When you ask people to think of license games, usually their minds go straight to the awful movie tie-ins that studios are forced to churn out in order to capitalise on the hype (I’m looking at you Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – I still haven’t gotten over that one) Well I’m here to let you know that not only is South Park: The Stick Of Truth an excellent game based on the South Park franchise, it is also one of the years best games full stop. Graphically South Park is a masterpiece in its own right – Obsidian have managed to perfectly recreate the visual style as well as the animations from the show. I know this is going to sound cliche but there really were times when I genuinely forgot that I was playing a game and not just watching an extended episode of the show. The game has a habit of stuttering quite severely when loading areas or auto-saving, unfortunately the occurrence of these issues vary from once every half hour to ten times in 5 minutes depending on where you are in the game. The game takes place in the Mountain town of South Park which has been painstakingly mapped out and re-created for the game, I believe this is the closest we’ve ever been to a fully mapped out version of the town. The gameplay in South Park is superb, the main overworld is navigated on a side scrolling 2D plane, there are a multitude of distractions to explore while moving from quest to quest, these include unlocking and exploring all of the houses and garages in South Park, collecting all of the Chinpokomon, collecting a variety of humorous visual items for your characters (chin balls!) as well as completing a number of optional side quests. Overall I felt like there was always enough to to, the main story can be completed fairly quickly but in order to see and do everything you are looking at a considerable time investment. As for combat, South Park offers one of the best battle systems I’ve ever played in an RPG. combat again takes place on a 2D plane, you and your companion take turns to beat up the enemies on screen. You have a number of ways to go about this of course and depending on your class you get different abilities, my thief for example was able to utilise a highly effective ‘backstab’ move which made the enemy bleed for extra damage. The typical South Park humour permeates every aspect of the game, and combat is no exception. One special move sees you fart at the enemy and then, via a quick time event fire a flaming arrow to ignite the gas cloud for devastating damage. Speaking of QTEs, South Parth utilises these often in combat, sometimes to inflict more damage, or to block incoming attacks for example. Whatever your opinion of them, I felt like they fit right in with the rest of the combat mechanics and offered an extra layer of depth to the gameplay. There were a few times when the game seemed to stutter and would cause me to miss some of these QTEs and while frustrating, they were so few and far between that it didn’t affect things too badly. I talked a little bit about the humor in South Park, the story revolves around two factions competing to have control over the titular ‘Stick of Truth’ you play the new kid who must help retrieve the stick when it is stolen. I won’t go into too much detail but the story on offer here does a great job of getting you from point A to B all the while peppering every element and RPG trope with South Parks own brand of comedy, all voice-acted by the cast of the show. While die hard fans will find so much to see and do, with piles and piles of inside jokes, people new to the series or even casual fans may feel a little left out. I myself am only a casual fan however and I still found enough to enjoy and laugh at. Overall, technical issues aside South Park: The Stick Of Truth offers one of the best RPG experiences in a long time and quite possibly one of the best games of the year so far.
Screw you guys, I'm going home
South Park: The Stick Of Truth is one of the best RPGs I've played in a long time and with the exception of the Arkham games, it is the prime example of how to do a licensed game right.