It was Saturday evening and my mission was simple: Blend in with the Goth kids, find the Penis Mouse and become a Canadian Citizen. Naturally, I was playing the new South Park game and unlike most licensed titles out there, this one didn’t suck. Written and voiced by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the game is jam packed with their unique brand of humour and fans of the show will not be disappointed.
In South Park: The Stick Of Truth you’ll find yourself immersed in the familiar world from the TV series as the new kid in town. Your quest involves making friends at first, but soon enough you are pulled into a live-action-role-playing game between the Elves and the Humans, who are two warring playground factions. The Elves are led by Kyle (The Elf King) and the Humans are led by Eric Cartman (The Grand Wizard). What starts as a simple children’s game, soon escalates into a battle of good VS evil where the fate of South Park hangs in the balance.
Before you can start your journey you have to choose your class of hero (Fighter, Mage, Thief or Jew) but rather disappointingly there doesn’t seem to be much difference between them. However, if you do choose the Jew class, Cartman will make fun of you.
Ultimately, your goal is to retrieve the lost Stick of Truth, which is an object that will supposedly grant the owner control over the entire Universe. The game allows you to explore the world of South Park like never before and much of it will be spent running around (or fast-travelling) to familiar locations around town. In doing so, you will find plenty of loot scattered around which you must collect and then use to upgrade your character. Among the loot you will also find some familiar gags from the show that allude to previous episodes. Things like “The Sword of 1000 Truths,” “Shake Weight,” “The Brad Pitt Survival Kit,” copies of “A Poop That Took A Pee”, Bottles of “Butters’ Creamy Goo” and Randy Marsh’s medical Marijuana card to name a few.
The interface of the game looks a lot like Facebook. As you navigate your way through the world of South Park you will make friends with some of the characters, who will then be added to your social network. The more friends you make, the more skills you will unlock in the game and by completing quests your character will level up. Weapons can be found or purchased in the game as well as modified and upgraded. As you progress through the game you’ll need to upgrade your weapons in order to defeat crab-people, underpants gnomes, hippies and other forces of evil.
The construction-paper cutout style of the show is recreated so well that during my play through I had some visitors who thought I was watching an episode of South Park as opposed to playing the actual game. Obsidian, the developers of Fallout: New Vegas, have done a great job of keeping the combat accessible, light and fun. Whenever you encounter an enemy, the
screen switches to battle mode, in which you and one partner take turns attacking and casting spells at the bad guys. Apart from the actual turn-based battle sequences, the game felt like a 14 hour interactive South Park episode.
The creators of the show have clearly decided to go farther than ever this time where some of the humour is concerned, and while I don’t want to give anything away, it does get very disturbing towards the end. This will come as no surprise to fans of the show, but for the uninitiated, be warned! This is obviously not a kids game and apart from all the cussing there are some scenes which truly deserve the 18 age restriction.
The Bottom Line: This is the funniest video game I have ever played and it includes references to nearly every episode in the shows 17 year history. At times I felt the reliance on toilet humour and fart gags was a bit unnecessary, but for nearly every miss there were about ten other home runs. One of the best gags in the game takes place once you enter Canada and it is so good, I’m still chuckling to myself just thinking about it. In terms of replayability, however the game falls somewhat short. Admittedly, after finishing the main quest there are still a few things left for me to do, one of them being to go and kick Al Gore’s ass for spamming my “Facebook” wall. However, once that’s all sorted out I doubt I would ever go back and play the main story again, but there’s always hope for some future downloadable content mmmkay.