In South Park: The Stick of Truth, players explore the small Colorado town, engage in turned-based fighting, and encounter endless characters. Almost every conceivable element from the animated television series has been transferred over to this video game adaptation. In fact, developers have created an authentic simulation microcosm of the show where any player (fan or not) can visit any time.
Developed by Obsidian Entertainment in collaboration with South Park Digital Studios, and published by Ubisoft, this long awaiting game has content censors working overtime as Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s popular TV series finally gets a premiere video game adaptation that will likely win them legions of new fans.
South Park: The Stick of Truth Hype
From the perilous battlefields of the fourth-grade playground, a young hero will rise, destined to be South Park’s savior. From the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, comes an epic quest to become… cool. Introducing South Park: The Stick of Truth.
For a thousand years, the battle has been waged. The sole reason humans and elves are locked in a never-ending war: The Stick of Truth. But the tides of war are soon to change as word of a new kid spreads throughout the land, his coming foretold by the stars. As the moving vans of prophecy drive away, your adventure begins. Arm yourself with weapons of legend to defeat crabpeople, underpants gnomes, hippies and other forces of evil. Discover the lost Stick of Truth and earn your place at the side of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny as their new friend. Succeed, and you shall be South Park’s savior, cementing your social status in South Park Elementary. Fail, and you will forever be known… as a loser.
South Park: The Stick of Truth Reality
The balanced gameplay mainly borrows elements from the role playing game genre, especially the turn based battles and health system, namely HP and PP (you knew gamemaker couldn’t resist that reference), which replenish completely after each battle. The designs are based on two-dimensional, construction-paper cutouts, but the content is definitely mature, especially profane language.
Stone and Parker wrote this game adaptation where The Lord of the Rings, The Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy and The Sims all echo throughout. Players assume the role of a customizable and seemingly mute character who is a new resident in this Colorado town, with the core characters (Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny) in main roles even though they don’t appear until later.
Players choose a character class (Fighter, Wizard, Thief, and Jew) from the Kingdom of Kupa Keep (yes, character reference the acronym). The initial character customization options offer immense and functional combinations, while characters can always level up and modify powers according to these combinations.
Creators don’t miss the chance for humor in any area. In one effective example, the “New Kid” (a.k.a. “Douchebag”) does not talk, so he frustrates characters who emphasize this point. Hilarious instructions from mostly Cartman at the beginning, as well as load screens always make the low learning curve fun. Butters (a.k.a. Professor Chaos) partners up with the new kid as his first party member who gives helpful suggestions and keeps him on task.
There are several characters, references, jokes, surprises, famous quotes, and running gags (e.g. Kenny constantly dying) that will appease fan’s appetites as well as impress on newcomers. The adult characters help with adult antagonists in battles (limited to one per day, though), plus characters in your party help achieve missions as well as fight beside the New Kid. Friends and party members constantly provide funny dialogue that also contains helpful hints at key points.
The excellent interface includes inventory management, skills, perks (bonuses), map, friends (up to 100), updates, quests, etc., but slow loading/scrolling times slow down the pace. The interface only falters when the load times slow down the pace, and/or if players collect too many items to manage, which creates extra scrolling.
South Park: The Stick of Truth progresses through time well unless players get stuck in a certain area. Patient players can get the most rewards by conquering genuine challenges (mostly in expert timing during performed actions) and managing inventory well.
Players can explore and unlock areas and special actions (x icon appears in center bottom screen) and take advantage of quick travel points while increasing the interaction to progress through various tasks and objectives.
Players literally loot for nickels and dimes by destroying various objects, coins, and other beneficial items that allow them to properly gear up. Player can also trade and sell back items to various vending characters. Collectibles include various Chin-pokomon throughout the environments.
Progression works well due to numerous checkpoints which are the ideal method, so backtracking is minimal. The pause button menu offers a save option, but only copies the last checkpoint in a different location.
Who knew going to the toilet would be so challenging? Players encounter some serious button mashing to get (and then fling) some poo … and “break some wind”. The battle gameplay challenges require expert timing and rhythmic precision.
Players can purposely run into enemies or avoid them in the turned based combat, which could be a bit more intuitive or enhanced (e.g. PS Move option), but works well overall.
Each item has different properties for offense (light, heavy, ranged, etc.) or defense. Players get visual cues when to strike or defend. Weapons include bats, golf clubs, hammers, and other items a young child could access (without getting anything too powerful … leave that to the adults like “Jesus”).
Players hear the same voices as the TV show (namely Stone and Parker) for the audio dialogue (Mkay, Mr. Mackey) but, unfortunately, the dialogue subtitle option is only available in English, which is not a good way to make new fans.
The humor ranges from sweet to incredibly vulgar, while Parker and Stone cast a wide net of gameplay to catch novices to the show. This game triggered great memories of one of the few episodes I still have titled “Fun With Weapons” when the core characters formed a martial arts squad that fought villains and their gangs around town until things got out of hand (not as much as the game, but poor Butter suffers due to a throwing star accident).
Check out the following South Park TV episodes that inspired the video game adaptation: “The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers”, “A Song of Ass and Fire”, “Black Friday”, and “Titties and Dragons”. These last two episodes also reference this game’s well publicized delays.
South Park: The Stick of Truth advances the narrative and even the characters very well. It is a highly entertaining and recommended game.
This PlayStation 3 version is available for download or as physical disc. The physical disc version requires 700 MB hard drive space and includes a free downloadable “Ultimate Fellowship Pack” that included four characters with bonus abilities. This game has great potential for future downloadable content (DLC).
Also available on Xbox 360 and PC. Grand Wizard Edition also available on PS3, Xbox360 and PC. Prima Games has one game guide for all versions.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
MSRP: $59.99 ($55.28 in our Amazon affiliate store)
What I Like: Endless humor;simple interface; deep customization; complete health replenishment after battles; entertaining player assistance throughout; additional content potential; quick travel points; great design/production; balanced gameplay; rewards fans/entertains newbies with references, surprises, and gags
What Needs Improvement: No multiplayer modes/options; auto save loads; lack of expanded subtitle languages
Source: South Park: The Stick of Truth for PlayStation 3 reviewer copy provided by publisher