Over the past weekend, I’ve been devoting a lot of time to that one game I’ve been waiting all year for – South Park: The Stick of Truth. It’s one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year, and has already proven itself to be the only good South Park game ever made. In fact, it’s not just cool. It’s totally badass!
The very start of the game immediately reminds me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, mainly because of the “Robert T. Pooner” title card. The opening animation looks like it was made by Ralph Bakshi himself, and then we get to the part where you get to make your own character. The character creator is really good, and for my first character, I think I may have made a kid who looks like Stan if he had much longer hair.
Speaking of my character, I made him into a mage as soon as I had the opportunity. You can pick between four job classes: the Fighter, the Mage, the Thief, and the Jew. The first three job classes are self-explanatory, but for me, the Jew class is a complete mystery. Thankfully, the game isn’t biased towards a certain job class, though from my experience, the Mage is the best class because you get better abilities as one.
The first part of the game is something of a mixed bag, mainly because Cartman keeps calling me a douchebag, even though I already gave my character a name. Does the name of your character even matter to the game? Anyway, the tutorials can be rather anal about performing a certain moves, especially when you get to the game’s biggest weakness: the farts.
South Park has always been big on toilet humour, but fart jokes stopped being funny a long time ago, and they die a whole lot worse as you keep on learning and using the fart skills (which, by the way, are rather useless in battle, due to the controls for them being a pain).
So far, my only criticism has been about the farts. The rest of the game, meanwhile, is great. The look and feel of the show was recreated so well, that I honestly felt like I was really in South Park. The game itself looks fantastic, and the humour was more fresh here than the latest episodes of the actual show.
I think I can guess why much of the newer episodes suck so much, because much of the creative energy was focused on this game. The plot revives several elements from the show’s classic episodes, while putting in inventive new content, including creative parodies of other games. I’ve actually been to Canada in the game, and apparently Canada is made out to look like a stripped down version of the original Final Fantasy, if getting attacked by Canadian animals could give you AIDS (or as this game calls it, “Dire AIDS”).
Thinks start to take a hilarious turn when your character winds up on an alien spaceship. Let’s just say…
In keeping with South Park tradition, The Stick of Truth pushes as much buttons as it can. Honestly, this has got to be the most outrageous game I’ve played so far, and it’s totally fuckin’ hilarious. Thing only get more hilarious when South Park faces an epidemic of Nazi zombies.
So far, my character is level 15, and is fairly popular around South Park, and I’m preparing to fight Clyde’s kingdom of vamp kids and Nazi mutants, but I shouldn’t finish this post without mentioning the combat system.
The combat system is unlike any role-playing game I’ve ever played. It is a traditional turn-based RPG, but with completely new concepts that completely shake up the traditional formula.
When an enemy attacks, you can guard against their attacks if you press X at the right time (I say the X button because I’m playing the PS3 version), and this is very useful if you get the hang of it. The game doesn’t follow the useful RPG design rules. The magic spells are more like abilities, it seems to be far more efficient and balanced than a Final Fantasy-style magic system.
The game lets you use both a melee weapon and a ranged weapon, but you can only attack with one at a time. Thankfully, you can switch between weapons easily in battle.
You can get six South Park characters to join your party, but unfortunately, only one can assist you in battle. From my experience, the party members I’ve needed the most are either Butters or Jimmy. In this game, Butters is the best party member in the game, mainly because he’s an extremely effective support character. If your character has learned the “Brain Food” perk, then Butters’ healing touch can restore a generous amount of PP for your abilities, which is very useful for mages.
The battle system is incredibly fun, and the game itself is much simpler than most other RPGs I’ve played. This game actually gives you a reason to want to use your items, and best of all, you only really have to manage one character: your own.
Honestly, this is a sure candidate for best game of the year. Honestly, this is one of the best games I’ve played in years, and in my opinion, it’s a revolutionary game in every way possible. If you haven’t played it yet, you’re missing out already.