*Warning: Some parts of this review are NSFW. You have been warned!*
Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Obsidian Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Welcome to the Kingdom of Koopa Keep.
After nearly two years of trailers, previews and delays, South Park: The Stick of Truth is finally available for the World to enjoy. And let’s just say, it’s a game that was worth the wait.
Players start off creating their character who just so happens to be the new kid in South Park. There’s no reason given at the beginning for why your family decided to move to this “quiet mountain town”, but based on the dialogue, it has to be due to something bad happening in their old town.
After creating your character, and giving him a “Way Jersey” spray tan (if you so choose), you then set off on an adventure that takes place in a living, breathing re-creation of South Park, Colorado.
You first meet Butters The Paladin who takes you to Cartman’s house, err, the Kingdom of Koopa Keep where you then get to choose your class of Fighter, Mage, Thief or, in typical South Park fashion, Jew.
You then get to enter your name. Unfortunately for you, the entry system does work, and because your character is a mute, you are dubbed with the name Douchebag for the rest of the game. At least you get promoted to Sir Douchebag later on in the game.
Despite being a game of the genre, South Park consistently takes jabs at how RPGs work. Early in the game Cartman explains that you have to wait your turn to attack even though it’s “lame”. He even complains about only being allowed one potion per turn though he did try to fight for five per turn.
Don’t let the game fool you, though. It may be a game based off of South Park, but the game plays just like anyone would hope an RPG would. You level up your character, find and/or purchase new weapons and equipment, level up abilities and even get power ups for your weapons. It actually takes a surprising amount of strategy not only to win certain fights, especially at the later stages, but even making sure your character is properly built and you have the right partner fighting by your side. Everything you do prefight is crucial to making sure you don’t meet your doom with a bunch of Mormon’s in Heaven.
While the RPG elements of the game are strong, South Park is nothing without its unique sense of humor.
From references to past episodes, like Tom Cruise not coming out of Stan’s closet, to characters mocking you for not talking to Token yelling “Hail the KKK”, South Park is chockfull of humor that should please any fan of the show.
And what’s growing up if you don’t have a boatload of friends? As you complete quests, people will send you friend requests on Facebook as a way to say they are friends with the new “popular” kid. The game constantly pokes fun at social media, and makes it sound truly as trivial as it really is. No more so than having that one person, in this case Al Gore – who still won’t give up on the whole ManBearPig thing — blow up your wall with meaningless post after post. It all culminates in you doing what you want to do to those types of people in real life, beat them up. But don’t assume that having a lot of Facebook friends isn’t important. As the game shows, the more friends you have the more perks you get.
Most of the issues experienced while playing South Park weren’t game breaking. In fact, they weren’t all that big of problems at all. However, they did become a bit of a nuisance when you would win a battle, go off screen, turn around and have to fight the same people less than a minute later. This happened a lot by the City Wok.
The dialogue in battle and while walking around the town does get repetitive and agitating. It made me happy that my character was a mute so I didn’t have to hear myself say things like “let’s kill them with compassion” more times than I already had to. Again, small issue, but annoying nonetheless.
For those worried about the game being short, just know that I had logged almost 8 hours of game time before I even got halfway through the main story. With the amount of things to explore and side-quests to do, South Park is not a game that you will be able to sit down and play in just a day or so.
Ultimately, this is a game that you won’t want to play through just once. You’ll want to try every class and do the opposite of what you did the first time around. There is even a classic RPG twist towards the end that you won’t (or likely will) see coming.
Despite the poking at the genre, South Park: The Stick of Truth is a game that benefitted greatly from the numerous delays. It has nearly every element that can make a good RPG a great one, and the love for the genre by the show’s writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone shines throughout the adventure.
(A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review.)