April 3, 2014 by Paul Curtin
For almost two decades now, series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have found new ways to keep fans entertained with the ridiculous antics of the town of South Park and their own witty satirical humor. There have already been numerous South Park games over the years that have been met with mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, but it wasn’t until the classic “Make Love, Not Warcraft” episode that Parker and Stone really won over gamers by showing their own deep knowledge of gaming.
Whether a diehard fan of the show or someone who has only seen a couple episodes, The Stick of Truth is a hilarious and fun-to-play adventure for all. Even if you’re not a fan of the JRPG turn-based genre, the game’s relatively simple mechanics make it easy for anyone to pick up and enjoy. Hardcore RPG fans might find the game a little too shallow and repetitive, but the fact that the game looks and feels almost exactly like watching the show is an amazing accomplishment that deserves at least a single playthrough from anyone who owns a Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PC.
The Stick of Truth can best be described as a fully interactive entire new season of the show with its total play time clocking in around 10-14 hours — depending on the amount of side-quests completed and secrets found. The construction-paper cutout art style perfectly matches that of the show, but slight technical issues with frame rates, stuttering, and loading screens are constant reminders that you are in fact playing a game and not actually watching the show. It’s a shame that Obsidian couldn’t fix these issues by launch and explain why there were a few delays in the game’s development.
Technical issues aside, the epic storytelling and soundtrack in The Stick of Truth will pull you into the town of South Park right away, and the humor will keep you laughing from beginning to end. The more episodes you’ve seen, the better, because there’s more fan service here than any game has ever done before. For the first time ever, the entire town of South Park has been completely mapped out, allowing for almost everywhere from the show to be explored.
With the town being filled with over 100 characters from the show, some of which are hidden and give new quests, there’s always something new to find through exploration. Even each kid’s house and room can be entered at any point in the game and cleverly has closets full of items used at some time during their various adventures from the show. There’s an insane attention to detail that only the show’s own creators could pull off. Every single item in the game is in some way related to the show. From Cheesy Poofs that restore health to Chinpokomon that are hidden throughout the game, almost everything from the show is used in some way and begging to be found.
Taking off where last season’s “Black Friday” trilogy left off, The Stick of Truth involves the kids themselves role-playing, which allows for traditional RPG tropes to be used through the power of the kid’s own imagination, just like in the fan-favorite “Good Times with Weapons” episode. You’ll assume the role of a mysterious new kid who just moved into town and who can be completely customized the way you want. As the new kid in town, your primary objective is to make friends on Facebook, but as usual with the show, what starts off as child’s play quickly turns into something far greater involving saving the town from aliens, the government, and of course, Taco Bell.
Staying true to the RPG genre while also staying true to the South Park formula of satirical humor, players can select from four different classes: Fighter, Thief, Mage, and Jew. Each has its own special abilities to slightly change up fighting styles, but again, hardcore RPG players will find fault in there not being class-specific weapons or items to really make each class feel unique or give reason to replay the game from start to finish.
Similar in gameplay mechanics to say Paper Mario, The Stick of Truth is a simplified RPG that everyone can enjoy, making it perfect for casual gamers who just want to live out their fantasy of being a part of the town. You and a single party member (which can be selected at almost any time from a group of the main characters including Cartman, Stan, Kyle, Kenny, Butters, and Jimmy) take turns attacking groups of enemies that you come across, such as wild animals, Mongolians, gingers, homeless people, aliens, bosses, and more.
Even for being a light RPG, gameplay requires careful use of buffs, debuffs, mana and health potions, and timed button-press attacks and blocks to keep things interesting. All classes of course also learn special fart abilities, which are a parody of Skyrim’s Dragon Shouts, and allow for even more tactics in battles. Farts can also be used while exploring the town to blow down walls and access hidden areas or strategically take out enemies before even entering the turn-based battles.
New abilities, perks, and magic make the leveling up progression even more rewarding. With every defeated foe dropping some type of loot and there being an endless amount of containers in levels to open up, you’ll always be getting something new to equip. And as any RPGer knows, it’s always all about the loot. The Facebook-style menu is quick and easy to use, and you can spend a good deal of time comparing stats and debating over which items to use and which weapon strap-ons and armor patches to equip within item slots to make them even more powerful and fit your own personal playstyle.
Without question Trey Parker and Matt Stone have once again proved their own love for gaming by creating the definitive South Park game. Although there isn’t a great deal of replay value and a few technical hiccups along the way, The Stick of Truth is like getting a fully interactive version of an entire new season of South Park that places you in it as the star – which is everything that fans of the show and gamers could ever dream of. South Park: The Stick of Truth gets 4.5 out of 5 stars (Amazing).
- Game plays and feels almost exactly like the show
- Solid RPG mechanics with plenty of loot and unlockables
- At times just as funny as the show
- Great attention to detail and fan service
- Little replay value
- A few technical issues