Review by Bleuet

Reviewed: 03/17/14

As fun as going to Casa Bonita

Introduction

Have you ever wanted a South Park RPG where you can freely walk around the town and receive quests from tons of the townspeople you know from the show? A South Park video game where creators Trey Park and Matt Stone wrote the script and were heavily involved? South Park: Stick of Truth is just that; a game that is based off the television series that lets you create your own character and roam and interact with the town we know so well.

Stick of Truth was finally released March 4th, 2014 after seeing numerous delays and being bounced around to a few different video game developers. During this time the creators were forced to chop down their script and scale back on their original concept to get the game out of production and finally see the light of day. This caused some gameplay elements and pieces of the game to be dropped from the final product. Were all those delays worth the wait? Did the cuts affect the overall game? Let’s take a look…


***Warning***

Though this may seem obvious, this game is not for young kids are those easily offended. If it was a movie it would easily be rated R. It’s not just toilet humor in this game (though there is plenty of that). There is nudity, swearing up the yin yang, tons of offensive plots, and sex scenes. You name it South Park’s got it. Matt and Trey haven’t held back anything and it’s considerably more crude and offensive than even the television series. Just know what you’re getting yourself into when you purchase the game.


Gameplay

The game starts out you by creating your own South Park boy character. You choose skin tone, hair, clothes, and facial features. From there you are dropped into the world of South Park as the new kid, the silent protagonist who never utters a word (Link from Legend of Zelda would be proud). You soon make friends with Butters and are brought into the role playing game all the kids are playing. After getting a hilarious tutorial from Cartman you are free to go out and explore the town.

One of the first things you’ll notice is just how much it looks like the show. The graphics are basically identical to the series. Game?! Ha, this is more like an interactive version of the television series it’s that close in visual representation. You have an adventure log that keeps track of the main quest and what you’re supposed to do next. You can follow that main quest or choose to do side quests you will receive from the townsfolk. It works similar to Skyrim. There are also many collectibles such as Chinpokomon. You can even collect the townspeople as friends with a Facebook-like interface.

This game is chock full of references to the television show. It’s like playing through a season or two of South Park. As you progress further, you will see all the familiar locations, characters, and items from the show. Fans of the series will appreciate even the minor references scattered throughout the town. If you have a favorite episode, chances are something from that episode made it into the game in some shape or form. It’s incredible how much detail the creators went into when putting together this game. You really will get nosey and want to just go exploring to find all the call backs to the show you can.


The Town

It is awesome to be able wander the settlement of South Park. For this game specifically Matt and Trey created a map of how the town would be set up for the first time after so many seasons of the show. Let me tell you, it is awesome to be able to go see Cartman’s room and then minutes later be visiting Tweek’s coffee shop. You will catch yourself just entering every building you can and interacting with the characters you know from the show. While not every single location from the show has made it in (no Raisins, sorry fellas), most have and it’s incredible to be able to go in and see them. Although you can cross from one side of town to the other within a few minutes, it doesn’t take away from just how much there is to see and do in South Park.


Fighting System

Shortly after the start of the game you choose your fighting class: Warrior, Mage, Thief, and Jew (funny right?). You also have the basics of your traditional RPG: hit points, magic, and upgradable weapons/armor. Stick of Truth is a turn based RPG where enemies are seen on the map and by hitting them engaged in a turn based battle. During the battle you will time button pushes to execute your attacks. This concept is very similar to Paper Mario. Some of the button pushes seem off and take some getting used to. There were times when I felt I executed perfectly and the game would still tell me I hit the button too late. The tutorials can also sometimes be confusing as to how you are supposed to input the button commands. There is a learning curve to getting timed perfectly. Even with these hiccups, still incredibly fun to battle the familiar South Park enemies you’ll come across.

In addition to your created character you will have one other companion in battle with you. Butters, Kenny, Jimmy, Stan, Kyle, and Cartman will be your companions; each with a different character class ranging from bard to white mage to warrior.

As you progress through the game you upgrade your armor and weapon which change what your character is wearing. There are tons of different options, you will be donning everything from an underpants hat and gnome clothes to Crab People armor. There are boatloads of weapons and armor you’ll come across; lots ripped right out of episodes from the TV series. It is very fun to customize what your character is wearing and how they look; you can change their appearance with wigs and makeup you find along the way. Nothing beats rolling into battle with Crab People armor and an alien laser gun ready to kick some butt.

With weapons and each piece of armor can be added patches and strap ons. These augment weapons and armor to give you extra powers such as fire damage or higher hit points. With all the different weapons, armor, and patches you’ll receive it gives a great deal of customization. You can strategize just how you want your character to play in battle and mix it up as often as you’d like.


Game Length/ Replayability

A play through will only take about 12 to 16 hours, depending on how many side quests you choose to take on. This is Stick of Truth’s largest drawback. This length of game is not bad, however when compared to other RPGs that can easily last up to 40 hours it does seem a bit lackluster. After you beat the game you can still go through and look for anything you missed and play any side quests you held out on. Unfortunately the town seems a bit hollow and loses some of its charm after you’ve beaten the main storyline. The game does offer replayability in the form of playing through as a different character class and achievement hunting. Even with these options I wish there had been some more replayability after beating the initial game.

The shorter length of the game comes from development taking so long and things having to be cut to make the March 2014 release. From the trailers shown at E3 there are many examples of gameplay footage that never made it into the final product. There are also examples when playing through where parts of the game were clearly meant to be expanded upon, but for whatever reason had to be scaled back. For example there are lots of junk items to collect, and no real purpose for doing so. I can only surmise that these were going to be used for some purpose that they just didn’t have time to implement.

There are examples of the game being shortened throughout, and to a hardcore fan this can be disappointing. It’s also sad that some of the awesome things shown from the trailer are no more. This missing content will be evident if you’re looking for it. For most casually playing through it is doubtful that they would notice that anything was taken away. It’s only when you look can you see it’s not all it should be. Though it is sad some content was removed, they made the cut as seamless to the audience as they could and that is a good thing.
Whether or not this game will see downloadable content in the form of more quests is not known, however given the time spent getting the game out in the first place and the fact that the creators have mentioned they don’t like the concept of DLC it is unlikely we will see it in the near future. But hey, we can still hope.


Final Thoughts

Pros:
--Graphics look just like the show
--Fun customizing your character with weapons and armor for battle
--Exploring the town and interacting with characters from the show is a blast
--Lots of side quests
--Tons of references from the TV series

Cons:
--Length of game relative to current RPGs out there. Even with side quests 12-16 hours.
--With so many seasons worth of content, it’s inevitable that something you wanted to see from the series was left out
--Button timing when battling seems a bit off in some instances. Tutorials can be misleading.
--Evidence of removed content is noticeable when aware of the cuts made

Overall South Park: Stick of Truth is a great game. It has a lot going for it and addictively fun. If you’re a fan of the show you owe it to yourself to play through this game at least once. Being able to play through what equates to in my mind more than a season’s worth of South Park is well worth the purchase. If you are a fan of RPGs in general, keep this game in mind for when it drops in price as the full price tag may not be worth it for you. Or better yet don’t wait, rent it and give it a play through. This is easily the best South Park game to date, and sets a new bar with what games based on TV series or movies should be.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: South Park: The Stick of Truth (US, 03/04/14)

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