Not so quiet mountain town.
The love affair between South Park and video games has been a one-way street so far. While creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have given us episodes based on everything from Guitar Hero to Pokemon and Tiger Woods PGA Tour, the games industry has given them…Chef’s Luv Shack. All that changes now though as the latest game based on the long-running animated series is not only the best you’ll ever play, but a damn good game in general. The stick of Truth is sharp-witted, fun and deep and it has enough more than enough fan service to go around.
Forget the gimmicky South Park titles of the past, The Stick of Truth puts you right in the middle of everyone’s favorite mountain town and apparently into the middle of a war. Cartman has taken the role of the Wizard King and rules over an army as they do battle with a race of elves over the fabled Stick of Truth. The story is most reminiscent of the episode “The Return of The Fellowship of the Ring to the To Towers,” since the kids are embroiled in this war, but it’s just kids playing to everyone else, and South Park goes on just like normal (well, as normal as South Park can be) to everyone else.
Published by: Ubisoft
Platform: Pc,PS3, Xbox 360
What works: Fun, balanced RPG | Great Fan service |Incredible production values!|
What doesn’t work: Can turn into a bit of a grind-fest
You’ll immediately meet up with Butters, and align yourself with Cartman’s army. You’re given the choice of your class, be it fighter, paladin, thief or…Jew. Each class plays uniquely enough and features a dedicated skill tree that’s a lot of fun to play through and unlock. The fighter for example as a lot of power attacks like Roshambo where you’ll enter into a paper, rock, scissors competition with your enemy and then proceed to kick them square in the crotch. The combat in the game is turn-based and as a guy who doesn’t really like turn-based games, I thought it would be a turn off, but the developers at Obsidian have somehow made it fun and enjoyable even for me. Most attacks are contextual based and allow for better damage to be done when timed correctly, which made each battle a challenge, even if it felt slightly like a grind-fest.
All of this though is just one big reason to give you free reign to travel anywhere you want around South Park. The game is essentially an interactive episode of the show and fans of the series will love truly exploring the world and everything in it. Nearly everything here is interactive, from the town movie theatre to Mr. Garrison’s House and even the City Sushi. You’ll run into familiar characters and thanks to both the writing and voice work of series creators of Matt Stone and Trey Parker they all sound as authentic as they should. Throughout the game, you’ll gain party members and it’s a lot of fun to experiment with their personalities and abilities.
That’s perhaps what I liked best about The Stick of Truth; the fan service. It would have been easy to focus on the four main boys and call it a day but Obsidian has packed the game full of fan service. Walk into a store and one of the show’s many songs are playing on the radio (I nearly lost it when “Taco flavored kisses for my Ben” started playing). You’ll collect Chin-pokomon and run into bit characters from the show including Al Gore and ManBearPig. Be warned though, this is an uncensored (well, as long as you’re not in Europe) version of South Park and the game is full of a ton of off-color jokes that wouldn’t even make air because of standards and practices. They’re funny, provided you’re the right audience.
I had a lot of fun in my time in South Park, laughing more than I have with any game I can remember, but just be warned – it can turn into a bit of a grind-fest towards the middle of the game. Much like an old-school RPG, random encounters will come up out of nowhere and you’re constantly getting quests or fighting as a result. You’ll keep track of your quests via a Facebook like interface, which is also where you’ll manage your inventory, skill-trees and character interactions. It’s a genius and nonthreatening way to handle a lot of data, but you’ll sometimes lose info in between the menus, especially when quests keep coming in.
The Stick of Truth isn’t just a great South Park game, it’s a great game period. It’s a spot-on and fun representation of the world the show has created, full of fan service and inside jokes that’ll stick with those who knew the show. More importantly though, The Stick of Truth features a robust and deep old-school RPG experience that rivals that of some of the best in the genre. If you’re a fan of the series, you need to play The Stick of Truth and if you’re not – this may even change your mind.This review is based on both the PS3 and PC versions of the game, provided by the publisher. We played through both games, experimenting with different classes. Both versions of the game were nearly identical besides a few issues of slowdown later in the PS3 version when the animations got really heavy. We believe in Mr. Hankey.