South Park: The Stick of Truth
“There’s a brilliant South park episode about that” is a common sentence used by yours truly. My wife roles her eyes every time as I go on and on about the intricate plot points involved in your favorite crappily-animated-on-purpose TV show. Now that I can add “There’s a brilliant level in the South Park game about that” to my repertoire, my wife will be thrilled.
I have barely played any RPG’s in my time connected to various consoles, choosing to be very careful about the specific games from the genre I lend my time too. When I heard that the South Park game was going to be an RPG, I was not excited, due to both my RPG aversion and South Parks lackluster record with games. The tower defense game released a few years ago, which can at most give a living room of die hard South Park fans a long evening of fun, stands as the only semi high point.
This trend of underwhelming games taken from an outstanding series meant the anticipation for TSOT remained tepid until very close to release. A production filled with seemingly constant delays meant that we were getting into a Duke Nukem situation where the end result couldn’t possibly live up to the build up. The news that Matt and Trey were writing the entire script and over seeing the entire game gave people hope, but how could they keep the quality levels up when they also write a TV series and over see a West end and Broadway musical? The lack of game play at conventions worried me as it normally means that a producer isn’t confident in the progression of the game. Then I started to worry that the game would just be a game full of call backs to the show, only designed to be entertaining for fans of the show without any game play to back it up or storyline to produce an actual emotional response.
In summery I was worried. I was still going to buy it on day of release, but I was very, very cautious. Then I bought it and promptly went on holiday for a week which only raised the tension I had already built up. Finally after years of waiting I was able to start the game and found the walls protecting my love for South Park, built up in case the game turned out to be horrible, were torn down.
The look of the game is perfect, both in how it manages to look identical to the TV series but more crucially, how you get around the world. The fixed camera angles don’t hide anything from you or make getting around awkward. The actual town of South Park is lovingly recreated and easy to get around. The controls are simple to pick up and make sense even in the later part of the game when more and more powers are added to your character. Crucially the story and script make sense in the South park world. It may not make sense if you are expecting a realistic RPG, but nothing is shoe horned in and everything is believable. I was actually going to write an example of some fantastical idea that Matt and Trey could add to the show and it still make sense, however I actually couldn’t think of anything more strange or shocking than what they’ve already done. I think that proves my point well enough.
This is in no way a cheap cash in on the series. This is a valuable addition to the South park world and should be played by anyone who is even a casual fan.
I mentioned before that I’m not an RPG mark and I feel like this game was aimed squarely at my level of RPG interest. The turn based fighting style is easy to pick up and keeps you interested by adding small quick time events to each attack. It’s also a perfect length for me. I finished the game in 13ish hours and I was able to complete almost every quest and make friends with almost everyone. I was talking to a friend about this very point and he sounded disappointed at the relatively short run time. However I can’t spend 40+ hours on a game and still write a semi active blog. It’s the main reason I never started Mass Effect and is my cross to bare. To be able to finish a game in two to three hard core sessions is just about perfect and South Park nailed it.
Due to my location I was stuck with the censored version of the game which actually turned out to be funnier than the original in my opinion having watched both thanks to the internet(Proving the pointlessness of censorship in the modern world). The notice describing the cut scene accompanied by elevator music made the scene sound much worse than it actually was. It actually filled a part of the gap the an uncensored script left. For those of you outside of Britain, whenever we got to watch South Park the various cusses of Cartman and co were censored making the show funnier in my opinion. I would have liked a bleeping option for those few like me who prefer their rudeness implied. Those few may just include me, granted, so I understand why that option wasn’t given.
I can’t review a game for someone that doesn’t watch South Park so I can’t answer the question about whether it’s satisfying enough on game play alone. From my perspective, South Park: The Stick of Truth is my favorite game of the year so far and I would be happy for it to still be in that position come January.
Oh and you should definitely pick the Jew class. It’s final form is worth the wait on its own.
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