It’s amazing how far of a run South Park has had. For nearly 17 years, show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have been on the ball every week, satirizing everything and everyone, with very few (if any) holds barred. It’s also hard to believe it’s taken this long for a half decent South Park game to come out, but alas, The Stick of Truth finally a reality and it was very much worth the wait.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is as close as we’ll get to ‘playing’ an actual episode of the long-running series. It looks exactly like the show. For some might be just plain awful, granted, but for anyone remotely interested in the crass humor and visual gags of the Comedy Central cartoon, treats are everywhere. Just about every single character ever featured makes a return somewhere in the game, whether they’re directly featured or tucked away in a corner for you to find while exploring.
The game starts out as a traditional RPG would, giving you a host of options for creating your own character within the confines of South Park’s world – that is, there’s a basic framework for a body type and a handful of winter clothes to pick out. Luckily, as soon as you’re done with that, you’re off to walking around South Park and making friends with the local kids. They happen to be LARPing and quickly recruit you into their fantasy game, headed by non other than Cartman.
It’s clear that developer Obsidian has a love for the Super Mario RPG series from the way The Stick of Truth combat plays out. It’s a simple to play single button game that works on the same timing mechanic as Nintendo’s games. During turn-based fights, getting maximum damage into an attack, whether it’s ranged, magical or melee hinges on quickly timed on screen button prompts. Although simple, some of the later fights in the game certainly pull some interesting tricks that might surprise you. Like the later Mario & Luigi games, your party is limited to two characters, the second being an interchangeable South Park character with unique special skills. Unfortunately, normal battles throughout the game tend to boil down to repetition, especially if you decide to fully explore the game outside of the story missions.
Quests can be found everywhere within South Park’s rather extensive map. Every inch of the city you might expect to see in the show was lovingly recreated in the game, down to the bus stop where most of the episodes start out. Like it was mentioned before, lots of side characters from South Park’s many seasons drop in for cameos and quests that help bulk up what is an already hilarious main storyline. Every story detail should go unspoiled, safe to say, they fit in extremely well within the confines of South Park’s style of humor; the game makes full use of its mature rating and then some.
Even so, within the crude and sometimes downright disturbing tone that South Park’s been delivering for years, there’s a fun role playing game to play through. Even though the character classes tend to blend in together in terms of abilities and stats, the powers you earn throughout the game are well implemented both outside and in battles. As expected, farts are an extremely powerful sorcery in the arcane arts practiced by Cartman, and are used to find hidden secrets or to just annoy anyone within its smelly range.
Your overall enjoyment of South Park: The Stick of Truth will depend on how well you deal with South Park as a show. Its tone makes it fit in perfectly as a longer length 20-ish hour episode of the show. It’s a game that goes places only South Park would, and manages to be just as funny as anything you’d come to expect. With that said, it’s also a fun, easy to pick up game that makes smart use of simple combat. For South Park fans, it’s an obvious pick up and for anyone on the lookout for a quality game, it serves as an entertaining entry point for the show.