South Park: The Stick of Truth review
You will respect my Authoritah.....and play this game!
We all know the deal: Majorly popular television show or feature film turned into a game to earn the corporate giants another quick buck. The problem with this, of course, is that most of the time, the games turn out to resemble a giant turd; something that should be flushed down the toilet to never see the light of day again. Anyone remember Superman 64? You only remember it, because it was that bad! Here’s another one! Remember that South Park FPS game released back in 1998? Yeah, I used mine as a coaster too, and consciously split as much beer as possible over it. We can all agree that most film/tv to game adaptations are failures. However, some times, one actually works. I can tell you right now, that the new South Park game; The Stick of Truth, doesn’t just work, but excels! SP:TSOT presents absolutely everything that we have loved about the show for the past 17 years and this is majorly due to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone having full control over the project. This game is hilarious. This game is addictive and most importantly; this game makes you feel like you are in an episode of South Park. If South Park has ever put a smile on your face, then do not look past this title. It is superb!
You are the new kid on the block, a silent protagonist who is put into the action the moment he steps out of his simple South Park home. All the other kids are caught up in a massive, epic role playing game as either a human or an elf. You begin helping out the humans at their base in Cartmans back yard, and do whatever your fearless leader, Cartman, tells you to do. The battle between the two ‘races’ revolves around The Stick of Truth, and it is soon your job to recover this stolen item. This is just the tip of the iceberg. This seemingly fun, harmless game that the kids started soon turns into an all-out war that takes over the entire town. I enjoyed every single moment of this adventure and laughed my ass off more than I ever have with a video game. The only problem with this is that it was all over in a few days. SP: TSOT is pure quality, but suffers from a severe lack of quantity and this really left me wanting more. My fingers are crossed that its success will see a sequel in the near future.
Humans be hangin’ at the pub
Before you begin your merry adventure through the lands of South Park, you will need to create a character. This is pretty much just like the character creators we’ve all played on the internet. I called my character Pesmerga (inspired from my favourite RPG, Suikoden II) but regardless of what you call the little fella, the other kids will call him Douche Bag (Naturally, Cartman starts it). It is a lot of fun progressing through the story and discovering how all your favourite characters make their mark on the plot; whether it be Al Gore and his determination to hunt down Man-Bear-Pig, or our favourite Christmas Poo playing family down in the sewers. Just about all of the characters play a role to some extent this constantly brought a smile to my face, often followed by my ass being laughed off.
One of the challenges faced by creators Matt and Trey was constructing the town of South Park in a way that doesn’t contradict itself from the cartoon. This meant that every location had to be in a logical place. Being able to explore the town that we have grown to love is a lot of fun. Whether it be opening the storage cells at U-Stor-it, or searching through the *bleep* in Cartmans mums top drawer, there’s always something to find. In fact, I spent hours at the start of the game walking around, exploring everywhere I could, and the amount of small, subtle references to past episodes were astounding. You can tell that the developers spent a LOT of time making South Park exactly what we would expect from watching the cartoon. I guess the only downside to this magnificent town is the horrible amount of lag experienced when switching from one screen to the next. Every time you change screens within the main town, you can expect about 4 seconds of extreme lag. It got to the point where I would actually sit and wait for the lag to stop every time I entered a new area. This is often a mood killer and definitely takes away from your immersion into the game.
SP:TSOT features a simple class system allowing gamers to choose from the Warrior, Mage, Thief or…… Jew classes (yeah….. you heard me). This system is about as simple as you could imagine, so those chasing a complex class or customisation system should look elsewhere. However, it does its job in fitting within the context of the game. Each class has 5 unique special battle abilities but the Perks (or skills) and equipment that can be used is the same for every class, resulting in very limited replayability. Becoming a powerhouse in battle (and you will rarely need to, considering the lack of challenge that this game offers) is almost entirely dependent on the weapon or armour that you currently have equipped. This system requires very minimal thought or strategy which is something that I would like to see improved upon in future titles.
Princess Kenny doesn’t act kindly towards Gingers
Elves, zombies, rabid dogs, aliens, you name it. SP:TSOT will pit you against quite the range of enemies. You are rarely expected to battle alone, however you can only ever have one companion at a time which is very rare for a turn based system. The battles are fairly simple and most gamers will learn the ins and outs within the first hour. Your character and companion can attack with their melee weapon, their ranged weapon, used a special ability or unleash a fart attack (which I never once found useful in battle). The interesting thing here is the quick action option. Prior to their main, offensive attack, each party member can use either an item from the inventory, or their own unique quick ability. Choosing which quick actions to take make things interesting from a strategic point of view, however this is also one of the systems biggest weaknesses as it makes it possible to fully heal everyone at the start of the round and THEN attack which pretty much destroys any level of difficulty that the game has to offer. In fact, there was only one opponent that posed any form of a challenge, and he was fought through an optional side quest. Ultimately, a single strategy can be applied to just about every opponent. On the plus side, the battles are constantly hilarious, but I wouldn't expect anything else.
Exploring the wonderful world of South Park is thoroughly enjoyable and by doing so, you’ll discover a lot about your favourite characters by undertaking a series of side quests for them. Most of these quests are simple fetch quests but a few of them are unique enough to keep things interesting. If you do the right thing by these characters (which sometimes simply involves talking to them), they will add themselves to your Facebook profile. By doing so, you’ll unlock more Perks for your characters. ChinPokémon also make a return. These dolls are scattered around the world and finding them all will require quite the hide and seek expert. These quests only add an extra 10 or so hours onto the already short main story, so you can expect to finish the game, with everything completed, in about 20 hours.
I seriously hope they washed that first……
Going out on a picnic, watching Jeopardy on the colour TV, and knitting a sweater for your cat. These are three things that are perfectly acceptable to do with your Grandmother. Drinking a line of Tequila shots, having a good old fashion gang bang, or watching South Park…… not so much. Everyone knows what to expect from our rude, crude trio of Third Graders, so it should come to no surprise that SP:TSOT is just the same. Why then, did certain countries decide to censor some of the scenes? Australia, I’m looking at you. The last thing a gamer wants is to have a CENSORED screen pop up at multiple points in the game. This is South Park! It’s nothing we haven’t seen on the show! If you can get your hands on the US version, do it! Otherwise, like me, you will be grinding your teeth, waiting for the censored screen to disappear.
If someone asked me to sum up South Park: The Stick of Truth in one word, I would say “hilarious”. It truly is exactly what you would expect from the show, to the point that it feels like you are actually in an episode. Laughs can be found around every corner and the attention to detail is noticeable at every turn, which is a result of Matt and Trey taking control of the project. The South Park factor gets a ten out of ten and I don’t see any possible way to reflect the show more effectively. In terms of its transition to a video game, SP:TSOT is as shiny as Dr. Phil’s head on the surface, but those expecting a deep character development and battle system, or lengthy plot, will be left starving for more. South Park is a great game, but the potential to be even greater clearly there.
About the author
- South Park - The Complete Twelfth Season (Movie)2008
- South Park - The Complete Tenth Season (Movie)2006
- South Park - The Complete Ninth Season (Movie)2005
- South Park - The Complete Eighth Season (Movie)2004
- South Park - The Complete Seventh Season (Movie)2003
- South Park - The Complete Sixth Season (Movie)2002
- South Park - The Complete Fifth Season (Movie)2001
- South Park - The Complete Fourth Season (Movie)2000