Reviews I Forgot to Do – South Park: The Stick of Truth

86849_south-park-stick-of-truth-xbox-360-box-artWhen did I start writing this?: 10th March 2014, after waiting until midnight on the release date to download it onto Steam and then playing the game to 4 o’clock in the morning.

What was I writing it for?: What do you mean “Why was I writing it?” It’s a South Park game. Isn’t that reason enough?!

Why did I stop writing it?: Despite the fact that I wrote three articles in March, only one of them was a review (Gunman Clive) and the others were a heads up on my return and a thank you for 100 followers. While I did intend to write my South Park: The Stick of Truth review sometime in April when I returned with my DreamWorks, it never happened, probably because I started writing weekly reviews for the now cancelled series The Crimson Field.

But that’s all in the past now, quite a long way in the past as well, but now it’s time for you guys to choose your class and fight for The Chronic Chronicler’s first boss, the obligatory overview!

Well you are “The New Kid”, a silent protagonist that has moved to South Park in order to escape some unknown force, as alluded to by his parents and completely forgotten about by your character. Very considerately, your father tells you to go outside and play with the other kids (a task which he will see to himself if you do not do quick enough) and soon meet Butters, a Paladin, fighting a Wood Elf and saves Butters from a beating.

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You can be anyone you want. Except a girl because you know, eww.

Butters soon allies with the New Kid on Facebook and bring him to his leader, Eric Cartman the Wizard King who invites you into the Kingdom of Kupa Keep (KKK). Training you in the art of fighting after choosing your class (Warrior, Mage, Thief and Jew) and “choosing” your name, the KKK are attacked by the wood elves and, although repulsed, the Stick of Truth is taken. You must now quest for the stick, meet Stan, Kyle Kenny and Eric, as well as the whole cast of South Park characters along the way, and discover that dark forces are soon to hit South Park, and some may look a bit Nazi-ish. And dead.

Rather than jumping in with praise straight away, South Park: The Stick of Truth does have a few negative things that need to be talked about. Firstly the combat is a bit simple. While it takes the traditional turn-based combat system which, while fun, is not exactly challenging. Like another Ubisoft made RPG game Child of Light, playing the game on normal difficulty means you can breeze past most challengers and even bosses are a slight irritation. What with all the healing abilities and potions, your health and PP can be topped up quite nicely. And even if you do die, you can resurrect people with tacos so there isn’t much of a challenge.

Also the game has little to no replay value. Once it’s done, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything else to do. I mean there are side missions like the Underpants Gnomes and finding the Christmas Critters, but nothing much beyond that. While the game does deliver a decent 15 hours gameplay, once that is spent you’ll be wandering South Park seeing people say the same thing over and over again. That or get a “Hasselhoff” and have the entire town fawning over you.

South_Park_The_Stick_of_Truth_Euro_CensorFinally, although this didn’t affect me because Amazon were cleverly sneaky for a few hours a week before release, the censorship of this game is completely idiotic. While Matt Stone and Trey Parker put up detailed explanations of what would have happened instead of the censored scenes, the seemed to affect everywhere in some form outside of the Americas is barmy. I understand that Nazi imagery be censored in Germany as it’s illegal there, but for a near blanket ban on some scenes while others were left in (see Underpants Gnome fight scene –yes I just said that, it’s real)boggles the mind.

However despite all the negativity that I just said, South Park: The Stick of Truth is amazing. While other South Park games have been just terrible and I mean terrible, look here for visual proof. That was just the intro but it’s probably the best bit of South Park (1999 game). But South Park: The Stick of Truth has something that previous games, like that 1999 monstrosity, never had: the creative involvement of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. And my god does it show.

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*South Park fan hyperventilating a bit when he saw this for the first time*

Firstly, it looks like a South Park episode. The characters walk they should do, the town is exactly how you’d think it’d be. Aesthetically, the game looks and plays as if you are in a South Park episode which, for any South Park fan, is a dream come true. Walking around South Park to the school (m’kay); the boy’s houses; Mr Hankey’s place and so on makes for a really enveloping experience. Not only that but you also get to see some of the weird stuff that ordinary South Park citizens do, if you are brave enough to open their front doors.

Also the humour is bang on perfect. With Parker and Stone’s talent finally being used, we get the foul, dark and brilliant humour that we have come to expect from South Park at our own disposal. It is a brilliant feeling to be involved in a mad storyline while having brilliant humour which both coarse and offensive in equal measure.

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Because how could you make a game better than a gun toting Jesus?

While I have criticised the combat system for being a bit easy, this does not mean that it is not fun. The attacks you can wield due to your class can be as hysterical as they are deadly. Attacking your opponents with farts, dreidels, baseball bats, as well as calling upon your friends like Cartman and Jesus to use their own deadly attacks. In addition, having to time your attacks to perfect gives some form of skill to the combat which Child of Light did not have at least adds to the combat experience.

And while the combat may be the same, there is a brilliant diversity of enemies. Elves, tramps, animals, Nazi Zombies, Al Gore. Literally anything and everything that comes in gaming and South Park lore gets a shout out in this game. I am super cereal! (Insider joke there).

In addition, while shops in games usually get a bad rap, South Park: The Stick of Truth manages to pull it off. While you can obtain weapons in the game, shops do come in handy now and again for better weapons, armour and such, with potions being their real forte. Not only that but you can also acquire cool stuff to wear like beards, eye patches and other cool stuff. Some of it is even necessary for missions so it’s good that they aren’t there completely because they have to be.

Also, and I can’t believe I haven’t talked about this yet, but the story is magnificent. From humble beginning, the tale goes from childhood games to conspiracies as well as weird and wonderful tangents that both pander to nostalgia as well as going in a brilliant new direction while all the while satirising video game tropes and clichés, an especial favourite being the recorded messages.

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Because South Park.

South Park: The Stick of Truth is one of those games you have to get. Not in the buying sense, but in the understanding sense. If you don’t get the humour, gameplay, the lore or anything at all South Parkish, then this game probably will be a waste of time for you. However, for those South Park junkies out there, this is nirvana. A chance to be one of the boys (sorry girls) and to fight, fart and Jew your way to the top in order to reclaim the Stick of Truth.

Thanks for reading this, the final Reviews I Forgot to Do of January! It’s been fun getting those reviews which missed out their spot in the limelight. If you want to be like the New Kid and collect friends, then like my Facebook page where all my articles are posted to as well as Twitter, or even better, follow me here on WordPress!

But now we come to the big moment: Febookuary is upon us! For the four weeks of February I shall be reviewing two books per week, one every Monday and Friday and the last week’s books are decided by YOU! All you have to do is vote below for the two books (yes you can vote twice) you’d like to see me read from the list I’ve provided or choose books from your own distorted imaginations! The first Febookuary review will be Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury on Monday 2nd so get reading!

 

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