South Park: The Stick of Truth

To switch to a completely different kind of game from yesterday’s Football Manager review, last night I finished South Park: The Stick of Truth.  It’s another game that actually came out this year, so I am currently managing to stay very modern with my gaming choices.  The game took quite a long time to come out, with its release date being delayed several times and its European release seeing some parts cut, due to their graphic nature.  Of course, Trey Parker and Matt Stone responded to this in typical fashion, by instead inserting screens that apologised for the censorship, but go onto describe the scene anyway.

It is the sense of humour that this game has which is it is biggest strength.  With Parker and Stone on board as writers, the game feels more like a long series of episodes than a separate entity to the show.  There are few video games that will actually make you laugh out loud as often as this one and the world of South Park is here in all it’s glory.  I can’t call myself a huge fan of the show, although I have of course seen quite a lot of it, but even I found references aplenty scattered through the city.  It is the simple things that make the big difference, with the little things you find in certain characters bedroom cupboards as likely to raise a laugh as the sections of dialogue.

Sadly, where the game is let down is in the actual game play.  The battles are classic turn based RPG by the numbers fare and even though you do get four classes to choose between at the start, there is little sense that your choice has actually made a difference.  This causes the combat to quickly become samey and you find yourself often just wanting to get through it in order to continue the story and see more of the hilarious world that has been created.  It is a definite flaw, but one that in all honesty I can live with.  They were smart enough to keep this game shortish, I believe it was around 11 hours, and therefore unlike traditional RPG’s you never feel the need to grind it out.  If you want to skip unimportant battles you sometimes can and there are often ways to use the environment around the enemies to insure they are knocked before you face them in combat.

Stick is Truth is far from a perfect game, in fact I’d go as far to say it had several rather noticeable flaws.  However, that is all saved by the writing and the sense of humour that it has managed to brilliantly take over from the show.  This never feels like you have got the B team and Matt Stone and Trey Parker have made sure to keep it as intelligent and yet ridiculously childish as any normal episode of the show was.  It should probably be said that if you have no interest in South Park, then you will find nothing for you in the game, however that kind of feels an obvious point.  Fans of the show, whether you are part of the hardcore or a bit more of a casual viewer like me, will find more than enough in here to keep you happy.


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