It’s been a while since we’ve seen a South Park licensed video game, and it’s said that the reason is the creators of the hit television comedy series wanted to get a video game developed that really represented and matched the experience of watching the show. I would say that such a decision has led up to a long wait on the gamer’s part and the result is even more pressure to succeed. South Park: The Stick Of Truth seemed to approach us with a gentle stream of marketing, and when the Gameplay was shown players were already believers.
Now the full game is out and must live up to a decent amount of fuzzy feelings and hype, since they’ve chosen to go the route of RPG they have a genre and a hilarious franchise to live up to. The Stick Of Truth turned to Turn based RPG mixed with Live Action QTE-style prompts that must be executed well to increase the performance of your characters moves in order to create the perfect blend of gameplay for this title. Players will also be tasked with blocking attacks using live action prompts that can eventually be memorized to a specific timing, though they come in variety.
Another convenient feature that keeps this game from just being a random RPG system slapped onto the South Park brand is that on top of having a pretty cool live action prompt (QTE-esque) battle gameplay style with turn-based move selections, South Park: The Stick Of Truth allows each character to use an item or heal others once per turn in addition to making an attack move. Players use party members to perform buddy commands in the open world and can swap them out via menu or even mid-battle.
At the end of each match you’ll regenerate your status to healthy over a quick time and your companions will as well. This doesn’t make the player overpowered by any sense, but removes a common annoyance from older RPG games which might require healing to take up the entire turn for a powerful character – thereby extending the battle further than it should due to attrition. In addition to this, out in the open world – whenever you see a glint (shiny spot) then that means you can use a ranged weapon to find some secret piece of content that you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed because you are a Mountain Dew addicted, ADHD plagued zombie oh sorry I meant Hardcore Gamer! 🙂
Players navigate the game open world starting fights, finding random groups of elven clan kids (your sworn enemies), finding side-quests, and more. Players can even find ways to kill enemies before entering the turn based battle with them, or at the very least give them negative status ailments. Exploring does pay off very well too as there is tons of stuff to collect hidden all around. Main missions are the key to progressing the story, and are pretty fun. The side-quests don’t dip in quality from this, and instead tell equally compelling side-stories that just aren’t completely relevant to the main quest at hand. The beginning of a play-through is going to contain plenty of grinding and walking, but fast travel locations (in the form of Timmy carting you around) are unlockable as players discover the various locations from the real South Park town. Oh yeah, you read that right – the REAL South Park Town in an RPG – how hilarious! It’s alive too and everybody is saying funny stuff that doesn’t seem to get repetitive. City Wok is there and everything.
Straight from the beginning this game is funny. The intro reminiscent of Heavy Metal 2000 with and Cartman’s giggle-worthy intensity telling an epic tale of The Stick Of Truth which sets up the games plot quite nicely. Skin color is chosen and the creators decided to include a Spray Tan Way Jersey option for example. Later on down the line you can even buy yourself plastic surgery to change how you look. An engrossing storyline is presented with perfect flow as expected from a South Park experience. Passionate tides of battle coupled with so many hilarious moments are what players can get out of this game’s drummed up, heroic-feeling tale. Creating South Park experience in the format of a game is possibly one of the best accomplishments of the game industry thus far.
There are also other pieces of side-content that can be delved into deeper such as collecting ‘Chinpokomon’, beating up homeless people with serious attitude and drinking problems (they started it!), collecting keys to your best friends (and perhaps enemies) houses, and of course there’s the social networking interface with fictional characters from the South Park universe. The more friends you get the more perks you unlock such as allowing characters you revive to come back to life with full health right away. This is a very interesting way for the game and brand to once again show its relevance to popular culture and being in tune with modern times.
I still remember seeing the first glimpses of South Park back when it was being hosted on a home made Flash website and News had come that it was being put on TV. That was around the time I was playing Duke Nukem 3D on Windows PC and Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation (good times, good times). The television premiere nailed it, with pretty much everyone in the world finding it a hilarious and awesome show regardless of how old they were and whether they were male, female, street, book-nerdy, you name it! Everybody loves South Park. Picture it as the raunchy uncle of shows like Family Guy but with a unique writing style, art style, and comedy style brought to you by the creators since they originally started this brand.
