South Park: The Stick of Truth is finally here, it’s been an agonising wait for fans of the TV series, with woeful games of past such as South Park 64 for the Nintendo 64 in 1998, the Mario Party wannabe Chefs Luv Shack in 1999 and the somewhat forgettable Mario Kart bandwagon victim that is South Park Rally also in 1999, it’s easy to understand why fans have given up all but hope of a decent South Park game.

So when trailer for South Park: The Stick of Truth debuted at E3 in 2012, fans rightly got very excited.  Then later the publisher at the time THQ went bust and once again fans had lost all hope.  It was then that Ubisoft picked up the license from THQ’s demise and the game was back on…again.  Originally Ubisoft had planned to release South Park: The Stick of Truth at the end of 2013, but made the wise decision to delay the game until early 2014.  I think at this point, The Stick of Truth had been on and off so often, fans were immune to its delays.  Finally this March South Park: The Stick of Truth was released.

You play as “The New Kid”, you’ve moved into the town of South Park with your parents in the hope of starting a new and good life to escape your troublesome past.  Upon your arrival you are ordered to make some new friends, whether you want to or not.  It’s then not too long before you meet and befriend South Park favourite Butters and he introduces you to Princess Kenny and the Grand Wizard King Cartman.  Cartman tells the tale of a grand war with the elves and he introduces you to the mighty Stick of Truth.


But then horror strikes when the elves attack Cartman’s backyard castle of Kupa Keep and they take The Stick of Truth!  An angered Cartman assigns you to the task of retrieving the mighty stick and put an end to the grand war!  In the process you will undergo some of the most wacky, funny and politically incorrect missions that you will ever likely to play in any video game.  But this is the South Park universe after all and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

With a long tradition of TV/movie video game adaptations, no matter how much we wish for it to look just like its original counterpart, they never really seem to match up.  As I’ve mentioned the previous South Park games were just simply woeful and while they weren’t all that great, the best effort that we’ve had regarding a TV/movie franchise to replicate itself in a video game arguably falls down to Family Guy and The Simpsons.  That was until now, believe me when I say this, but The Stick of Truth looks like it’s been ripped straight from the TV series.

The gameplay looks like a living and breathing version of the TV series, it looks simply fantastic.  Yes I know that the South Park TV series isn’t the most digitally enhanced animation out there, but The Stick of Truth has been replicated to near perfection none the less.  In terms of the visuals, this is what South Park fans have longed for, a video game that looks just like the TV series and it’s something that is almost guaranteed to bring a smile to any fans face.

Upon starting your campaign, you will be able to create your very own South Park character.  You may not be able to get the look exactly how you would like (well as much as South Park animation can do at least), but never fear as you will be able to acquire extra pieces, facial hair and features by completing quests and looting.  You will also have four traditional RPG character classes to pick from and they are Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew, yes that’s right a Jew.

But be warned, should you choose to be a Jew (in which you may actually be), you might not go down to well with Cartman.  Having a class such as Jew may seem offensive to none fans of South Park, but much like many other aspects in this game, if South Park offends you, then the likelihood is that you’re not a fan anyway.

Now as I’m sure you know, the South Park TV series is 2D and this of course has been implemented into The Stick of Truth.  In essence the game is a 2D side-scrolling RPG; it’s almost reminiscent of the turn-based RPG’s of yesteryear.  The turn-based gameplay mechanic might seem like something from the stone age for some gamers, but surprisingly this is something that RPG veteran developers Obsidian have managed to pull off with a great deal of success.


If the combat was any other way, it would perhaps turn The Stick of Truth into a Hack ‘n’ Slash RPG, but that’s not what Obsidian wanted to achieve.  The turn-based combat is a natural fit to the 2D visuals and I believe that The Stick of Truth would lose some of its charm if developed differently.

How the combat would work, is that you’ll be making your way through the town of South Park, taking on main and side-quests with your companion, which will be Butters in the beginning.  Just then you would be approached by a group of elves eager to forge combat.  Once in combat mode you will have a choice of moves to make, from basic attacks (such as melee and a bow & arrow), or special abilities that if performed correctly can inflict extra damage to your foe.  For example the first ability that will acquire is in the form of a trusty baseball bat and ball.

Once this move is selected you will approach the enemy, press X to launch the ball in the air and as the ball comes back down, you will then be required to time your swing perfectly and hopefully implant the ball firmly in your enemies face.  Poor timing will result in less damage inflicted.  Though it is worth mentioning to keep an eye on your ability Power Point gauge, as once that gauge runs out, that means no more use of the special ability moves.  That is unless of course that you use an inventory item to top the gauge back up.


There are also a variety of other abilities that you will acquire as you progress through the game, each having their own unique method of inflicting pain.    Throughout the campaign and by completing certain missions, you will unlock the ‘Summoner’ ability (which is perhaps a reference Volitions RPG adventure).  This will be a onetime move that you can only use once per day and it will inflict maximum damage on your foe, but choose when to use them wisely.

