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Friday night games, GAMES

Friday Night Games: ‘South Park: The Stick of Truth’

Ever wanted a 12-hour episode of South Park, here it is!

There have been some disappointing games which have attempted to capitalise on the success of South Park. Of course, most of those games did not greatly involve either Matt Stone or Trey Parker, the creators of the TV show which has been on air since 1997. However, South Park: The Stick of Truth (2014) was supported and written by both Stone and Parker elevating it well above previous works (and most other TV show-to-game properties).

This game is for any fan of the show who ever wanted to be a part of a 12-hour episode of South Park. More so, fans of the show will appreciate the extreme attention to detail found throughout the game. For example, take a look in a characters closet (especially Stan’s) to see references and memorabilia of previous episodes. All the visuals look exactly as they do in the show, and your character even hops as he walks around a fully realised South Park mountain town.

The game has you play as the New Kid in the neighbourhood, who just so happens to have a secret in his past. You get to personalise your character’s look and choose one of four classes (Fighter, Mage, Thief or a Jew – no, the last is not a mistake). Sorry, you can only play as a boy, which will probably make someone, somewhere angry and create a Twitter feed, but within the context of the show playing as a girl would not work out for this particular story. Although having the option would allow for an entirely different story to emerge which would probably be just as amusing.

Quests are quite standard for the genre and the game is well paced from beginning to end. There are collectibles and exploring to be done to get your XP up, but the combat is not so challenging you need to worry about taking time to level-up.

The story fits perfectly within the spirit of the TV show and is absolutely hilarious. I have never laughed so hard while playing a game. You are primarily concerned with protecting and later seeking out The Stick of Truth from various other groups in a classic RPG style (e.g., elves, rogues, wizards). Yet there are also aliens, Government conspiracies, Canadians and others I do not mention for fear of ruining the laughs for you. You will meet plenty of characters from the show although a few favourites (no Towlie!) are not involved, but this does not really detract from the experience.

Combat is a bit tricky to learn at first but once you get some practice it is rather straightforward and enjoyable. It is a turn-based type of combat more familiar in Japanese RPGs rather than the real-time combat in most Western games. You have a selection of standard and special attacks as well as some fart (or magic) attacks, there also is a selection of companions with their own range of abilities to match your play style.

The different classes are not so unique as to necessarily warrant another play thorough or alter the story in any significant way. Sure, the abilities are mostly different but it ends up being for show as opposed to a radical change in gameplay mechanics or play style. Still, it is fun to go through and try them out if only to enjoy another 12-hours of the show. Many of the combat abilities for the player and companions feature separate animations which can be quite hilarious to watch.

As a game, South Park: The Stick of Truth does not radically change the RPG formula we have enjoyed for decades. However, as a comedy game from a well know TV show it is simply amazing. This is why you want to buy the game and play it over its relatively short playtime – it is funny and it is South Park.

FINAL VERDICT

South Park: The Stick of Truth is exactly everything you have wanted from a South Park game since it first aired in 1997. Yes, it has taken nearly 20 years to get this game and it is well worth the wait. This is a game especially for the fans of the show who basically want to play a 12-hour long episode of the TV show. Casual gamers may not be so interested but as a comedy game it is simply hilarious and well worth a look. The combat does well enough to entertain but this game is all about the story and being in this small, redneck mountain town.

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