South Park: The Stick of Truth (PS3) Review

Posted: April 29, 2014 in Game reviews
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When it comes to cartoon shows on TV my absolute favourite has got to be South Park. Trey Parker and Matt Stone provide great satire on pop culture and what’s topical in a way that’s often roaringly offensive but really clever nontheless. Now what I really wanted for a long time was a South Park game to capture that feel. There were some South Park games on the PS1/N64 which I’ve never played, but I’ve heard are just mediocre alternatives to other better games. The game I’m going to be talking about is the recent South Park The Stick of Truth for the PS3. How is this game? Is it the South Park game the fans have been hoping for? Well let’s see.

SP1

The story revolves around the new kid who moves to South Park. When he goes out to play with the other kids he finds out of a war that is going on between humans and elves. They are fighting over the Stick of Truth because whoever has the stick controls the universe. Both factions want the new kid on their side as he contains a power he has yet to discover.  It very much plays out like lord of the rings and when you really break it down its kids playing and using their imagination, but it’s seen from their perspectives. It plays up its satire well and makes you feel like you’re actually watching a long episode of South Park. I don’t want to spoil the story elements too much because part of the fun is seeing them for yourself for the first time.

SP2

First thing to describe about the gameplay is that it is a turn-based RPG. Personally I’m not into this genre of games, mostly because I find them monotonous and with too complex stories, but I find this game to be much more enjoyable. There are many humerous moments and nods to the TV series spliced throughout and I found myself frequently laughing at some of the side quests and level objectives you have to do, such as rescuing kids from detention or learning to harness the power of farting. Also the battle system makes use of different control schemes and is based on timing your attacks, a trait similar to that of Paper Mario. That with the humour interweaved throughout means that the game rarely gets boring.

SP3

When you start the game you can create the character you play as to be your own personal avatar, which is also customisable throughout. You then meet the wizard king at the Kingdom of Kupa Keep and you have a choice of four classes to choose from: Fighter, Mage, Thief or Jew. Each class has its own different traits and different special moves. When you level up your character with EXP you can also level up one of the special moves and gain access to other powers. The other area of levelling up is by getting friends. You talk to someone or help them with a certain task and they then friend you on Facebook. With enough friends you get perks that help you in battle like reduced damage, or increased recovery. I recommend trying to find as many friends as you can for the perks and to see some of them occasionally post funny Facebook messages. Some of your friends can also be support characters in battle such as Butters with his healing touch and Princess Kenny’s seductive charm (don’t ask).

SP6

The visuals and art style are made to look almost exactly like the TV series does, from the look of the characters to how they animate, it all feels right at home. Likewise the town of South Park all looks like it does in the show. Being able to explore all around the town to get from one location to another really shows how the world comes together and how everything is linked which I’d never seen before.

SP4

The music used throughout the game and battles is typical fantasy-epic music used to enhance the mood. Long-time fans such as myself may even recognise some of these tracks from the recent Black-Friday saga, and listen out for other familiar sound cues used throughout the show. The voice acting is of course just another aspect that really makes this game come to life. Trey Parker and Matt Stone provide the voices for their respective characters and the writing is just what you’d expect. Not to sound like a broken record but it makes you feel like you’re actually watching South Park and makes playing the game just all that more enjoyable.

SP7

So what’s wrong with this game? Well the biggest problem I kept running into was that whenever you go from one screen to another and it hasn’t fully loaded slowdown does occur, quite a lot actually. Very rarely does the framerate get choppy during the action, but it’s not the most robust. This game also has some scenes censored in Europe. Considering some of the other disgusting scenes in the game that are uncensored it raises the question, were the censored scenes really THAT bad? Also the game is a little too easy. Whenever you get a tough fight it always seems like there’s some item that makes the fight easier, whether it be fully replenishing your health or using a summon on tough enemies that aren’t quite boss standard. Still though it doesn’t stop the game from being a hugely enjoyable experience.

SP8

So by that you can definitely tell what I think of this game. Coming from a huge South Park fan it’s evident that the game designers had a lot of love for the cartoon, and it shows throughout. Despite being not very hard and of course it will offend some people it is still vast enjoyable and very very funny (can’t stress that last one enough). Just the fact that I’m not into RPGs and I got a big kick out of this game you know it’s doing something right. I thought the game was awesome and I’d even go as far as to say it is my favourite game based off a TV series, yep even surpassing The Simpsons Hit and Run.

SP5

Final Score: 9/10

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