It all depends on the order in which you select the missions that you take on, but one of the first Summoner moves that you may acquire is in the form of Jesus Christ.  Without giving too much away, this mission will involve you “finding” Jesus and once you successfully complete that mission, you will be able to summon Jesus to a fight and he will literally fly in like a true superhero equipped with a machine gun and he will go gung-go on your foes candy ass, granting you an easy victory.

Once you have won a turn-based battle, you will be gifted with the tradition RPG element, Experience Points, you can also earn XP via main quests and side quests.   Earning XP will have a number of benefits, such as making moves more powerful, as well as allowing you to use stronger weapons and more effective clothing and armour.  Another way to increase your skills and abilities is to add friends to you Facebook account, not your real Facebook account of course, but the one that is represented in The Stick of Truth.

In most cases you will be able to add friends by simply approaching them and then their added; it’s as simple as that.  But there are also many other characters that you will only be able to add by completing certain objectives.  The number of friends that you add will give you the right to add special perks to your character.  All the perks will be unlocked from the offset, but how many you can select will all depend on the amount of friends you add to your Facebook account.  Simply the more friends you add, the more perks that you will be able to use at once.  There are many perks to choose from and they can range from more damage inflicted, greater damage resistance, extra XP, more health points when healing and so forth.

If I was to have one minor gripe with The Stick of Truth, it’s that it’s prone to some slow-down jittering.  What I mean by this is when you access an area with several characters on screen; your game may suffer from a little lag and will get a little twitchy for a short period of time, especially when you are running.  Hopefully this minor issue will be ironed out with a forthcoming patch update and it by no means, effects your enjoyment of the game, well for me at least anyway.

The Stick of Truth is an authentic South Park product in almost every sense of the word, not just by how it looks, as it sounds just like an episode of the TV series too.  The Stick of Truth is full of cameos from the series and it will be very unlikely that you won’t come across a favourite, even ones that have been long forgotten.   Geez we’ve even got Al Gore and his one man crusade to hunt down and destroy the legend that is Manbearpig!  I’m super cereal.  Each of the characters both mainstream and the random cameos, are voiced by their TV series counterparts and no matter how talented a voice impersonator might be (which we hear a lot of in TV/movie adaptations), you can’t beat the authenticity of hearing the real voice actor in action.  Just imagine Randy Marsh being voiced by an impersonator…the horror!


There are many subtle aspects that fans will appreciate, such as hearing Terence & Phillip on the TV, the voice you hear advertising the movie trailers at the cinema (aka the “Stan Marsh” guy from the kid with cancer ‘Stanley Cup’ episode) and much more.  But it’s not just all the talented voice actors that have leant their voices for the game, as the complementing soundtrack is also true to the series.

Now you might be saddened to read that the opening credits are not introduced by the iconic South Park theme tune, though we are greeted to an awesome Lord of the Rings influenced introduction.  But fans of the series throughout their travels in The Stick of Truth will recognise random pieces of music from the many episodes, such as a favourite of mine “That’s called a Montage!”, moments like this will bring great moments of nostalgia for fans and there’s many to appreciate.  South Park: The Stick of Truth, despite its smaller campaign to other RPG’s on the market and with its compressed world, offers plenty of bang for your buck.  The Stick of Truth offers no morality system like other games, but then South Park is based upon an immorality and wouldn’t make much sense if it had that mechanic.

But what it does have is a fun and fulfilling campaign with plenty of side quests and hidden items to discover such as the 30 chinpokomon… you gotta catch em all!  There may be bigger RPG’s on the market such as you Elders Scrolls, Mass Effects, and Witchers and so forth in which they pride themselves on their huge expansive worlds.  So don’t go into this game thinking you’ll find a huge world to explore on the scale of other RPG’s on the market.  But in truth, The Stick of Truth doesn’t need that huge world as a gimmick.


Have you ever watched a comedy movie that you have looked forward to watching for a very long time?  You laughed at the beginning, you laughed in the middle, but then that comedy dragged on for much longer then it needed to and those laughs soon turned into thoughts of “when will this movie end?”  That’s what The Stick of Truth avoids by not having an overzealous campaign, its more compressed, it doesn’t drag on and its one of (if not) the funniest games that you are likely to ever play.  All be it that South Park has a very acquired taste, and will not likely appeal to none fans of the series.

We speak much of video game adaptations being a fans service, and normally  that’s a method often use to sugar coat a poorly developed game advertised as a game that only fans will appreciate.  Rambo: The Videogame I’m looking at you!  Yes South Park: The Stick of Truth is a fan service and will unlikely not appeal to none fans, but it is certainly not one of those sugar coated “fan services” half arsed attempts of making a quick easy buck exploiting a fans loyalty.

South Park: The Stick of Truth is truly a game worthy of the “fan service” tag and will be one of the most fresh, rewarding games that you will likely to play this year.  So what are you waiting for? Pick up yourself a copy of South Park: The Stick of Truth and have yourself a time!


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