By Daniel-Peter Adjetey
After a bit of a delay due to the downfall of THQ comes the latest South Park game from developer Obsidian Entertainment (of Fallout: New Vegas fame). As the sixth title in a line of games from the satirical TV show of the same name, there is a legacy that this game had to live up to. However, to Obsidian’s credit, they took that challenge and made one of the most nonsensical, crass and humorous games you will play anytime soon, if not ever.
The Stick of Truth (360/PS3/PC) is like Costume Quest meets an episode of South Park. You play as an unnamed new kid who moves into the town after a mysterious event forced the relocation of your family. As The New Kid in town, you spend the beginning of the game roaming about a faithfully created South Park in search of friends. Eventually you meet up with Butters, who then introduces you to Cartman, who promptly gives you the name “Douchebag”. It’s here when the game picks up more steam as you are tasked with picking a class (either Fighter, Mage, Thief or…..Jew) and fighting through a slew of enemies and fan-favorites in order to recover the missing stick and return it to its rightful place. Throughout the dozen or so hours it will take you to beat the game, you will join factions or make new enemies on your quest for the stick. The game does do a nice job of sprucing up the activity to a point that it never really feels all too ‘samey’. One second you are being shrunken down and placed inside a man’s rectum looking for a weapon of mass destruction. The next moment you are in Canada learning a secret fart technique called the Nagasaki. It will surprise you.
As mentioned before, this game is almost a picture perfect recreation of the town and its inhabitants. People’s homes look just like they do on the show, and are located in the same streets. It looks so good that if you put the controller down during a cutscene, you’d be hard pressed telling the difference between the game and an episode. Characters are voiced by their respective actors/actresses, and there is a plethora of inside jokes. Seriously, if you even saw one episode of the show, you will arguably see something in the foreground at one point and say “Wow, they really put that in here?” Conversely, as I am not a fan of the series, I know there is a lot here that serves as comedic gold for long time veterans. It didn’t add to my displeasure of the game, but it does glare at me that I don’t get half of what’s going on.
During the campaign you will customize your character and group of allies to fight in a traditional turned based RPG affair. All of your commands are linked to a scroll wheel and once you select the attacks they play out on screen (usually with some accompanying dialogue from the characters). Want to summon Mr. Hanky and fling a giant poo-nami at your enemies or mash the face buttons to cause your curse words to increase damage dealt? This is the game for you. As far as complexity goes, it is not overly difficult and you will get the hang of combat relatively quickly, if not immediately as it is very straight forward.
This game is a trip. For seasoned fans of the show, this game will give you everything that you could ever want, and then some. It is literally like a 12 hour movie (in a good way, think Uncharted 2). It is full of jokes, great writing and even a few appearances from long gone fan favorites. For the less than hardcore fans out there, the game is a decent and fun RPG with flair. The only real issue with the game is if you have an issue with the show, and that is a quick solution. If you can’t stomach the show, avoid this like the plague, as it is just the show for 12 hours. If you love the show, you will love how much it nails (even the guitar riff after a commercial break when you reload a save). The combat is fun, but the classes ultimately mean little as you can just equip whatever you’d want onto whomever, eliminating the danger of ‘picking the wrong class’. Fans of the show, buy and it and have a blast. Any one just interested in it, wait for a price drop. Everyone else, run. You have been warned.
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