South Park: The Stick of Truth Review
I’ve been watching South Park for years, I believe I have seen every single episode ever created. It is one of the single best shows on television today and has been for quite some time. That’s why I was a little skeptical when Obsidian Entertainment began working on an RPG based off the television series. This isn’t the first game in the South Park universe, some may remember the N64 game where throwing snowballs at turkeys was a pastime. It was fun, but South Park: The Stick of Truth elevates the series to a whole new level and creates one of the best RPGs I have played in quite some time, hands down.
Right off the bat, you can tell this is a South Park game. Everything is over the top and there is more cursing than on a pirate ship. Characters from the television show all make an appearance and the game even looks exactly like an episode of South Park. You really feel like you’re in your own episode of the show. I’m quite surprised at how Obsidian managed to capture the art direction of the show so perfectly; it is one of the high points of the game for me.
A good RPG needs an enthralling story that captures the attention of the player for hours on end. South Park does this in spades. Everything is over the top and so bizarre that you can’t help but pushing on, no matter what is burned into your retinas. Censored scenes from Europe and Australia did not receive the same treatment as my version in North America. This means I was privy to everything going on in great detail. From abortions and anal probing to Nazi fetus monsters and bestiality. And yet I kept on going, laughing the entire way through the experience.
It’s hard to think of a game as a comedy. Generally developers include a little bit of humor into the experience via the characters or certain moments in the game, but never before have we had a comedy RPG of this depth and magnitude. The Stick of Truth is easily the funniest video game created and a welcome change from the serious tone of games we’ve grown used to in recent years.
Gameplay is quite simple. You scour the town of South Park, Colorado for any random pieces of junk to sell off, buy better gear, fight random encounter battles and bosses on occasion, and level up your mute hero Douchebag. All of the RPG features are here, but done so well that you’ll easily grow addicted to exploring the world, finding out just what is in the bathroom drawers upstairs.
Combat can be difficult at times, it’s recommended to keep your gear and skills up to date, allowing you to take on the overly powerful bosses. Some are just beyond difficult, I’m looking at you Al Gore, and can take some work to complete. Doing side missions to gain experience and money will be beneficial in the long run. Plus, it’s hard to play a game like this and not discover all the little things spread around by the developers.
Battles take place in a turn based fashion, with you and one companion taking on up to six enemies at once. Regular attacks, power attacks, magic, and specials all lend their hand at defeating the opponents you are facing. Some enemies are weak against certain types of skills, like those with fire damage or electric damage, using this against them helps bring down the big baddie quickly and efficiently. Cartman’s special attacks are some of the greatest RPG attacks in history and they never get old, ever.
Familiar faces abound in South Park: The Stick of Truth. You’ll come across all the favorites, such as Cartman, Kyle, Kenny, Stan, Butters, Craig, and Tweek plus many, many more. Each one has fully voiced dialogue for you. Some will give you side quests, others just want to be your Facebook friend, and still some others don’t really care who you are. Interacting with favorite characters from the show is a major high point in the experience.
Character customization is quite in-depth for a South Park game. The players can create their very own cartoon version of themselves, or whomever they choose to be. You can change up your hairstyle, skin color, facial features and more. Armor and weapons throughout the game all change your look, as do clothing and wig options. There are hundreds of options available leading to thousands of combinations overall, if not more.
Controls come across as simplistic and easy. An Xbox 360 controller works best, at least for me. You only need to use a few buttons at most. However, timing your button presses at certain points in combat can be a task in its own. All too often did I found myself messing up attacks because the button presses did not register quickly enough. This could have been my controller, or it could have been the game not sensing the buttons I was pressing. It’s hard to say. Either way, I was happy overall with the controls implemented; they worked a good majority of the time and were intuitive when I needed them to be most.
Bugs are always an issue with any type of game. Fortunately, I found myself coming across zero, yes zero, bugs overall within the game. I experienced no glitches, no stuttering, no bugs and no problems whatsoever on the technical side of the game. It was a perfect experience in that aspect.
If you’re looking for an RPG to play through in one weekend, South Park: The Stick of Truth has everything there is to offer. It’s got a great length overall, the story doesn’t feel like it should have ended sooner. It was the perfect length. That length can, obviously, be extended with more side quests and exploring if the player should so choose. It is recommended to complete these, not only for the experience and leveling, but also for the story and characters experienced throughout.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is easily one of the best role-playing games I’ve experienced in a long time. It’s rivaling Skyrim in the fun factor for me. I cannot recommend this one enough, pick it up, play it, then play it again just for the laughs, which never get old. This is an award winner.