Reviews// South Park: Stick of Truth

Posted 4 Mar 2014 12:30 by
South Park: The Stick of Truth is effectively an RPG using turn-based combat, party quests, main quest and side quests, bad language, scenes of a sex nature (a SEX nature) but most of all the benefit of the South Park graphic style and humour.

If youíre not already a fan of South Park then youíre going to get very bored, very fast with this game given that it is almost like an additional set of episodes to the ancient and revered series. The game makes use of the standard SP barrage of ďIf you donít get it, man, you have nooooo sense of humourĒ. So, gamers who do get it wonít be disappointed.

The graphics, the scripting, the characters (and there are many), the humour; itís as if a set of executives from Ubisoft and developer Obsidian had got together and then Matt Stone and Trey Parker had told them: ďStay true to South Park!Ē and for once, everybody did what they were told.

The game is just so incredibly South Park that all else evaporates. Like the TV series itself, the bones and the plot of South Park: The Stick of Truth build from the imagination of small kids.

This time the kids make weapons out of what they find around them. They fight among themselves in a kid imagination way but this soon becomes something bigger.

But how does it play as a game? Itís more than adequate. Obsidian - responsible for Fall Out: New Vegas and some Neverwinter Nights games in the past - has done an excellent job in a small map. The map is, obviously, of South Park the town, and we all have to face up to the fact the South Park the town isnít that huge.

As far as Iím concerned though, thatís fine. I donít need to travel (even fast travel) through vast areas of nothing in order to get into a quest - or in the case of SPSoT, lots of side quests. Available space isnít impressive unless you can do something with it. Therefore Iím pleased that the small townness of the TV series has been retained.

And yes, at heart SPSoT is a questing game with turn-based combat. Me, I stopped enjoying turn-based combat in about 1983 with Call of Cthulhu RPGs, slightly stoned, in a damp student flat as a damp student.

But, like Subbuteo or poker or Ticket to Ride or cricket, I can see how turn-based games offer their rewards in terms of pre-planning, inventory management and tactics. While the combat in SPSoT never really moves on from where it starts (Block or Spell or Fight or Special Ability or Heal or Die) thereís a comfort in learning how best to partake of its clumsy pleasures.

You play the new Kid, and I wonít spoil the naming ceremony gag. In order to quest and side-quest, you make friends (using Facebook-like requests) and you build questing parties of other familiar and not so familiar (to me) characters from the series.

The learning curves for combat, communications, questing, travelling and even finding objects is smooth and, unlike the aim of some of the scenes, wouldnít shock or disturb your maiden aunty. Itís all very, very playable indeed. Thatís not to say that there are not challenges; there are. Theyíre all tailored to fun and kicks, too.

So, would I rave about SPSoT? No, I wouldnít. Everything it sets out to do it achieves with great efficiency and with no other ambition than to create a very playable video game from a very popular extant property.

Like the LEGO Movie Videogame (reviewed here) it serves its maternal Intellectual Property very well indeed. In so doing, it also serves up a highly playable game to the fans of that IP.

While itís not faultless (there are glitches, they are random) and it brings nothing new or innovative to gaming, what it does achieve is provide a good game. Along with the aforementioned LEGO game, there is a hope that media such as TV, film and maybe one day books of fiction can - when handled sensitively and with mutual respect - cross over and enrich or at least not damage each other.

Pros
+ Lots to do.
+ South Park humour.
+ Looks like the show.

Cons
- South Park humour.
- Occasionally glitchy.
- Small map.

SPOnG Score: 3.5/5

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