If you are a fan of South Park, you’re probably already aware that South Park: The Stick of Truth was released on March 4th. As someone who’s been burned by other games based on the show I wasn’t sure how entertaining this game would prove to be. I’m happy to report that it’s not only a fitting tribute to one of my favorite shows, but a fairly solid addition to the RPG genre.
In this game you play as a new kid in town who is quickly recruited by Cartman to join his side in a town-wide live action role playing game. The kids of South Park have split into two factions; the humans, lead by Cartman, and the elves, who follow Kyle. They are engaged in war over the titular stick, which they say has the power to control the universe.
If you watched the three part mini series this season that parodied Game of Thrones (Black Friday, A Song of Ass and Fire, and Titties and Dragons), you’ll recognize some of the elements of this game. My personal favorite was Princess Kenny.
As is typical in most RPGs, you choose a class early on and as you progress your powers grow. Since this is South Park you get class choices like “Jew”.
The battle system is a little different than what I’ve come to expect from an RPG. There is a lot of timing and hand-eye coordination involved, two skills that are a little beyond me and I died early on in my first playthrough.
The power selection wheel is a little fussy with a Xbox controller and I often overshot my intended goal. The battles are turn based so this didn’t put me in danger of an attack, but it was a little annoying.
As far as RPGs go, the game isn’t on par with games like Skyrim or Final Fantasy. The game can be completed in a day of dedicated playing and the skill trees aren’t exceptional. This shouldn’t deter fans of the show from playing, however. The real appeal of this game comes from participating in the South Park world like never before.
Early in the game you are able to explore Cartman’s house. When I turned on the radio in his room it played the song he recorded when he was in a boy band. In Mrs. Cartman’s drawer I found an Antonio Banderas love doll, a call back to the season three Halloween episode. The Stick of Truth is full of these kinds of jokes that fans will appreciate.
The two dimensional graphics exactly mimic the show and as the cutscenes play, you feel as though you’re watching an episode. The voices are done by the same voice actors that do the show and the dialogue was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone so the words coming out of the character’s mouths are exactly what you’d expect them to say.
The storyline is a little convoluted, but no more so than the typical episode of South Park. The resolution of the game was satisfying.
One word of caution, this game is not child friendly. I wouldn’t recommend playing it if there’s any risk of a kid wandering into the room. My son walked through the living room while I was playing and at that exact moment I opened a door to a house and was greeted by a screaming naked woman. It was awkward for both of us.
Some of the mini games and quests are R rated, to say the least. One involves sitting on the toilet and pooping to gain a nugget that can be used in combat and another, using the same button mashing technique, asked me flex my sphincter against an anal probe.
To say much more about the game would spoil a lot of the effect. So much of the humor comes from the insane situations you find yourself in. Most of the game is so absurd you end up asking yourself, “Did that just happen?”.
I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys watching South Park. RPG purists might be annoyed by the shallow treatment this game gives the genre, but more casual gamers with a sense of humor should find plenty to enjoy here. In a genre that’s dominated by high fantasy settings, this was a breath of fresh air.