When it was first announced that a new South Park game was on the way, I was skeptical. The history of South Park games has been murky to say the least. Then it was first shown off and everyone agreed that it nailed the look of the show. But would that be enough to meet the demands of South Park fans the world over?
The story of The Stick of Truth is pretty simple. You as the new kid, have just moved to town and your parents have decided the first thing you need to do is make friends. Upon venturing outside you meet Butters and he takes you to see the Wizard King, Cartman.
The kids of this quiet little mountain town have decided that the game of the day is a war between the Humans and Elves, over a stick. But not just any stick, The Stick of Truth. After your first round of tutorials is completed you are attacked and the stick is taken. This sets in motion a series of events that will change you and the kids. Along the way you will meet anthropomorphic poo, sadists, hunters, star trek fans, delusional former vice-presidents and even more crazy residents of this town.
Throughout your 10 or so hours completing the main quest line you will be presented with a range of side quests that will see you killing some of the strangest creatures ever created, beating up the kids of the competition of the City Wok restaurant and completing all sorts of other side quests. This is the first time you can actually see the world of South Park in full detail. So walking from the school to your house, or perhaps over to Tweek Coffee can be a fair walk; thankfully the game does contain a fast travel system.
South Park contains a few different styles of gameplay from a turn based battle system, similar to the Paper Mario series, a rock band style mini game and more. While each is presented in a way that you can see what you have to do, there is very limited instruction on almost every aspect excluding the main battle system. While the battle system is the star here, it’s a shame that there was not more effort put into the other systems.
While in battle, you will have access to a range of attacks and abilities that see you using things from baseball bats to summoning in some strange assistants. As you level up, you unlock even more powerful attacks. The attacks can cause effects to your enemies and this can help you in battle. As with all rpg’s your character can also be influence by the clothes you wear, and with all the choices out there, you will have some decisions to make. Another level is that almost all the clothes and weapons can be modified with patches that give you perks to your health, attacks, armor and such.You will start off wondering where the challenge is in the game, but be forewarned it does ramp up very fast.
South Park has had a very special look to it from the first episode that ever aired. The look of the show can be described as simple, yet not matter how simple it was, no video game ever matched the look with such detail that this game has. While you could be mistaken for the cutscenes being made by the team that make the episodes, you would be wrong.
While a lot of effort was put into the look of the game, it would be all for nothing if the sound was not there. Thankfully Cartman, Stan, Kyle, Butters, Jimbo, Ned, Randy, Mr Mackey, Kenny, Mr Hankey, Big Gay Al, Jesus, Wendy and the rest of the South Park crew sound exactly like you would expect. So the game looks and sounds like South Park and thankfully the writing is there. So you don’t have Cartman expressing his love of Shakespearian theatre or Kenny using words you can understand.
There have been multiple South Park games over the years, but this is perhaps the first to nail the look, sound and characters of the tv show in game form.
South Park The Stick of Truth has had a troubled development cycle to be sure, but throughout the delays and publisher swaps we have been treated with perhaps one of the greatest licensed video games ever.