You Can Now Get South Park: The Stick of Truth on PS4 and Xbox One - Here's Why You Should

From IGN - February 13, 2018
By Ryan McCaffrey

Its really quite remarkable how South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have slowly ramped up the shock value over the past 17 years to keep the show sharp. Whether they and developer Obsidian could pull off the same for a 14-hour game instead of a 22-minute show was never a sure thing. But there I was, shrunk down to Underpants Gnome-size, crawling up Mr. Slaves orifices to retrieve a WMD, slicing through gobs of bodily fluids in turn-based JRPG combat and climbing up half-digested corn-on-the-cob as I went, laughing hysterically the whole way. Im floored at how consistently funny it is, and at how well the outrageous comedy melds with the relatively simple gameplay to create not just an amazing South Park game, but an intelligent and witty satire of roleplaying mechanics.

As for the story, its a clever premise that allows The Stick of Truth to take place in a recognizable and painstakingly recreated South Park setting, but also brings in all the usual fantasy roleplaying tropes through the power of childrens imagination. Its a trick used many times in the show, and it works great for the game, too. An epic LARPing session (as casually set up by last years Black Friday trilogy of episodes) has your custom-created new kid in town joining either Cartmans Humans or Kyles Elves, all dressed in amusingly bad makeshift cosplay outfits. True to the show, things escalate wildly and hilariously, leading to conspiracies involving the government, aliens, and Taco Bell.

Though it manifests itself in typically over-the-top South Park-ian ways, The Stick of Truth is a Paper Mario-esque RPG-lite. You and your single extra party member (youll unlock several South Park regulars, though only one can fight with you at a time) take turns battling formations of enemies, be it the Gingers, crazy homeless guys, aliens, and more. Typical buffs and debuffs are ably skinned in screwed-up fourth grader verbiage (throwing feces to add gross out effects) mixed with mana-powered spells and timed button-press attacks and blocks to keep you on your toes during combat. It keeps things simple enough while still leaving room for some tactical depth. And Obsidian refreshingly leaves out time-sink annoyances like character encumbrance and random battles you cant avoid.

I couldnt resist the curious lure of playing as the Jew class over the archetypal Fighter, Thief, and Mage options, but the differences between them turned out to be disappointingly slight. Sure, each has their own special abilities, but there are effectively no class-specific weapons or items, and theres nothing to stop a Mage from choosing melee-enhancing gear and carving up foes with a blade just as well as a Fighter. All classes eventually learn special farting magic (a crude parody of Skyrims Dragon Shouts) though both the thumbstick motions and especially the tutorial sessions for your powers of flatulence tend to be cumbersome. Achievement or Trophy hunting aside, this lack of class differentiation or significant choices in the story are big reasons why I dont feel much incentive to replay the campaign.


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