The cut-scenes are so good players start forgetting they’re playing a game and start thinking they’re watching the actual television show. Jokes are everywhere in this game, even random item names. You’ll find Phil Collins’ Oscar on the ground in a movie theater with an identified value attached… it’s worth 90 cents.
Your Character’s Inventory / Equipment:
* All weapons can be customized with special features such as increased block, HP regen per turn, increased damage, and more.
- Melee Weapon*
- Ranged Weapon*
- Hands (rings which may cause attribute effects for example)
- Body (clothing with attributes and special effects on the wearer)
- Head (a hat, helmet, gas mask, etc. with its own attributes and effects as well)
- Additional Customizations to be collected: Facial Hair, Makeup, Eyewear, Hair
- POWERS (Abilities, Perks, Magic)
- HP, PP, MANA
- CLASS: Fighter, Mage, Thief, Jew
One major choice ends up being to side with Cartman or Kyle, this choice is foreshadowed when selecting your class at the beginning of the game when Cartman hears you click on Jew, before you confirm the selection, he mutters “Jew huh? Well, I guess we’ll never be friends then.” Al Gore trying to stop ManBearPig with your help is just one example among many entertaining side missions. The game’s map also features a Treasure Map, locations to discover, and the battle system gets even deeper with more passing gameplay hours.
I first heard about Mr. Hankey’s presence in this game by a random woman walking by texting and blabbing on her cell phone. I gave her a good few ‘wacks’ with my Jewish Staff as a thank you and then farted on her which she seemed to enjoy based on the tone in her voice when she was grunting and moaning back. After this I knew I was in for a decent amount of cameos. I won’t go into detail spoiling how each character reveals themselves, but here is a list of some of the characters players can expect to see.
Cameos from South Parks’ known and beloved character roster:
- Eric Cartman
- Kyle Broflovski
- Stan Marsh
- Princess Kenny
- Randy Marsh
- Mr. Mackey
- Scott Malkinson
- Mr. Garrison
- Principal Victoria
- The Nonconformists
- Nazi Zombies
- Mr. Slave
- Morgan Freeman
- And Many, Many More!
- INCLUDING: A Very Special Unexpected Guest
Our play-through of the PC version showed no bugs / glitches though our PS3 version didn’t arrive yet. The engine performed on Windows PC flawlessly with some level design issues such as a few parts where you seem to get stuck or it isn’t entirely apparent what to do next.
Between the achievements, four different classes to play as, and many side-quests, pieces of side-content, easter eggs, and exploration opportunities South Park: The Stick Of Truth offers a lot of replay value. Couple this with the inherent replay value of role playing games due to the various weapon / skill / perk combinations used in battle that can be different on a new play-through, and you’re looking at a high replay value. There’s also the ability to continue playing as your built up character even after beating the game.
South Park: The Stick Of Truth is basically the experience of playing as yourself in a huge episode of the TV show that you’ve never seen before, and an awesome turn based RPG at the same time. The turn based RPG genre has been suffering for a while now and this game surprisingly adds one more solid AAA experience into that category of gaming while still being South Park to the core. Every mature adult should own a copy of this game at some point in their life, it’s just great. There are tons of more awesome nuggets of gameplay that I really just don’t want to spoil for you all, but if you were looking for a rent, buy, skip response – buy.
As for the debate about the cost of the game, I have a few words to say. I estimate if you are not speed-running, do a play-through for each of the 4 classes, play all of the side missions at least once, and try to do different builds for upgrades by grinding here and there – you could easily put more hours into this game than the competing titles at this price rage, making it well worth the launch day asking price of $59.99. The only real improvement I would suggest is that some levels were a bit unclear as to how players should proceed as well as the “strap-on” attachments for weapons and armor could have been made more convenient in the long-term. These are very minor complaints for such a great game though, and overall South Park: The Stick Of Truth gets a 9.8 out of 10 from RGN making it a Platinum Game.
Overall Score: 9.8 / 10
RGN Rating : Platinum Game
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment / South Park Digital Studios
Available On: PS3 | Xbox 360 | PC
Played On: Windows PC
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the vendor for the purpose of this review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140307 and was last modified on 20140307 .