I finally finished playing South Park: Stick of Truth, and can confirm that it is one of the funniest games I’ve ever played; I lost count of the amount of times I giggled throughout. However, if you’re not a fan of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s risqué series, you will absolutely hate it – don’t even attempt to play it, this is not for you!
The gameplay itself is simple and generally unchallenging, definitely not good enough to base a recommendation on. It feels like you’re playing in South Park, rather than playing a game about South Park, but that is the thing that makes this game. Full of in-jokes, loved characters and cameos, it’s basically a gloriously long episode to sink your teeth into.
You play as a new kid who has just moved to town. After creating your player, you are encouraged to make friends, and stumble into a huge live action role playing game, created by the combined imagination of every child in the neighbourhood. A war between humans and elves has broken out due to a ‘powerful’ artefact both sides wish to possess ..the stick of truth! Wielders of this tool will control space and time.
Having been dubbed Douchebag by Cartman (your silent protests do not help one bit) you are asked to select your status within the community; Warrior, Thief, Mage, or JEW!! Each comes with a variety of special attacks and a set of clothing to start off your collection. I decided on Thief, figuring the choice would help me get more money along the way, but if you’re feeling adventurous, become a Jew, whose attacks include Jew-Jitsu, and Circum-Scythe – sounds painful right?
Throughout the game, you are partnered up with a main character to fight beside you, each with their own special ability. It’s up to you who you choose, and you can swap between them anytime you like. Some are definitely more useful than others, but I generally found myself with Butters the majority of the time. This wasn’t necessarily due to him being the best fighter (although I did love his Professor Chaos abilities, and his hammer throwing – ‘With the power of Butters!’) it was more the fact that I started off with him and got attached. I also found his healing abilities handier than any others; however Cartman was more fun to roam around town with, telling you funny stories about the places you visit and the people he’s bullied.
You also get taught magic, though we’re not talking lessons in Hogwarts; Cartman teaches you the power of the fart. If done correctly, it comes in very handy, and can be used to distract, burn, and ‘gross out’ other characters. There is one important thing to remember when dealing with this type of sorcery though – Never ever, under any circumstances, fart on anyone’s balls.
The game itself doesn’t take particularly long to complete, 12 hours maximum, but it is open world, so you can explore the whole of South Park, the sewers, and even Canada, for as long as you like. There are a lot of side missions too so you do tend to get distracted from the main story line when you find yourself hunting down Man Bear Pig, or searching for Mr Hanky’s children.
Gameplay is relatively simple, and the battles consist of a bit of button bashing; though things always work out better if your timing is good. I had a few problems with a couple of bosses, predominantly the giant Nazi zombie foetus, so I found that levelling up beforehand was always important, and make sure you are wearing the appropriate clothing – this stuff really really helps.
There is loads of clothing to collect and choose from, as well as friends and Chinpokomon, though this was probably the most infuriating part about the game, and the one thing that let it down in my opinion; you can easily miss things if you’re not incredibly vigilant, and if you miss a collectable during the story line, you will not get a chance to go back. This proves a problem if you are a bit of an achievement whore like myself. I wish I had known about this from the beginning, then I could have been a bit more careful. The result now is that I have to play the whole game again, but I’m not complaining too much.