So, I’ve been really lonely and depressed lately. What this usually leads me to do is game. The last time I was like this, I played through the Mass Effect games (the first three. We don’t talk about Andromeda) so much that I know all of my favorite character’s dialogue by heart! No joke, that’s how much I know those games. This time, I decided to see if these two games based on the South Park universe were any good. I’d heard good things, especially with the first and less for the second, so I figured I would see for myself. And let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, they exceeded my expectations in every way. I’m gonna do reviews for both games here, so this will be kind of long. Let’s get to talking about it.
First up, we have Stick of Truth. A game that is riffing on fantasy RPG games, it tells the story of our voiceless protagonist, New Kid. You create this character, but they never speak. Something that is made a point of ruthlessly in the game, riffing on games that do that. Our new kid just moved into town, and just happens to get roped into a struggle between Cartman’s Kupa Keep, and Kyle’s Drow Elves over a mythical object – the Stick of Truth. A stick that can enable you to do anything. However, it seems that New Kid is harboring some secrets of his own, and all of it plays together in a narrative that only the creators of South Park could tell.
There is a lot to talk about in this game. The visuals are just perfect for something set in the South Park universe. It really does feel like you’re watching an episode of the show. Since all the voices are pitch-perfect for what you expect from the characters, the role-playing of this felt great. Part of me really gets why the animation style of the series meshes well to video games. Since it is done on computer, I have to figure there wasn’t a whole lot they had to tweak. Though, getting to see Canada as an 8-bit world with 8-bit gaming music was adorable.
Combat in the game is basically a Final Fantasy game, with a few caveats. Your character chooses their own class, and then you play through the game getting to add on to it as time goes by. The amount of abilities you get is limited, and you can only change so many things. Leveling up is also pretty basic. That’s the thing about the game – it’s pretty basic in the controls and how you play. Combat does incorporate QTE segments in both offense and defense to either get extra damage or extra defense, respectively.
But you don’t come to this game for deep mechanics. You really, really don’t. If you are playing a South Park game, you came to play for the experience of being inside an episode of the series, but longer. And this is a long game. I ended up having a good 24 hours through just the story. Which brings us to this – is the humor on point? Yeah, for sure. It’s absurdly violent at points (the abortion clinic scene was so unbelievably grotesque. I loved it), unbelievably raunchy (the scene fighting the gnome under your parents while they’re fucking is just too good), and doesn’t pull that many punches. That being said, it is pretty standard for what the average observer would expect from a game in this genre. Like one of the early season episodes. That’s not a bad thing, but it does have you having to check your expectations. And how it all ends is just too funny. It’s so stupid that it’s perfect.
Overall, this is a solid RPG riffing on games in this genre, along with the fact that it is a South Park game. Trey and Matt definitely didn’t take things too seriously, and that’s for the best. I like that they have no problem making fun of their own work. That’s mature, and while this game is decidedly not, if you wanted to play through an episode of this franchise, this is the perfect way to do it.
8 out of 10
The first game got a TON of praise. Just tons of it. People loved it across the board, save for the moralizing people who don’t like any game anymore because you can’t please those people and it bothers me that now Sony is actually trying to. However, the sequel got a much more tepid amount of praise. People seem reticent to pile it on for this one, which I think is genuinely unfortunate. The Stick of Truth was funny. The Fractured But Whole was fucking hilarious! This game too so much more risks, and dammit if that didn’t pay off. At least to me. I can see why people would be hesitant to say nice things about it in mainstream gaming journalism outlets.
See, in the last couple seasons, South Park riffed on PC culture and it wasn’t nice about it. Hell, it fucked it up the butt and when people were yelling, they just shrugged and went about their day. This game is following in the vein of those episodes, and it’s funny to watch. Let’s talk about it.
The plot goes that a year after the events of the previous game, New Kid is still the King and all is peaceful in the Kingdom. Until their game is interrupted by The Coon, who tells our hero and his friends that there is an opportunity to get their superhero franchise off the ground. Now our young hero is thrown into a new world, and a new plot that gets more and more ridiculous as time goes on. All for the purpose of saving a cat and getting $100.
Some people were complaining the combat in this game was kind of dumbed down from the previous entry. I would disagree with that. While you don’t have much of the QTE stuff, it made things harder by making it so you have fewer choices when you are in combat of what to do. In the last game, you could use healing items and then attack in the same turn. Here, you have to make choices, and since your enemy can hit for a TON of damage and healing items don’t just fall out of enemies every minute, you have to be smart. What’s more, most summons only have the specific number of times they can be called into battle, and then they are done. This game makes you think on your feet, but thankfully, give you a much bigger toolbox to play with.
See, you get superhero powers, and as the game goes on, Cartman keeps adding to your increasingly-ridiculous back-story which gives you a bigger toolbox to play with, that you can customize to whatever play style you want. What’s more, before every battle you can do this. So if you fuck up and die, you get another shot to change up your roster, you skills, and the augmentations you have. There is depth here, just different from the last. And if you ask me, some of that stuff did need to be toned down. The streamlining of things in this game made it much fun for me.
But just like the last game, you didn’t pick this up because you wanted deep mechanics. You did it so you could play an episode of South Park. In that regard, this game does the formula even better. Never have I felt more like I was in this world with these characters than I did in this game. What’s more, since your character can customize their character sheet, You can change how you get interacted with. Role-play-wise, this was a great game to get sucked into with the universe. Plus, the narrative is so much better. Stick of Truth was fun, but here they go all out. Everyone is foul-mouthed. There is PC culture that is seamlessly mixed into that world because it basically takes place where the episodes of the series have already happened. You have to mesh with the madness, and hot damn! It’s too funny. They take real chances with some of the stuff they go into. My favorite of the Lovecraftian monster that is horribly racist, with racist cops feeding black people to it. Their black characters have a bad habit of being urban as fuck. They riff on the whole cis/transgender stuff. There are no punches held back, and the game is better for it.
What’s more, there is something about how the narrative turns out that had me in stitches the first time because it felt so South Park. When you have Stan at the end asking everyone “you be taking this seriously,” it feels like the best episodes of the show, where him and Kyle are trying to get everyone to see reason, but Cartman still wins in the end. Plus, we have that great child-like naivety of Cartman combined with the diabolical master-mindedness of him that is just a joy to watch. I will say that the final act does get draining as it is one boss-fight after another, but that aside, it’s great stuff.
I genuinely do love both of these games. They both are charming and funny and great to play. But this game is the better of the two. Without a doubt, it does the formula better. What’s more, it feels like it genuinely continues the narrative from the first game. It doesn’t just forget that that stuff happened, and there were plot threads that were unresolved. The whole narrative comes to a nice conclusion. I don’t know if there are any plans for a sequel, but to be honest, I’d be okay if there weren’t. This game ends on a nice note. You really are doing a disservice to yourself if you haven’t picked these games up. But if you wanna start here, I don’t blame you.
9 out of 10