Reviews: Get your first taste of what it is like to live in South Park as you engage in an epic quest for control of the universe.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is one of the best licensed games that has come out in a very long time. The way it uses the source material is absolutely brilliant and you can tell that Matt Stone and Trey Parker worked closely with the development team at Obsidian to make sure this game was a love letter to South Park fans. There was a time when gamers didn’t know what they would get as the development time for South Park was anything but easy, switching publishers right in the middle of production and suffering multiple delays. I remember seeing this game with THQ and then with Ubisoft later on and it always looked fantastic. When you have a title that is looking good years before it hits the store shelves you know that you are in for a treat and South Park: The Stick of Truth doesn’t disappoint.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is like one really long episode of South Park. The familiar cast of characters are there and then there is you, the new kid. You have moved to a new town and need to make new friends. It isn’t long before you are standing before Cartman in the Kupa Keep Kingdom and he is recruiting you to help keep the Stick of Truth safe from the Elven. It appears you have some strange power that no one really understands and Cartman plans to use that to his advantage. A series of events takes place (don’t worry, no spoilers) where you befriend familiar faces and fight against others. Those who control the Stick of Truth control the universe so it is of vital importance that it doesn’t fall in to the wrong hands. As you progress in the game you will come across a lot of the jokes that you see on the show and, for people who have seen all of the South Park episodes, there are references and easter eggs all over the place.
This game also marks the first time that South Park has an actual map that you can consult. While developing this game Matt and Trey had to sit down and actually map out South Park putting Kenny’s house in the southeast part of the map and Jimbo’s in the northwest part of the map, for example. Once you leave your house and immediately head left you will see the iconic South Park sign and the road that leads in to town. You’ll immediately find Tom’s Rhinoplasty, the bank and much more. Fans of the franchise will enjoy simply exploring the town, finding out where everyone lives and more. As you explore you will come across markers for Sir Timmy’s Fast Travel. Once these markers are activated you can use them to fast travel to one of twelve different locations all over town. The South Park world isn’t massive or anything but it does make things quicker getting from one place to the other by utilizing this service.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is an RPG game at its core but it is accessible enough for anyone to enjoy. The battle system is what you would expect from a light RPG where you can do melee attacks, magic attacks, summons and more. You can even swap out party members in case you want your healer there or in case you just want to kill Kenny. As you gain more friends and level up in combat you will gain access to upgrade weapons, abilities, perks and more. You can use equipment patches on your weapons and outfit to help aid you in battle such as the “Candy Bar Wrapper” giving you 25 HP for each turn you take in combat. One of my favorite ones was definitely the “Lit Match” which added 10 fire damage when you got a perfect attack on your enemy. This saved me on numerous occasions because if you hit your enemy perfectly their head will catch fire and that will slowly drain their HP with each turn they take. There were times when I would knock 90% of the HP my opponent had and then the other 10% was gone thanks to their HP being continually drained by the fire. There are also different outfits for you to wear and secondary weapons to use that will give you an additional advantage such as adding 40 armor and reducing enemy attacks. One of my favorite outfits in the game was the “Wood Elf” because if you had your character dressed in the whole outfit then you looked a little like Link from The Legend of Zelda.
Since this is an RPG there are quests that you will need to go on to either advance the story or simply help out a friend. There is an “Active” and “Completed” tab so that you can easily keep track of which quests you still need to do and which ones you are finished with. There are achievements in the game that are tied to how many friends you make and there are times when someone will only become your friend if you help them out with whatever problem they might have. There are different collectables to be found in the game too with some of them revolving around the main storyline and others just being pieces of junk. These also have their own little tabs so you can keep track whether or not you have that collectable you need to finish whatever quest you are on. There is also the “Home” tab that essentially works like the game’s Facebook page where friends leave messages for you and you can see which of your other friends “like” the messages. There is even one time where someone has their account hacked and an embarrassing message is left.
As fun as this game this there are a couple of issues. As I got later in the game I noticed the framerate drop every once in a while. It didn’t happen for long and didn’t really affect the game but it was just jarring when it happened. It might be just a personal preference too but I would have also liked a mini map on the lower left hand on the screen like we see in so many other RPGs. There were times when I had to pull up the map to see if I was headed in the right direction where a mini map like that would have helped. It also would have been nice to switch out equipment attached to your weapon and outfit without having to do each slot manually. There is an option to take it all off in one fell swoop but that does it for every weapon you have, not just the one you are using.
Overall South Park: The Stick of Truth is one of the best licensed games I have ever played. It is incredible love letter to fans whether Cartman is screaming about respecting his authority or there being an achievement for farting on all of your buddies. Fans of the show will get more out of this game with all of the inside jokes and references, however, those who haven’t seen the show before will still enjoy the game and should enjoy the more less subtle jokes. It should be stated though that this is a very adult game. I don’t quite know how they got away with some of the things in this game but you will want to keep this far away from any kids you have. The Stick of Truth is a fun journey throughout the city of South Park and should be used as the blueprint on how to properly make a game based off of a popular licensed property.