South Park: The Stick of Truth
Developer: South Park Digital Studios; Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date: 3/4/2014
Gaming Platform: PS3
South Park, is an insanely long running television series, that offers up inappropriate humor, that is only marginally more family friendly than pornography. Honestly, I have absolutely no problem with that. Adults can like cartoons, too. South Park: The Stick of Truth offers up a video game experience, that is just about as family friendly as an interactive sex show. This is NOT a game for kids. Walking down the street, you are just as likely to open a door and see a potential friend, as you are to walk in on a guy in a bondage mask fucking a horse. ... Seriously, in the game I walked in on a guy in a bondage mask fucking a horse. Like I said, NOT a game for kids.
If you are familiar with South Park's irreverent brand of humor, you either love it or hate it. Rarely is there someone who sits on the fence and just says, "It's ok." If you love South Park's humor, this game will be right up your alley. You get to basically live out your own episode of South Park, meeting up with all your favorite characters, and Butters, too! You can hop on down to the City Wok, say hi to Mr. Kim, and listen to him bitch about the Goddamn Mongolians. Or you can learn the top secret ingredient to Mr. Tweek's coffee. The City of South Park lays open before you. You are not forced to go where the game tells you to (immediately anyway) and you can go and help Al Gore seek out Manbearpig before moving on with the first major quest. Honestly, I love the questing system in the game. It offers up humorous japes at society, including a quest to find Jesus... Which literally involves FINDING Jesus, as in Jesus is playing hide and seek!
The game also builds off of (but is not actually related to) the epic three part Black Friday/Game of Thrones episodes of the series. Seriously, the final scene for the last of the three episodes, actually mentions the game. Not to mention the "beautiful" Princess Kenny, is still twirling her hair. The story is the typical mix of South Park randomness, and if you've ever watched a couple episodes, you have a good idea of the direction things will go. The game offers up an insane amount of in jokes and references for fans of the series. There is a large side quest that involves collecting the Chinpokomon dolls.
The RPG elements are mocked in the game, Cartman even goes so far as to skewer the turn-based combat system as part of the tutorial. Healing "potions" are just random food items, and from what I can tell the magic is actually just a complicated series of farts. A fun bit, is that EVERY piece of new equipment can change your character's appearance. This is a welcome change from the RPGs where you can equip full plate mail, and it looks like you are still wearing the same leather armor you started out with.
The game is not a total success, though, as it relies on some less than stellar mechanics, one of which almost managed to completely kill the game for me. Well timed button presses, of the type seen in rhythm-type games make some skills difficult to use. There is also the hardcore button mashing insanity, that is reminiscent of the drinking game at the Millennial Fair in Chrono Trigger. It relies on the mashing a certain button at an insanely fast speed. Unlike the mini game in Chrono Trigger, the button-mashing in South Park is unavoidable, and is completely necessary to advance the game. This piece of shit mechanic, can easily render a majority of the game completely inaccessible. This is not the way to endear your game to the hearts of the casual gamer.
The game is hilarious, in an immature sort of way. If you are a fan of South Park, then you probably already have this game! The parts I could get to were fun, save for the one scene that was borderline impossible. If you are a regular casual gamer, this game is not something that you will particularly enjoy, I imagine.
This game was at times a joy to behold, and at other times an unholy terror that must have surely come from the minds of the Great Old Ones. It is rude, crude, and takes offensiveness to a brand new level. The part of me that loved South Park had a blast. The part of me that loves games was left infuriated by the button-mashing mechanic that nearly ended the game for me. Combined with the occasionally frustrating fart "magic" this is not a game I think I will be picking up again any time soon.
P2 Rating: 7 out of 10