South Park: The Stick of Truth is about as close as your going to get to an interactive series of South Park episodes. The game is absolutely everything the show represents, from the look and feel of the game, all the way down to an obsession with farts and everything that departs from the human anus. Let’s get super cereal for a second, if you’ve come to this quiet little mountain town for all of Cartmans’ unnecessarily aggressive profanities, Kenny’s fascination with being a Japanese Princess or even Randy Marsh’s unhealthy obsession over masturbation. Then you’ve come to the right place, for the Stick of Truth holds great power.
It’s limited in it’s extent of what the game can do. After all with Obsidians extensive catalogue of systemically expansive RPG titles, you would expect to find the Stick of Truth a full twenty to thirty hour RPG. But alas it is not, you’ll find that within a very short and hilarious six to eight hours the main story will be done and dusted. With that said, systematically the game is simple. Combat is as easy as it gets, and navigating your way through “puzzles” is just as easy as the combat is. In fact some of the hardest parts of the game come to be the very controversial abortion and alien probing scenes. But then again isn’t that what South Park is supposed to be? Look at the simplicity of the show, shouldn’t that show off in the game? Giving off a simplistic experience while passing over highly enjoyable and hilarious dialogue.
It’s not the deepest of role-playing experiences, but it is still a hell of a lot of fun. Jumping into the game as the new kid, who doesn’t even speak a word makes for a hilarious dialogue between the cast of the game. Highly regarded for your skill at making friends at an incredible rate which others can’t, this power will take you through the small mountain town of South Park meeting the cast of the show round every corner. The fate of the Stick of Truth rests on you, a silent boy who’s just been pulled into Kyle and co’s out-of-control game of high-fantasy role-play. There’s even a side-plot involving an alien invasion and a Taco-Bell, but that doesn’t matter when you’re fighting an everlasting war against the elves.
The story is based on joke delivery, you see. Within the first few minutes of the game you’re parents are making jokes directed straight at you, and with being dubbed “Douchebag” the delivery just goes on and on. South Park pokes fun at a lot of things, and by the time you’ve spent a good few hours in the game, you’ll be too engrossed to turn a blind eye at the disturbing abortion mini-game.
So there you are, a little paper cut-out of yourself hobbling about the small mountain town of South Park, and it’s just that which helps you fit right in with its inhabitants. Exploration is covered for the most part after you pick a class, Fighter, Mage, Thief or Jew. As you can imagine each one comes with it’s own collection of unique abilities and that’s pretty much all the classes matter for as armour and weapons can be worn without class specifics. In my case, I took the Mage route, throwing firecrackers and blowing “magic” dust at my enemies.
You needn’t give much thought to the combat though, as it’s probably one of the easiest mechanics in there. In fact there’s not really any effort required at all, as the joy of combat comes with using new skills and party members. Combat is also further enhanced through the use of “Strap-ons”, taking the form of modifications and enhancements for your armour and weapons. But again, this doesn’t need much mulling over either, with just simply equipping the highest level gear you have, all is fine. Money quickly starts to flow in and finding healing items such as snacks comes incredibly quickly, expelling the need to really even worry about the combat.
Combat items are just as hilarious as the combat itself. Using toilets in South Park gives you the option to fling your poop at your enemies to gross them out, doing damage over time. With the combat also only allowing one other person in your party at one time, it gives you the opportunity to experiment and enjoy the extra characters you can use in battle. Princess Kenny can deal devastating damage with her unicorn and rats, whereas Butters delivers Thor-like devastation through his thunderous attacks and his transformation into Professor Chaos. But with that said, you can easily stick with just one other party member throughout the whole game without having to switch out.
Other mechanics allow you to remove yourself from combat entirely. With the fart mechanics in the game becoming ever more ridiculous as you progress through the game, delivering a nuclear fart and burning enemies to a crisp is hilarious, yet heavily scripted, offering humor but not opening a whole range of choice. With that said most of these situations don’t display much creativity or mechanical creativeness through the design of the combat, yet the creativity is most shown throughout the games story progression. But the Stick of Truth is also unbearably shallow if it were devoid of it’s own licence, with scenes such as beating up a Nazi zombie fetus and journeying to Canada probably being some of the most obscene and shrewd parts in the game.
You cannot help but love the Stick of Truth, as a long-time South Park fan, I enjoyed it’s simplicity and crudeness that the show has been known for. Yet as a Game reviewer I also somewhat dislike it for it’s simplicity in mechanics and short narrative, after all we are being asked to pay £39.99 for a game which is roughly eight hours long. But through it’s flaws is an interactive TV show that features impeccable dialogue and writing in terms of South Parks’ history. For ye who hold the Stick of Truth hath incredible power.