Developer: Obsidion Entertainment Publisher: Ubisoft Genre: RPG Format: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
How the animated series, "South Park", has remained strong for over twenty year's is impressive. It's an achievement even creators Tray Parker and Matt Stone couldn't have predicted. Within that time, a few video game adaptations have released, along with some arcade titles. Yet, none have truly captured the essence of the show. The Stick of Truth, on the other hand, does just that. After multiple delays and changes is developers, TSOT proves to be the ultimate South Park video game that fans have been waiting for.
South Park: TSOT is a two-dimensional role playing game. But when I say role play, I mean it in the lightest sense. This isn't as deep or lengthy as most RPG's entail. Exploration is limited, combat is simplistic, and there's little replay value once the journey ends. However, it certainly doesn't disappoint. Think of TSOT as a 10 -14 hour long episode, craming just about every character in the series. You can expect lots of crude humour, references to past episodes, and well written stories . It's the most ambitious South Park game ever, making it one truly memorable adventure.
Your the new kid in town - a customizable hero - who's moved into a house with very strange parents. After exploring your new home, your strictly told to go out and make some friends. This is your first quest, which helps you get a feel for the controls and overall layout. From steeping outside, your soon acquainted with some familiar faces, such as Cartman, Butters and Kenny. Before you know it, your choosing side between a battle against humans and elves. A powerful stick, capable of altering the universe, is at the centre. Of course, none of this is really happening. It's just dressed up kids with a bazar imagination.
Early on, you must decide your hero's fate. There's four classes, Thief, Mage, Warrior and Jew. Each one has it's own special traits. For example, choosing the Thief will allow you to sneak and steal objects better. Choose the Mage, and you can unleash mystical powers in battle. Each class can equipped the same weapons, though. This makes them feel rather samey, and it leaves little enticement to replay the game as a different class.
Most of your time will be spent exploring various areas of the town . As you discover new places, you can fast travel to them promtly, using Timmy's traveling service. The map isn't huge, but it's still a satisfying scale with plenty to see and do. You could easily get distracted from your main objective. Whether it's ransacking a building for loot, fighting a group of enemies, or completing a side quest. Locked doors and chests also see you searching for keys. These are nice little distractions, and they provide a great incentive to backtrack parts of the town.
Along the way, you'll bump into many different enemies. They begin as small kids, but soon escalade into groups, wild animals, and Boss Battles. Once you head down a path filled with foes, your forced into battle. The combat is strictly turn-based. You choose a tactical approach, then simply watch it unfold. There's a bit more skill to it than that, though. All attacks can produce greater damage by performing a perfectly timed button tap. It's merely a quick-time event, but it's still a nice way to keep you engaged in battle.
A friend also aids you in battle. These can alter, as you add more friends to your in-game Facebook-like account. Your friends can attack foes and provide health boosts. There's a nice array of tactical approaches, such as standard and heavy melee attacks. There's also magic spells, with more unlocking as you progress. These provide some great humour in the game. For instance, fart magic sees you farting on your enemies, yes, farting.
The visuals are incredibly authentic to the show. The crappy paper cut art style translates into live-action extremely well. It looks like a real episode, and the sound is just as impressive. The only down side is it's performance on Xbox 360. There's some frequent frame rate stutter, along with the occasional bugs. Yet, it's only slight, and shouldn't detract you from exploring Colorado.
Obsidion have wonderfully crafted a South Park game that's true to the animated sit com. The simplistic turn-based combat may not appeal to everyone, but those after a casual RPG shouldn't be left disappointed. The attention to detail, from the visuals, sound and story-telling is incredibly authentic. It's the best South Park game ever made, and it may well be the only one.