‘South Park: The Stick of Truth’ is Kick-Ass
DEVELOPER: Obsidian Entertainment
SYSTEM: Microsoft Xbox 360 (PS3, PC)
ESRB RATING: Mature
REVIEW RATING: 4.0 stars (out of 5)
I was lucky enough to catch the debut of “South Park” over 15 years ago, and I’ve been a loyal fan ever since. Although several games based on the series were created, they all died a more gruesome death than Kenny! Now “South Park: The Stick of Truth” has been released, and I’m delighted to exclaim that this turn-based RPG is a wonderfully fun, incredibly hilarious, disgusting game that’s sure to offend everyone. That’s right, playing the game is just like watching the TV show!
Promising Medieval cyber warriors begin their adventure as the new kid (nicknamed douchebag) who’s just moved to the seemingly quiet Podunk town of South Park. Soon he’s recruited by Cartman, the human Grand Wizard, to fight against the Elves (led by King Kyle) for possession of the all-powerful stick of truth (a twig). Eventually, the plot becomes extremely convoluted and involves aliens, government agents, underpants gnomes, SNUKES and, of course, Nazi zombie cows.
Players create their character using an in-depth creation tool, and they can change the look in-game by finding and using wacky items such as goth skull face and glam makeup. Four classes are available (Fighter, Mage, Thief, Jew) that offer marginal differences in combat. Sure their basic moves are different, but all classes can use the same weapons and armor with no penalties, and they all learn the same hilarious fart magic.
That’s right, I said fart magic. What “South Park” game would be complete without constant references to bodily excretions? Douchebag can learn four different types of farts that are available in and out of combat. For example, the sneaky squeaker is used to distract people, while the dragonshout damages enemies in combat or causes explosions out of combat. What really cracks me up is the ability to imbue weapon attacks with fart magic to not only make them more powerful, but also gross out the enemy. Gross out is a funny debuff that makes characters puke and prevents them from being healed. Other debuffs include standards such as burning, slow and stun.
Fortunately, players don’t go into battle alone, as they can have one buddy at their side during most combat scenarios. This is where players control the main characters in “South Park,” and the fighting moves are over the top! Butters the Paladin uses his holy hammer to smite enemies and can transform into Professor Chaos while Jimmy the Bard stutters his way through songs that buff allies and debuff enemies. What’s really cool is the ability to change buddies during combat so players can adapt combat to suit the situation.
In addition to the main quest line, it’s also possible to pick up several side-quests that reward players with experience-points loot. This is where most of the familiar “South Park” references occur, and one of the best side-quest lines involves Al Gore’s annoying hunt for Manbearpig. I also really appreciate the ability to see and explore the entire town of South Park as well as the retro-pixelated country of Canada.
Besides alien anal probes and Nazi zombies, all is not well in the virtual town of South Park. For starters, the game play is barely challenging even on the hardest difficulty setting. I also think there aren’t enough differences between character classes, and the level cap is reached too easily. Lastly, additional abilities such as crafting weapons and armor, as well as class-specific quests would give the game more depth and offer incentives to replay the adventure.
Regardless, “South Park: The Stick of Truth” is an authentic replication of the TV show with an engaging storyline and fun game play … per se.
REVIEW SCORING SYSTEM
5 stars = Must Have
4 stars = Very Good
3 stars = Above Average
2 stars = Bargain Bin
1 star = Don’t Bother
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)
E10+: (Everyone 10 and older)
T: Teen (13 and older)
M: Mature (17 and older)
To find out more about Jeb Haught and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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