GAME NAME: South Park: The Stick of Truth
DEVELOPER(S): Obsidian Entertainment
PLATFORM(S): PC, Xbox 360, PS3
RELEASE DATE(S): March 4th, 2014
South Park is one of the most successful animated TV shows to have ever existed. It’s also no stranger to making people laugh with 17 seasons under its belt and a fan base of millions. However, when it comes to video games based on a show, regardless of the show’s quality, things get a little less funny and often times down right terrible. There have been many games over the years to ride on the South Park licence, and while some were average none of them really captured the essence of the show and its characters that was worthy of praise. The show’s creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, know this and decided to work closely with developers Obsidian for South Park: The Stick of Truth, but should they stick to making the show instead of games?
South Park: The Stick of Truth sees the player fill the small shoes of “The New Kid”, a brand new face in South Park that you get to custom design. Once you have ‘South Parked’ yourself, you are forced outside by your father to make some new friends. Luckily, the new kid is a little socialite and making friends is a breeze. You join up with Cartman, AKA The Grand Wizard, and his faction of Humans as you declare war on the Elves lead by the Elf King Kyle. The Stick of Truth controls all the powers in the universe according to the boys, which means each side wants it, and will do anything to obtain it. What starts off as an innocent backyard game quickly escalates, and before you know it, there is a crashed alien space ship in town turning everyone into Nazi zombies.
The story is exactly what you would expect from South Park with plenty of offensive material packed in, but at the same time its hilariously funny. That’s another thing, if you are not a South Park fan this game is most likely not for you. Having watched South Park from Eric’s very first anal probe in season one, I can tell you this game was made for the fans. Their reason for that is there are so many throw back jokes to the previous episodes that only a seasoned South Park fan would understand. If you are well versed with the likes of Manbear pig, the Mongolians and Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo, then the game becomes a nostalgia overload of flashbacks to some of the series’ funniest moments.
When you are not laughing at fart jokes or taking part in one of the many creative mini-games, such as the abortion mini game, which was more frustrating than it was offensive (My version was not censored by the way), you will be focusing on the turn based combat. In a similar style to the that of Paper Mario, combat is handled in a simplified turn based mechanic, where each fighter gets to choose an attack, spell or potion to use. Each turn allows you to first use a potion or utility spell, or in this case eating a cheese and bean burrito. You can use a spell on either yourself or a member of your party before performing your attack. Attacks are all time sensitive and hitting a prompted button too early or late will result in a much weaker attack.
Performing these attacks perfectly will result in rewards such as an extra turn or a power boost. The attacks themselves are hilarious; Timmy is able to play the ‘Brown note “resulting in your opponents soiling themselves, whereas Princess Kenny will flash
his her bare chest at foes breaking their defences, leaving them hypnotized by your beauty. South Park: The Stick of Truth is an RPG at its core, and you are able to free roam around South Park to visit all your favourite locations from the show and interact with most of the lead characters. You level up and unlock new attacks and abilities as you go and you eventually master the art of the perfect fart. Farting is actually a big part of the game (This is South Park after all); your farting or as Cartman calls it “magic” ability allows you to interact with various scenes. If there is an open flame behind a barricade, you can cup-a-fart to throw it over a distance igniting the flame and destroying the barricade. You can also sneak a fart behind enemies before engaging in battle, distracting them to avoid combat all together. There are plenty of ways to use your farts throughout the environment to try and defeat your opponents from a distance; there are also plenty of hidden treasure chests and chinpokamon (Gotta collect em all) hidden throughout South Park.
You track and upgrade your farts and many other powers on Facebook, where you will also find hilarious Facebook status updates from all your friends. The most import thing about South Park: The Stick of Truth is that it feels and looks exactly like the show, so much so that people would think you were watching the show if they walked in on you playing. It captures the source material perfectly, and turns it into a hilarious 16-20 hour adventure packed with fan service, jokes, anal probes, controversial abortion mini games and above all, the best South Park game fans could hope for.