South Park has always had a rough run in video games. From the original South Park video game for the original Playstation and N64 to the more recent South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge, pretty much all South Park games have been less than spectacular. None of them have even truly felt like a real South Park experience. Well, South Park: The Stick Of Truth is here to change that. South Park: The Stick Of Truth is an RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment, the developers behind Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic 2, Dungeon Siege III and Fallout: New Vegas. The game has gone through a lot in its development time. Originally planned to be published by the now defunct THQ, it then vanished only to be re-risen by it’s new publisher Ubisoft. I am quite thankful that Ubisoft has made sure The Stick Of Truth has seen the light of day because it was a truly fun experience.
The game begins as the gang is engaging in a war over the stick of truth, a stick which gives it’s holder ultimate control over the universe. You are the new kid. Your parents tell you to go out and make some friends and shortly after, you’re sucked into the world of the game. The game offers you four different classes to choose from consisting of Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew, all of which are self explanatory with the exception of Jew which plays like a paladin would. It also offers three different difficulties which are Easy, Normal and Hardcore. For my first play through I chose to play as a Mage and it played exactly like you’d expect a Mage in an RPG would. As I progressed and leveled new spells and abilities became available and it played out as you would expect in a standard RPG. The leveling system is straight from the books as well and is pretty much on par. Without giving too much information away the story plays out pretty much exactly as you would expect from South Park. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but in an extremely fun and entertaining way. The game progresses from the boy’s tiny Lord Of The Rings stylized game to a world filled with chaos with no one realizing just how ridiculous and insane everything has become.
The game play of The Stick Of Truth is pretty unoriginal but it worked out perfect for the game. The fights are turn-based with you and your buddy up against your enemies. The HUD is nice and easy to use and makes battling an easy system to master. When not in battle, you are either running around completing side quests or working on the main quest line. The main quests are generally longer and much more complicated and will take you across a variety of locations where as the side quests are generally short and to the point. There were a few “find and kill” side quests but not enough to be an annoyance. The main quests were really where the majority of the fun was but you will definitely need to have done side quests in between or you’ll be too low of a level to actually compete with any enemies you may encounter on the main quest. The loot system consists of both finding and collecting items from defeated foes. You can loot anything from money, to weapons to armor to potions to a turd (which can be used to gross out your enemies). The map of South Park is not overly huge so you’ll end up going back and forth to many of the same places multiple times. If you don’t feel like running you can take a fast travel (thanks to your little bud Timmy) but I found it much nicer and only slightly longer to run it. If you’re playing the uncensored version of the game while free roaming around town you may enter locations and spot random events going on. In general, they were pretty hysterical but I am sure that none of them have made it into the uncensored version of the game.
The Stick Of Truth also has a collecting system were throughout the game you must try and collect all of the 30 chinpokomon scattered around South Park. Along with this is another collection goal to become friends with everyone in South Park on Facebook. Both systems were nice and added slight side goals, but at the same time I felt both were a bit on the easy side. Collecting friends generally would just happen by playing through quests or talking to people while roaming town, while the chinpokomon were, with a few exceptions, generally hidden in plain sight. Still it added a bit of extra content and a few things to do other than questing. Almost every character from the South Park universe does makes an appearance in the game so if you’re dedicated it will take a lot of searching to find everyone.
In many ways, Stick Of Truth actually feels like a new South Park movie only much longer and more interactive than a movie could be. The animations and voice acting was done by South Park Studios so when you end up in a cut-scene it really feels like you are actually watching the show. While playing the game the animations are just as great but it does feel somewhat different. It could just be due to the fact that you are busy playing and not just sitting back and watching a scene. Obviously the game carries it’s own unique story but the game contains more references, to episodes of the show, than I could count. Whether it was completing a side quest to help Mr. Hankey find his children to helping Mr. Kim fight off the Mongolians there was a lot of nostalgia from past events. Unfortunately, while the main quest line focuses on the new story a good portion of the side quests are actually geared towards reminiscing on past episodes rather than building onto the new story. It isn’t a problem but I would have preferred to have seen the side quests add more new content into the new plot. You will also find references everywhere by picking them up as junk items or even simply having the references be a part of the actual world.
The Stick Of Truth is a game which has plenty of replay value as well. My first play through took me about 16 hours to complete entirely. Every single quest was done. Now normally for an RPG I would expect a longer game but this one felt right being shorter. The game was extremely well written and was fully enjoyable and I think pushing it on longer may have actually hurt the game. Once you’ve completed the game you’ve still got three other classes to go back and play through, or you can go back as the same class and choose a different faction to side with which will change the story, though only slightly.
Overall, South Park: The Stick Of Truth is a great game. It is the South Park game fan’s of the series have been waiting for. The fighting systems are well balanced and play smoothly, the cut scenes and voice acting feels straight out of the show and the story is one that is humorous and could only make sense in the world of South Park. South Park: The Stick Of Truth gets a 8.5/10.
• Extremely entertaining story told with the exact feel of the South Park TV show
• Open World with plenty of things to do when not completing the main quest line
• Four different classes resulting in all different ways to play
• Large assortment of different weapons and armors to choose from to truly customize your warrior
• Too many references to past South Park events -Not enough of the new story/plot
• Short loading screens break up parts of the world
South Park: The Stick Of Truth is out now for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC