South Park: The Stick of Truth Review

SPSouth Park: The Stick of Truth (Available on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: M
Number of Players: 1
Genre: RPG
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date: March 4th, 2013

Parent Talk: The ESRB has rated South Park: The Stick of Truth M for mature because of…do you really need to know the rest?  South Park is extremely vulgar, with countless swear words, tons of nudity, and everything else mature-themed you can think of.  Under no circumstances should children be allowed anywhere near this game.  It’s really that simple.

Plays Like: Imagine Paper Mario for light-RPG gameplay, mixed with shades of Knights of the Old Republic II when it comes to weapon and armor upgrades.  The story is wickedly delightful, and the humor is often offensive, but hilarious.

Review Basis: I played through the PC version of the game.  I finished it, and will return one day, as the legends have foretold.

Could South Park: The Stick of Truth be a near perfect game?  Is it possible that it could make me laugh non-stop for hours on end?  The answer to both of those questions is yes, South Park: The Stick of Truth is one of the very best videogames of the generation, and hands down the best licensed game ever made.  I knew this looked good when I first saw it at E3, but having completed the game, I never imagined it would be this incredible.

The Testicular:

Having the balls to do what no one else has done before.  The show has always pushed new ground in satire, and now Matt Stone and Trey Parker have done the same for videogames.  You have never played a videogame like this before, I guarantee it.

SP2The Great:

Over the years there have been a few licensed games that have been spectacular and genre-defining like GoldenEye 007, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and ET the Extraterrestrial for the Atari 2600…ok maybe not that last one, but there sure have been some awesome licensed games.  More often than not though these types of games are quick cash-ins that completely suck, or are extremely disappointing.  South Park: The Stick of Truth is absolutely, 110% the absolute best licensed game I have ever played in my life.  It not only uses the property in smart and unique ways, but it actually feels like you’re playing through a mini-series devoted to South Park.  I’m not joking either, I haven’t watched a South Park episode in years, and yet I couldn’t help but laugh at all the dick jokes, or be amazed by just how wonderfully intelligent this piece of satire is.  If you have any doubts about this game or its quality, you can rest assure you have nothing to fear here.  The Stick of Truth is brilliant!

It’s not just the fact that the property has been used so well, it’s the core concept itself that is fantastic.  What’s more normal than a group of children trying to save the universe from their very own backyard?  I used to do this all the time with my brother.  So in essence you have a videogame wrapped around an imaginary setting created by a group of foul-mouthed children.  It couldn’t be more perfect.

SP1The Good:

+ The story and satire are pure South Park.  Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of the show, or haven’t watched it in years, you’ll come to appreciate almost everything this game has to offer.  The story is epic, ridiculous, and awesome all at the same time.  Sure the dick jokes can get old if that’s not your thing, but in the end you’ll actually care for these characters even if you aren’t a fan of the universe.

+ Great gameplay.  The battle system is easy to understand and works much like the Paper Mario series.  When you see enemies on the street, you can flick them with your sword which will draw you into a turn-based encounter.  From there a very simple radial command system allows you to attack, use magic, perform summoning spells, and more.  Real-time elements have been added in order to make the action feel more interactive.  All the key moves you can perform from attacking to using special magical attacks will require you to press certain buttons at key moments in order to boost your attacks, or prevent severe damage from incoming attacks.  It works so much better than I thought it would, and while it does take some getting used to for the timing, once you get the hang of it, battles almost always feel fresh.

+ There’s also a great enhancement system in place, which works much like KOTOR II.   Weapons and armor both have sockets, which you can fill with special offensive and defensive bonuses.  These include being able to gain a 10% HP bonus on a pair of gloves you happen to have equipped, or a fire damage bonus on that shiny new sword you just got.  Being able to easily mix and match enhancements is great because you always feel like trying something new.

+ Some of the most epic boss battles you’ll ever face.  I wish I could go into detail about just how epic these battles are, or who you’ll face, but doing so would ruin the game for a lot of people.  Instead I’ll just say that it’s often not just the characters you face off against, but the setting.  There’s one battle in particular that had me in stiches because not only did I have to contend with a mighty foe, but also the incredible power of one man’s…well…you’ll see when you play the game.

+ While you explore the ‘overworld’ you can actually defeat enemies without ever engaging in battle because of magic farting abilities you learn.  Yes, that’s right, you learn to control the mystical power of the fart.  If you happen to see enemies near a candle, you can unleash a powerful fart which will ignite and kill all those enemies around the candle.  Using your environment in effective ways because a great way to avoid fights, and a clever way to reaching areas you didn’t even realize you could get to.

+ There are four classes available, Fighter, Mage, Thief, and Jew.  How many other games would actually have the balls to do something like that?  Anyways, while the classes each have their own unique abilities, none of them use different weapons.  This was done to stream-line the experience in my opinion because the whole concept here was to keep things simple, and imaginative, and by having the classes similar to one-another, they allow for players to get sucked up in the world, and not have to worry about equipping the wrong type of armor or weapon.

+ Quick party system allows you to take one, and only one, active party member with you at any point in time.  Why this is good is because you have the ability to easily swap any member from your roster of teammates.  You don’t need to worry about leveling them up, or equipping them with armor or weapons.  You just pick the one you like the most and go to town.  Each will have their own abilities and skills, which makes certain characters better against certain types of enemies.

+ South Park: The Stick of Truth may just be one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen.  You really have to sit back and take it all in to realize just how impressive the game is.  It looks exactly like the cartoon, and I mean exactly.  The entire town has been officially mapped out, so it’s awesome just going into all the different homes and exploring every single inch of South Park.  I could go on and on, but honestly this is a true gem and playing the PC version means I didn’t notice a single dip in framerate.

+ All your favorite characters are here, with their authentic voices.  The music is all based on the show, as are the sound effect.  It’s brilliant and a fan’s wet dream.  Some of the classic songs from the series’ past are also featured, and put to very good use.

SP3The Lowdown:

So long as you’re not easily offended, this is a game you have to play.  It’s currently the best game I’ve played in 2014, and one of the very best games released in the PS3/360 generation.  It’s intelligent, humorous, and often outrageous and it is without a doubt the funniest game I’ve ever played.  Never have I laughed out loud as often or frequently as I have here.  Obsidian you’ve created a game for our time, and you should be extremely proud.  Don’t let the source material fool you, this is a brilliant effort and the best licensed videogame of all time.

Final Score: 10/10

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