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Posted March 29, 2014 by Ashton Graves in PC
 
 

RJ Reviews: South Park The Stick of Truth

StickOfTruthLogo-Small
StickOfTruthLogo-Small

If there are two things that I have found to be long time loves of mine, it would be South Park and video games. Often the two have met each other and the results of that have been, well, pretty damn terrible. I am pleased to say that has not been my experience with South Park The Stick of Truth. South Park The Stick of Truth is the newly released RPG saved by Ubisoft from development hell after THQ went bankrupt and had to sell off their current in-progress (i.e. – unfinished) game assets. It’s a JRPG style game developed in tandem by Obsidian Entertainment and South Park Digital Studios. You know, the guys who brought you Alpha Protocol and Fallout: New Vegas? Fair to say that they probably know what they’re doing when making RPGs. I cannot stress enough that I am a lover of both RPGs and South Park. Sadly, however, I am probably about 3 seasons behind on South Park and the last true RPG I played was Lost Odyssey. By played, what I really mean is that I sank about 34 hours into it and stopped playing before the last boss battle as I have been known to do with pretty much every RPG past Final Fantasy 6 or Kingdom Hearts.

With Stick of Truth, the game setting opens up as you customize your character to play as the new kid who has just mysteriously moved to South Park. You come upon the kids of South Park playing a town wide LARP (Live Action Role Playing) and taking it pretty serious. You have the sides of the humans and the elves, two factions warring against each other for the object of all desire: The Stick of Truth. It is the object that shapes the game and world of which these kids imagine because the holder of the Stick can do anything they want and make any rule.

The first thing you will notice about this game is probably what I love most about it; it looks just like you’re playing an episode of South Park. It sounds, feels, and farts just like that little mountain town we’ve all come to love throughout the years. You will begin by choosing one of the four presented classes: Warrior, Mage, Thief, or…uh…Jew.

Mazel Tov, motherfuckers.

Mazel Tov, motherfuckers.

 

After you have chosen your class, you will then customize the look of your character as you can see in the picture below. You can change the hair, shirt, shoes, and accessories of your character. Initially, the customization options are slightly limited, but as you begin to play the game you will quickly find there are tons of costume pieces to be collected and worn. By completing this, you are now one step closed to being dubbed as “Douchebag”, probably because you don’t talk a lot and, well, it’s South Park.

customization

As you journey through the entire town of South Park, you will be able to quickly get the true feel of the environment. It feels rather large for being, in all reality, kind of small. The entire town of South Park is available to you for free roaming goodness and almost every building or house can be entered. Below is a picture of the main game map where you will spend most of your time roaming. It takes roughly about 5-10 minutes to go from one side to the other. The good news is that once you find the fast travel points, of which there are 12, you are free to travel among them as long as you are standing at a fast travel point. This feature alone will save you a ton of time walking, but make sure to still explore or you’ll lose the true feel of the game world.

map\

You will find access to you inventory, quests, map, abilities, and “friends” via the Facebook layout of your pause menu. The menu itself is glorious in design with a very clean look but can be pretty clunky to actually use. I found myself having a lot of problems remembering which of the direction buttons went to what menu thus breaking down and pushing start instead. Even with the menu’s issue for being a little slow and unorganized, it did not detract from the enjoyment of the game whatsoever. If anything, it offered a little breathing room from the action.

This is your inventory screen and, yes, that is The Hoff.

This is your inventory screen and, yes, that is The Hoff.

As you go around the town of South Park on your adventure, you will meet people who will add you on Facebook. Sometimes, they will add you for talking to them but other times you will either have to complete a quest or be of a certain social status (i.e. – hit a specific number of friends) before they will add you. This is where the perk system comes into play. For every level of friends you hit throughout playing, you will be granted the option to choose a perk. These can range from doing extra damage, healing yourself, having more HP/MP, and even adding permanent environmental damage that your character can deliver. You can combine these with your chosen abilities, which we will discuss in the next section, in order to do some pretty serious damage to your foes. One cool thing to note is that, just like in real life, your friends will post on your Facebook wall with humorous musings. But take my word for it and avoid Al Gore, I’m super serial you guys.

facebook wall

As your character goes through the trials and tribulations of battles, you will earn XP, as in almost all RPGs, and thus will level up. For every level you gain, with a max cap of 15, you will be able to choose an ability based on your class. You will always have five abilities with five levels of said ability across each class. The abilities are different for every class and can be used in battle to buff yourself, cause direct damage to the enemy, or stun your foes.

abilities

 

The story line is pretty much the last few seasons of South Park rolled into a game with dashes of new material strewn about as you go. I can definitely say, as a SP fan, this game was full of throwback jokes. The game play itself is pretty much what you would expect from an RPG, as it is turn based, but with a slight twist. When you are attacking your enemies, you will have to time your button presses in order to do damage to them and even score critical hits. Most of the abilities require you to press multiple buttons or waggle your joystick in a certain fashion, but it always comes down to timing. One of the things that did bother me about the game is that sometimes during a battle you will get hit with timing bugs. I say timing bugs because both myself and another player were pressing the right buttons at the exact time and still missing. Now this is not a bug that is present enough to cause you to lose a fight but it is often enough to frustrate those with a short temper.

battle

 

Of course you will be battling along side a party member for most of the game, and the deeper you get into the story the more party members you will have. With a total of six different party members, the options include the following: Stan the Barbarian, Cartman the Wizard, Jimmy the Bard, Butters the Paladin, Kyle the Jewid err..Druid, and Princess Kenny. Each of these party members represents a generic class type from the RPG world and has their own special abilities. To give an example, when Princess Kenny is killed in battle she will automatically revive after two rounds. The nice thing about the battle system is that during a fight you can switch between party members during any turn, and they will be able to attack on the next round. This also holds the same for allowing you to use an item and attack in one turn which, although seems simple enough, is the best thing to happen to RPGs since Final Fantasy 6.

party

 

All in all, South Park The Stick of Truth is an amazingly well put together game. If I were pushed to give it a final score in terms of graphics, game play, audio, and presentation, I would give it a 94%. Mind the disclaimer however, I am a huge South Park fan and a fan of RPGS. I dislike games that play into the hundreds of hours. This game was perfect for me as from start to finish I came in around 16 hours. A lot of reviewers noticed some game play crashes, save file corruptions, and background “jitter” as you moved throughout the town. During my entire play through, I only came into one error where the game froze loading the next zone and this issue was resolved by simply exiting and reloading my game save. Would I recommend this game to you for a solid $59.99 price tag? Maybe if you’re a huge fan but otherwise no, absolutely not. South Park The Stick of Truth is funny, crude, and imaginative all at the same time, and I felt completely immersed during my time with the game from start to finish. I really did feel like a member and staple of the South Park community. If you catch this game on sale, make sure to pick up a copy of it because I doubt we’ll be seeing a sequel any time soon.

TL;DR: South Park fans will love it but wait for the steam sale instead of paying the full price.


Ashton Graves

 
The biggest all around Nerd you'll ever meet. I'm internet famous (see http://www.siradio.fm ) and I'm an avid lover of comics, movies, games, and music. I'm a little bit angry and probably a little bit biased but I will always give you something to think about.