South Park has always had a strong cult following, with a pretty solid casual viewer base. Everyone knows what the series is and what it brings to the table. It is strange, however, that there has only been one major video game since the creation of the series. Most of the fanbase plays video games, and with the announcement of South Park: The Stick of Truth, the hope of everything epic that the show has ever done would please these fans. People can finally put away that Nintendo 64 game, as The Stick of Truth does the show thorough justice.
First thing is first in explaining The Stick of Truth. South Park is no doubt vulgar and disgusting. The television show has broken ground over the years in terms of vulgarity. At some point, over the course of the years, Matt Stone and Trey Parker step over that line, and that never ceases to amaze fans. The Stick of Truth has been censored in a lot of countries, and the U.S. is not one of those countries, so fans here will get the full Monty. That being said, The Stick of Truth is the most vulgar, disgusting game ever to see the light of day. This game is everything Stone and Parker want to air in a South Park episode on Comedy Central. This reviewer will not go into detail due to potential spoilers, but players will notice right off the bat how much uncensored cursing is in the game. At much like the television show has progressed over the years, The Stick of Truth will cross lines you wouldn’t think possible.
The story in The Stick of Truth focuses on a battle between “The Grand Wizard” Cartman, and a group of elves led by Kyle. These kids play dress up and act out a war over what is known as “The Stick of Truth”. Basically, it’s just a stick, but whoever holds the stick controls the universe. You play as the new kid in town, who literally doesn’t say a word the entire game. No matter what you name your character, Cartman will call him by a different name the entire time. You will have the opportunity to explore the entire town of South Park, its outlying wilderness, and Canada. That’s right, the entire country of Canada is available at your fingertips. Along the way you will encounter plenty of characters from the show dating back years. The story is molded much like an episode of the show, as the subject matter starts out as nothing, and ends up being blown out of proportion.
The Stick of Truth plays like a traditional RPG. There is a main quest and a decent amount of side quests. Unfortunately, the side quests are tedious, but what saves them is the fact that its South Park, and this is a good way to encounter classic characters. There are tons of memorabilia in the game that are throwbacks to the series. You can loot these items, along with plenty of other things. Patches give enhancements to your weapons, and dyes allow for color customization of items. Other items include potions and facial items.
The battle system in The Stick of Truth is a turn-based style RPG, normally including one other person. When attacking, the game plays like a real-time event, as timing determines how perfect a hit is. Blocking is also a real-time event, and depending on how perfect your timing is, the more damage you’ll inflict on opponents or take on yourself. Summons can be unlocked during the game and used once a day. These summons cannot be used on bosses, but they are all downright hilarious. Your player levels up in the game, but your teammate does not. Their damage ability just goes with whatever your level is, as do the enemies. You cannot upgrade any of their weapons, but they all do have their own special abilities that use PP. The battle system is a basic prowess, but fun nonetheless.
The character customization in The Stick of Truth is fairly deep. There is a good amount of garb you can use to pigeonhole a stereotype from the show’s past into your character. Players get the choice of four different classes: Fighter. Mage, Thief, and finally Jew. Cartman states the Jew is a Paladin/Monk hybrid class described as “high risk, high reward” and can handle finances better. As bad as that sounds, it’s only the beginning of what to expect in this game. Every other class is what you would expect, with special ability moves that can be used accordingly. Your teammates in battle will have a class assigned as well, but strangely weapons are open ended. Each character will have a ranged weapon or combat. Starting out as the thief, this reviewer’s character had a dagger, but it was long forgotten for more powerful one-handed weapons down the road.
Your player has a Facebook page. Yes, it’s called Facebook. It is amazing how many trademarks they get away with in this game. The more people you encounter, you can add them as friends. Accruing friends unlocks perks, twenty in total. There are also four levels of magic to unlock, along with class-specific abilities to unlock and level up. You cannot comment on other people’s pages, but they can on yours. The use of cell phones is very prevalent in The Stick of Truth.
Everything in the town of South Park will be recognizable to fans. Each house or building can be explored and looted, and some houses will provide some disturbing surprises. Most all of the items in the environment are interactive, and anything and anybody can be hit with a weapon. Also, battles are initiated by contact. If you do not hit the enemy during the encounter first, the enemy will get to attack first.
As for the technical aspect of The Stick of Truth, it is 100% of what to expect of the show. Sure the graphics do not blow anyone away, but they are completely on par with the show. Everything in the environment is two-dimensional. The controls are spot on in navigation and in battle. The response time has to be excellent for the quick time event battle system, and the game delivers on that. Loading times are almost non-existent besides going into some buildings and different areas, but you are only talking five seconds at the most.
The sound in The Stick of Truth is pristine. The voice acting and dialogue is perfect (in terms of South Park). There are less than a handful of pre-recorded voiceovers from the show in the game, but those are in there for good reason. The music and sound effects steal heavily from Skyrim and Diablo, which adds to the over-the-top humor of the entire game. Going into some stores, you will recognize music from the television series.
In terms of replay value, The Stick of Truth offers a solid amount. The biggest is being able to play as four different classes. There is one point in the story where there is a major choice, but ultimately the story ends up in the same spot. There are side quests as noted earlier, but most are fetch quests and seem tedious. The ending results relating to the characters involved are worth it, however. There are no quest generations, and grinding isn't much of an option in this game because there are not a ton of enemies to encounter. Most of the time, your teammate will make a comment at the beginning of some battles about wasting time.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is every South Park fan’s dream in a video game. It is very hard to go into detail of what to expect in this game without giving away spoilers. There will be so many “shake your head” moments mixed with pure hilarity and a little bit of astonishment. Parker and Stone did not hold back in this game, and that is why this reviewer believes the game got delayed for so long. In their minds, it had to be perfect and had to have every element of the television series involved. Whatever small faults this game has are easily overlooked for the pure experience. If you are not a South Park fan, you will most likely end up staying away from it anyways, or will not understand the humor and think the overall experience is too simplistic. The Stick of Truth is the complete South Park experience, and there is nothing else in gaming like it.
+ The ultimate South Park experience
+ Controls are spot on
+ Voice acting and dialogue
- Vulgarity and disgust run rampant
- Fetch quests
- No multiplayer
A code for Steam was provided for review