Wow, so I just blew my entire afternoon/evening on South Park: The Stick of Truth. And I’ve only progressed through the first day. (I quit for the night because it’s late and the button mashing for the anal probe sequence is too challenging after playing for so long.)
Really though, I am impressed so far. Like unbelieveably so. I really didn’t know what to expect, but this is legitimately a good game! It lifts from the RPG and JRPG genre with a big open world and turn-based combat that plays out a lot like Paper Mario. Combat is easy to get used to, but just challenging enough to keep you on your toes.
But what’s really impressive are the visuals and the writing. All of the characters and movement are presented as if you’re watching one long episode of the show. The game moves from dialogue scenes to combat to action seamlessly. And best of all, your character is fully animated into the world regardless of how many times you switch costumes, wigs, etc. The character is YOU (unless you’re a girl since the New Kid can only be a guy) and you are fully immersed in and able to interact with the world.
But on top of that, the writing is just SO GOOD. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have shown in the past that they are well acquainted with fantasy and video game genres, and the game plays that up. You pick from traditional (and a bonus non-traditonal) rpg classes, and each outfit and set of equipment plays up on that - although they are all poorly-replicated attempts at cosplay - something the show has done before with their LotR and Dragonball Z parodies. There’s a lot taken from more recent games like Skyrim as well. Early in the game, Cartman teaches you “Dragon Shouts” and as you master the technique, characters begin to wonder if perhaps you are the fabled Dragonborn of legend - the Dovakiin. Only, as this is South Park, your Shouts are actually magical farts.
I mean, at the end of the day this IS a South Park game, make no mistake about that. Side quests will have you go to the post office to pick up Mr. Slave’s package (surprise, it’s a dildo!), and the owner of City Wok sends you next door to beat up the Mongol hoard. Mr. Marsh is repeatedly anally probed… you know, par for the course.
But as someone who’s enjoyed South Park from time to time, I think it’s great, crass, and entertaining. Making friends with characters boosts your popularity and unlocks skill perks, and characters then send you Facebook messages within the context of the game. And it will have moments where it makes you laugh out loud.
For example, on a side quest I was told I needed to search for Jesus. It was portrayed as a spiritual journey. Where can one find Jesus? One must look deeply inside themselves, right? Nope. Turns out, Jesus was just hiding in the pews inside the church. In fact, your search for Jesus involves a game of hide-and-seek after which he blesses you, becomes your Facebook friend, and allows you to summon him once a day to fight in battle.
There are items to collect (YOU HAVE TO COLLECT ALL THE CHINPOKOMON) and achievements to unlock, and if you go into Stan’s house and try to open his bedroom closet, R Kelly refuses to come out.
Basically this game is great. It’s fun, it’s funny, and you can’t put it down.
OH MY GOD.
THIS GAME IS PARODYING SKYRIM. BUT WITH FLATULENCE.
I did not expect a South Park game to be this good.