Obsidian, working in conjunction with South Park Studios, have done something that’s been thought impossible for the past 17 years… They made a good South Park game. I know. I didn’t believe it either. This time with the full force of South Park Studios behind it, cut scenes were directed by long time series lead animator and director Chris Brion and written by series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the humor of the series translates perfectly to interactive media. So perfectly I wonder, well, why didn’t they just do this before? Why sell your license repeatedly to companies that won’t make a decent title and you won’t have anything to do with? Oh… right… money. My bad… don’t know what I was thinking. Full disclosure, this is going to be a short review because I, for one, really do not want to give away too much. If you like South Park and enjoy massive levels of fan service, you will love the game. If you hate South Park, do not bother.
You control “The New Kid” who has just moves to the quiet mountain town to escape his forgotten past. Quickly thrown out of the house, ordered to make new friends, you quickly align with Cartman and his Kingdom of Kupa Keep in a fantasy war game against the Drow Elves, led by Kyle and Stan, for control of The Stick of Truth. Quickly taking you into the KKK’s fold, you are dubbed Douchebag and sent forth to rally Cartman’s army. From there events spiral quickly into other territory that South Park has stomped through before, from Anus Exploration to Alien Abduction.
Stick of Truth looks great. As great as anything South Park could at any rate. It looks just like the series, which after all the weird 3D games from the franchise’s past is a welcome sight. The map is completely open from the beginning and it’s fairly large. You can enter almost every building, get lost in the woods surrounding the town and eventually make your way to The Northern Kingdom of Canada in all it’s glorious 8-bit RPG splendor.
Gameplay is solid. Using a turn based combat system with timed attack commands, giving you a range of strategies to use in each turn. The game’s class system is fairly useless as every one of them can use every weapon or armor you come across. Their special attack animations vary but that is really the only difference, they ultimately do the same damage and each has an attack with the same effect attached, so don’t expect much replay value with them. The summon characters are not usable in boss fights because bosses are “too hard” for them, only usable once each game day and you have to recharge them by talking to the character the next day.
While Stick of Truth doesn’t offer much challenge, and honestly it’s not why anyone is there for, it offers plenty of humor. Jokes and visual references fly quickly and constantly. There is barely a single screen that does not hold at least one reference to an episode and several of them hold enough that you’ll probably not catch them all until a little way in. Chinpokomon are discarded around town for you to collect, almost every major character turns up somewhere. Thankfully Towlie is only on a load screen.
When you come down to it, it’s really just a question of do you dig South Park? Yes? Pick it up and have one of the most hilarious gaming experiences in recent years. No? Pass on by and never look back. That is it. I enjoyed the hell out of South Park: The Stick of Truth and can’t wait for the DLC expansions.