South Park: The Stick Of Truth Review (PS3)

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“Oh my god they killed Kenny,” those are the 6 words I heard the most growing up. Being named Kenny meant I would always have some connection to South Park whether I liked it or not. Luckily I’ve been a fan of South Park since its first episode and have seen every one since. South Park has always remained a great show but has had its fair share of disappointing game adaptions. Now that Obsidian is developing the first South Park RPG with Trey Parker and Matt Stone the creators of the TV show doing the writing, could this be the end of sub par South Park games?

Let’s get this out of the way first. South Park The Stick Of Truth may look like a fun game for kids but its not. Even if your kids watch the TV show this game is far more raunchy then anything you will see in the show. Nothing has been edited (if you live in America), bleeped or blurred. Think of it like the movie South Park bigger longer & uncut, only now you get to play it. South Park: The Stick Of Truth is full of cursing, racism, nudity, Nazi zombies and anal probing, so you know its about the same as the show just kicked up a few notches.

Anyone who watches South Park has probably seen the 3 part series on the console wars. If you haven’t, its hilarious and you should do so immediately. At the end of the 3 part series the kids of South Park decide to play a game outside and ends with Cartman holding up a stick. That game is South Park: The Stick Of Truth. This game takes place immediately following that episode.

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You are the new kid in South Park and you have arrived in a time of great peril. Cartman and his group of humans are at war with Kyle and Stan’s elves for the stick of truth, a mystical artifact that gives control of the universe to whoever possess it. As the new kid in town you are summoned by Cartman to the Kingdom Of Kuppa Keep also known as the KKK to help Cartman and the humans in their battle but as you will soon realize not everyone can be trusted with something as immensely powerful as the stick of truth.

Exploring South Park was one of the main reasons I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this game. South Park: The Stick Of Truth looks just like an episode of the show and is the first time South Park has ever been mapped out. You can explore all of the town including peoples homes and garages where you can search drawers and backpacks for items and random junk like a Faith +1 CD. Walking up and hitting square will attack people on the streets and start a battle as long as you attack someone like a kid playing the game,a hobo or a Nazi zombie.

Talking to people around town will add them to your list of Facebook friends which is always good. The more friends you get the more perks you can unlock. While you explore South Park you get some abilities you can use to reach hidden places and help out in fights. Farting for example can be done on a flame to create a huge fireball opening a new path and killing enemies around it or you can just fart on bad guys before the fight to cause them to begin the fight grossed out. You can also use ranged weapons while you explore to open hidden areas or knock down out of reach things.

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Most of your favorite places from the show are here and explorable including the school and Stark’s Pond. Strangely missing was one place I was really interested in checking out; Dr.Mephesto’s lab, which makes me wonder if any future DLC will add to the rather small world. Since this game has access to all of the South Park TV show assets there are countless places DLC could take us. Could you imagine traveling through Imagination land with butters or going to a mini game filled Casa Bonita with Cartman?

South Park The Stick Of Truth has a very familiar battle set up. It feels a lot like Paper Mario with hints of Final Fantasy. Everything is turn based and you get to take one buddy into battle with you at a time. Depending on the class you choose you will have different special abilities like jew-jit-su if you took the Jew class or batters up if you chose fighter. The new kid who is known around town as Sir Douchbag also gets a magic ability which are different kinds of farts that you’ll learn as you progress through the game. You still of course have your standard attacks and items to use as well as a few summons which can be used once a day on any non boss fight after you have unlocked them by doing quests for the people of South Park. During battle timing is key.

Throughout every battle you’ll need to press a certain button at the right time to maximize your damage or minimize damage done to you. You get a few different option when it comes to what button to hit though and it is important. If you are facing someone with a very high armor rating, hitting square as you attack will launch a power attack that can eat through armor as opposed to your standard attack where you press X to attack multiple times which does almost nothing against armor. When you are being attacked pressing X at the right time will block the incoming attack. It will still hurt you just not as much and it also blocks statues ailments. The battle system is not the deepest but it works well for this game.

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As with all good RPGs you wont be anything without a good set of equipment. There are tons of different choices when it comes to weapons and armor. You get to equip a primary weapon, ranged weapon, hat, gloves and armor. Each thing has its own unique stats and bonuses so you can create someone to fit your play style. As you play you’ll find or buy things called strap-ons and stickers. These work just like Materia if you’ve ever played Final Fantasy 7. Your weapons and armor have open spaces to equip strap-ons and stickers which give you different things depending what you choose to attach to it. For example you can strap-on a dead bird to your weapon to do and extra 20 damage and cause your opponent to be grossed out which is basically poisoned or you can add a sticker to your armor that increases your health by 5%. There are a lot of different strap-ons and patches to choose from and they can be unequipped to attach it to a new piece of equipment so you can use it on anything you get in the future.

While South Park The Stick Of Truth has a great story full of over the top twists there are a few technical problems. There seems to be an issue with stuttering when you are out walking around South Park. It wasn’t very noticeable in the beginning of the game but seemed to get worse and worse. It was never to the point where it was unplayable but it did become a little annoying. Another issue I found early in the game takes place near the intro. After making your character and learning the basics you have to take part in a battle. I chose to battle someone in the front of the yard first.

The battle started normal however when it got to the point where Cartman was trying to show me how to counter attack after blocking nothing happened. I blocked the attacks and the kid just sat there waiting for me to hit him but the prompt never came up. I went through this 3 times before trying a different fight that allowed me to come back to that part where it finally worked. My final problem was a bit weird. As I was playing the game started stuttering more than the normal. I soon started seeing colors that were out of place. Sections of walls that were once grey had a blue square in every other spot. I left that area and it continued happening until I exited to the main menu and reloaded my save. These are all problems that should hopefully be fixable with a patch in the future.

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In my 20 or so hours with South Park: The Stick Of Truth I laughed uncontrollably and had a blast exploring South Park. While some technical hiccups did cause problems they are far outweighed by how much fun I had traveling around my favorite fictional cartoon town and seeing all the cool stuff from past episodes that’s scattered throughout the game.

Anyone who’s a fan of South Park should pick this game up immediately but if you don’t like South Park’s raunchy gone-way-too-far style of comedy go ahead and pass on this because if you don’t like the show you will definitely hate this.