapons and having very little trouble defeating my enemies. Also, I thought it was pretty lame that I couldn’t use my summons abilities, my most powerful attacks, in boss battles.
These attacks were extremely useful, no doubt, but since I couldn’t use them in boss battles, I found only using these in a fight that I just didn’t want to be bothered with. And that’s kind of a shame. Also the fact that after I used these attacks I couldn’t use them again for a day and even then I had to go back to their place of origin and recruit them all over again. It was very much a hassle and pretty annoying.
Before I end this review, I want to say now that this game is only for mature audiences only! In true South Park fashion, there is a lot here that pushes the envelope to the tenth degree. Nothing is off-limits. The game touches on subjects ranging pedophilia, homosexuality, abortion, race, religion, defecation, nudity and anything else that South Park couldn’t get away with in the show. So be advised, if you have any kind of triggers or is easily offended, you might want to skip this one.