Published on April 2nd, 2014 | by vrex0
Review: South Park: The Stick of Truth
Developer(s): Obsidian Entertainment, South Park Digital Studios
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Release Date: March 4, 2014
I’m going to start this review by stating this: I am not a fan of South Park. I haven’t watched a single episode of the show. So now you know that my review is solely based on the contents of the game and not through the skewed perspective of a devoted fan.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is an RPG based in the fictitious town of South Park, in which the children of the town are in a heated Live Action Role Play game of Humans VS. Drow Elves. The Grand Wizard (Cartman’s character) is the leader of the humans and wishes to recruit the rumoured New Kid (the player) in order to battle against the Drow Elves and protect the precious relic, The Stick of Truth. For whoever controls the stick controls the universe.
Creating an avatar for yourself, you enter the game which – from what I can tell – looks identical to being in an episode of South Park. I really like the style of the game – the “paper-animation” is simple and fun and true to what I’ve seen of the show. With the brand of South Park attached to the game, you know it is going to be rated Mature and for good reason – racism, risqué sex jokes, scatological language, and other not-suitable-for-all-audiences material is sewn throughout the game just as it is in the show. If you are easily offended, stay far, far away from this game.
That being said, I loved it. The crude humour is hilarious to me; disgusting, shocking, and racy jokes that make you laugh sometimes due to just how over-the-top they are. There’s a lot of humour derived from base functions – you know; pooping, farting, and etcetera. For some reason the lore of South Park depicts Canadians as loving fart humour, and I don’t know where this stereotype of theirs came from, but it holds water because I got a good chuckle out of it.
Humour aside, the game is very fun. The game plays as a turn-based RPG, where you’re allowed one item and one attack per turn. I’ve never seen this system used in an RPG, but I found it worked really well. The gameplay flowed great and was fun. It seemed as if the enemies were always scaled to your current level, so the game never got too easy if you managed to grind a lot of experience early on. There was a lot of customization for your character – there are 153 weapons and gear to mix and match with your character, each having their own special battle abilities. On top of that, there are also patches that you can attach to weapons and gear to give them additional abilities such as making melee moves stronger, having more resistance, and inflicting debuffs to enemies. Debuffs are the game’s status conditions. There’s bleeding, fire, and grossed out that will cause damage after your turn, can be combined, and can have a mass stack of x5 damage. There is also shock, sleep, and stun which will prevent your opponent from attacking, slowness which will make that particular battler move last, and pissed off which prevents the use of special abilities. There are also basic debuffs like attack or defense down.
There are four classes you can choose from at the beginning of the game; fighter, mage, thief, or Jew. Each class has its own special abilities, such as Backstab for the Thief and The Sling of David for the Jew, which are unlocked at certain levels. Each class has five abilities total. Abilities cost PP, and can be used once per turn instead as an attack. Weapons and gear are not class-locked, so all 153 of them are available to you regardless of class. For my first play-through I chose the Jew because, come on, when are you going to have another opportunity to pick Jew as your class? You only live once, right? Apart from abilities you have two types of weapons at your disposal; melee (such as swords, daggers, vibrators, etc.) and distance (arrows, darts, ray guns, etc.).
There’s also a buddy system in the game where you have one of the show’s characters fight along-side you. You start with Butters and there are five more you can unlock. They all have a unique special ability they can use once a turn instead of an item. In the case of Butters, he has the ability Healing Touch, which will allow him to give you back HP once per turn – a free potion, essentially. They also have their own abilities that require PP and a melee weapon.
What’s an RPG without magic? In The Stick of Truth, all magic comes from one source: your butt. Yes, all magic attacks are different types of farts, and you refill your “mana” using items like tacos and burritos. God, I love this game. Farting is mostly used outside battle where mana is infinite in order to overcome obstacles. What obstacles can you overcome with farts? Two words: open flames. Again, I love this game.
Obviously this game would be better enjoyed by a fan of the show, since they would pick up on all the reference and fan-service they put into the game. I was able to pick up references, obviously. I don’t live under a rock – South Park was very popular when I was 13 so I used to hear the jokes from the show all the time. Not a day would go by without hearing someone shout “TIMMEH”, so seeing the character in the game made me say “Oh, him. Ahaha.” It’s still a very enjoyable game both in gameplay and in humour, although it is only for those who can handle humour this crude. Also, don’t play this with people around if you’re easily embarrassed. No spoilers, but there’s a scene where you see a lot of bow-chika-wow-wow in the background. The only reason I can’t give this game a perfect score is because I know it’s definitely not for everyone, especially those who are easily offended. But that’s pretty much it.
But remember: never fart on someone’s balls.
+ Fun battle system
+ Good game flow
+ Lots of exploration and side quests
– Risqué humour that’s not for everyone
Final Score: 4.75 out of 5