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Sometimes it’s the (dirty) thought that counts.
And what dirtier thoughts are there than those found on South Park? Since August of 1997, (yeah, it’s old enough to drive now), Matt Stone and Trey Parker have brought us crude humor, shocking moments, fart jokes, angry parents/family values groups and mocked pretty much anything a person can possibly hold sacred. It’s also brought us some of the greatest satire in modern television.
We’ve had South Park games in the past, most of them pretty bad (Chef’s Luv Shack and South Park Rally were particularly abysmal) but The Stick of Truth showed real promise, being both an RPG and on a solid platform. How does it stack up to other South Park games? Blows them all away. How does it stand on its own? Pretty damn well, if you’re in for the right reasons.
Also, if you’re underage or offended by South Park in general, don’t read this one. The following review contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone.
The game begins with a great opening animation, leading to a character creation setup (see our First Impressions bit for more). After you’ve been kicked out of your house by your parents, you meet Butters, engaged in battle with a Dark Elf. After smacking the Elf upside the head (you’ll be doing that a lot, by the way), Butters becomes your friend on Facebook, a mechanic that allows certain perks to be earned when a set number of friends are attained. Butters leads you to the Kingdom of Kupa Keep (Cartman has a thing for initials) where Eric Cartman, the Wizard King, leads the battle against the Elves to keep possession of the titular (heh, South Park) Stick of Truth, which seems to allow the wielder unlimited power. Of course, in typical South Park fashion, events occur that makes the whole situation a lot more serious, including an Alien incursion, a government cover-up and *groan* Nazi Zombies.
Of course, in typical Stone and Parker fashion, the topics are all subjects of satire and mockery. In fact, thanks to the amazing art direction, it’s basically a twelve-hour episode of South Park. All the intelligence of the show is there, as are the voice actors, and a crapload of bits and pieces of the entire run of the show (any of the main characters’ closets will be a good example).
As the game progresses, you will obtain new abilities, such as the rock-shattering fart or teleporting anal probe that makes exploration a little more interesting. Along with the Facebook/Perk system, you unlock a few abilities based on your class and can increase their effectiveness as you level up. There are also 30 Chinpokomon hidden throughout the game to collect as well (ugh).
A fair warning to the uninitiated: this game has some pretty crude and offensive subject matter: Nazi Zombies speak from recordings of Adolf Hitler, gingers are mocked throughout, there are at least two interactive abortion sequences, a cartoonish depiction of the digestive system (in reverse), anal-probing aliens and of course the standard swearing. Of course, if any of this offends you, why did you bother to look into it? South Park has been around long enough to know what it is. Fans who love it in the show will love it in the game.
There are some already infamous downsides, like the stunningly easy difficulty, the lack of difference between the character classes, the limited number of attacks and an uninspired sewer level. For anyone looking for a difficult, deep, varied and sewer-tastic game, there are certainly other games that exceed this one. The thing is, sometimes simplicity is a good thing when the focus is on the comedy, which it certainly is here, though anyone hoping for more of the fantastic satire that makes the show great will be left a little disappointed.
That’s a loooot of
What this game proves is that a simple control scheme and a boatload of faithful, loving affection for a property can translate into a really great experience. Maybe not worth the $60 for a new copy, as thirteen hours isn’t great for an RPG after doing all the side quests, but it’s also a game you’ll be laughing about for a long time and certainly one of the best games at immersing you into its world. Especially the part about Canada.
A must play at lower prices.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content and Violence. Which you already knew if you know what South Park is. Play at your own emotional risk.