When South Park fans finally got their hands on South Park: The Stick of Truth in 2014, they were treated to an experience that was fun, accessible, and exceedingly truthful to the series they had enjoyed for decades. This was a relief, as licensed games based on film and television properties rarely live up to their full potential. South Park: The Stick of Truth passes this test with flying colors.
Faithfulness to the Show
The developer, Obsidian Entertainment, worked closely with series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who oversaw the game’s creation. The duo wrote the script and voiced many of the characters, as they do on the show. As a result, The Stick of Truth keeps in line with the high points of the show.
The writing and voice work make it feel like you’re watching an entire season’s worth of South Park content. Fans of the series will feel right at home with the quality of the story and humor.
Naturally, the game will cross any line, break any barrier, and offer no apologies while doing so. That’s something of an achievement given the relatively simple way that the plot starts off. In South Park: The Stick of Truth, you will play as the New Kid in the quiet little mountain town. As your character makes friends with well-known characters and begins to explore the setting, you will become embroiled in a delightful and somewhat imaginative struggle for the titular “Stick of Truth.”
The factor that makes the story enjoyable is that the fantastical war found within the game is largely just make-believe. The kids of South Park all join in on the action, using handmade weapons, gear, and set pieces in hilarious, often brutal ways. This is the tone that the game will always come back to, no matter how outlandish or insane things may get from time to time.
The game absolutely does go places, however. From outer space, to the perspective of tiny underwear gnomes, to a top-secret military blacksite, and even Canada, the game features a good amount of settings to keep things interesting, funny, and incredibly uncomfortable in many parts.
The Stick of Truth features a turn-based combat system that honestly feels very good to play with. Previous South Park games included racing and first-person-shooter gameplay styles that did the job for their games, but the RPG style in The Stick of Truth fits the series perfectly.
While the combat is turn-based, the player is still very much involved when attacking and blocking. This may help keep those who aren’t too into the gameplay style stay interested, as you will be carefully timing your hits as they land on enemies. This also goes for blocking, as you usually time button prompts in order to minimize damage. It also helps that many attacks are definitely in line with the standard South Park humor. As with the typical RPG, combat can also be enhanced upon by using items, finding better weapons and armor, and experimenting with different character classes.
When starting the game, you will be prompted to create your very own South Park kid. The character customization is surprisingly detailed as it allows you to choose from a variety of options such as facial hair, accessories, clothes, as well as smaller things such as facial blemishes and features.
Character aesthetics are not as important to the game as the character classes are. Of the four available classes you are prompted to choose from at the start, each one offers enough gameplay variety that players may want to try them all on subsequent playthroughs. Each class has unique abilities that come in handy for different battles and enemy types.
The Stick of Truth offers much more in terms of gameplay, though. Exploration is a big part of the game. Through exploration, you will find secrets, optional areas, and side quests. Along the way, you will gathering tons of collectibles that fans of the series will appreciate. Also, you will find new friends to add on the South Park equivalent of Facebook. Finding more friends will allow you to unlock new perks for your character.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is a bit on the short side for an RPG. Around 15-20 hours long, the game doesn’t overstay its welcome. It offers a sweet and interactive look into the town of South Park. Fans of the show will find a lot to love here. However, those who aren’t fond of the humor in the series will not care for The Stick of Truth. The game makes light of many topics people might find outrageously offensive. Anyone with passing knowledge of South Park should be aware of that already.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is a treat for South Park fans and a cakewalk for RPG fans. It’s a testament to how great a licensed game can be when developers and creators work together.