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South Park: The Stick of Truth
South Park: The Stick of Truth

Nintendo Switch | PC | PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360
Genre: Role Playing
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment Official Site: http://southpark.ubi.com/sti...
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date:
2015
South Park: The Stick of Truth Review
Review By @ 01:45pm 10/03/14
XBOX360
All jokes and memories of broken promises and technical shortcomings aside, you can’t deny Obsidian’s knowledge and understanding of RPGs. And to have turned the world of South Park -- a collage cartoon that really just started as a dick and fart joke-addled middle finger to popular media at the time, into a full-fledged deep and layered role-playing experience, is a major feather in the dubious developer’s cap. There are reports of other reviewers out in the review wild who encountered technical issues with their game, but I had none.

Playing off a retail disc on Xbox 360, South Park: The Stick of Truth ran smooth and looked and sounded awesome during my review experience. In fact, the only negative in this space that really reared its head was loading in certain areas, but hey, that’s almost first-world-problems right there. Just dump the game on your HDD and get on with it, I say.



If you’re at all up-to-date with the show, the game essentially follows the three-parter from Season 17 where the boys played an LARPG based loosely on Game of Thrones. They also included, as part of their split factions, the PS4 and Xbox One as divisive components to allegiance in that three-parter. Unfortunately that isn’t really addressed in the game likely due to it not being on those respective platforms, a giant missed opportunity in my opinion. Still, the story that is here is completely on-point for South Park and delivers the laughs in dick-shaped spades.

In fact, aside from the addictive combat, looting and micro-management of the game, it’s the story and humour riddled throughout that will likely keep you playing through. The whole affair is full of fourth-wall breaking moments, such as waiting for Jimmy to finish a sentence for so long that the game actively prompts you to skip the scene, or being told by the Elves faction at one point, while you’re surrounded by them and your presence is requested by the Elvish King (Kyle), that “at this point in the game” it’s not worth fighting them and to just go along with the request. How all of this is paced alongside humour and jokes from the show’s very long history, right down to classic alien probe cracks (which we partially miss out on here in Australia), is one of the game’s biggest triumphs, but it also speaks clearly about the intended audience, which may be a bit exclusive for some.

I’d be weirded out to hear of people who’ve never watched South Park, but it is feasible that there are people out there who don’t like it. I’m vehemently against Family Guy and American Dad, but am a huge fan of South Park (and early Simpsons and Futurama -- more recently, Bob’s Burgers is gold), and so for me the game speaks to my interests and tastes. I understand the subtle, well-hidden jokes as well, like references to Mecha Streisand or the Shake Weight. I know why the Tower of Peace is there and why City Sushi next to it is in tatters. It’s safe to say, as a fan, I’ve picked up on it all (or a huge amount anyway). If you’re not a fan though, you’re not going to really get it. Even the game’s loot is centred around the show’s rich history, as are your moves and abilities; your weapons and gear.



To this end, there needs to be a heavy reliance on the game’s combat and exploration, which is actually very tight. Turn-based RPG rules made popular by the Paper Mario series are in check, and as fun and engaging as ever, but if you’re not a fan of South Park it’ll be hard for me to tell you the value of “Cup a Fart”.

The other hook then lies in just how much the game manages to reference RPG tropes in similar ‘fantasy-styled’ games of this nature. If you’re a videogame fan, there’s an entire layer of content and reference awaiting your digestion. It’s not the main focus, rather the show’s history, its characters and some stellar dick and fart jokes take centre stage, but it is likely the right amount of bait with the reel being the turn-based combat, to still pull you in.

From a straight-up gameplay perspective, it can be a little difficult at times controlling the “new kid” in tight spaces. This is in part because of the show’s presentation-made-game, but it also just feels like more time could have gone into basic character control. The game’s biggest controller failing, however, has to be in farting. Throughout The Stick of Truth you’ll be given a chance to learn new fart (or magic) moves, and these require mastery of a dual-stick system to perform. On paper and even exampled in-game, it sounds and looks easy, but some of them are ridiculously finnicky and frustrating to get right. And honestly, I’m not an average gamer. A better input set-up for the moves would definitely be my preference, but it doesn’t break the game.

You’re looking at the better part of a 10-hour experience with South Park: The Stick of Truth, and there’s plenty of density in the game-world for expanded exploration and side-questing, but again it’s all going to boil down to where South Park as a whole sits on your radar. The more modern humour of the show nestles nicely to the less articulate comedy of the early seasons, and thankfully most of the out-of-date stuff is more or less reference material than part of the actual storyline. There’s also the promise of downloadable content, which should keep fans like myself happy, though timely delivery of this would be nice in the wake of the game’s tardiness.



For Aussies, there’s also the censorship issue, in that any scenes with anal probing or abortion have been removed and replaced with an image of a crying koala and an explanation by Trey Parker as to what it is we’re missing out on. The frustrating thing is, the entire content of the game would likely be fine if it was presented as an episode of the show on TV here, but even with an R18+ rating, we can’t get it in interactive form. Granted it doesn’t break the game by any measure, but it’s not the creators’ original vision and speaks to how our new system is still flawed, but I digress.

If you’re not a fan of South Park but can look past the dressing, there’s still a fun and addictive turn-based RPG to play here. If you’re a fan, you’re in for a real treat. The game is full of laugh-out-loud moments, the same addictive gameplay and countless throwback jokes, in-jokes and meta jokes built from the series’ rich and successful history. It’s delivered in an on-point way for the show and reeks of Trey and Matt’s iron-fisted IP control, in a good way. Not releasing on next-gen is a real shame, but it’s an oversight that’s very easy to overlook. If there’s a steady stream of engaging content post-release, this is a game you could play throughout the year with ease. Definitely worth more than a look-in.

What we liked
  • A perfect companion to the modern series
  • Top-notch writing from the show's creators
  • An addictive and engaging turn-based RPG experience
  • South Park, as a town, fully realised for the digital space
  • Plenty to discover and explore, despite the game's presentation
  • Randy remains the greatest character on TV, via videogame
  • The Ralph Bakshi-inspired intro
What we didn't like
  • Movement can get a bit 'sticky' at times
  • Fart (magic) controls are a mess
  • Might not appeal if you're not a South Park fan
More
We gave it:
8.6
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
carson
Posted 04:56pm 10/3/14
Still haven't found anyone who has got an uncensored copy. Everyone I know got the local copy.
TiT
Posted 05:15pm 10/3/14
just buy it and torrent the uncensored version, is that illegal?
Murf
Posted 05:20pm 10/3/14
or Just buy the region free cd key and use a U.S vpn to activate it on steam.
Ryan
Posted 05:46pm 10/3/14
Man as a huge SP fan, I wanted the best. I imported the Grand Wizard Edition for PC.
Steam key doesn't activate, cause it's an uncensored version.
Not going to use a VPN to activate it either, they have the right to ban you for doing that, and my account is worth 100x more than one game.

Hoping Steam/Ubisoft support can help.

I can't wait much longer D:
Mantorok
Posted 05:50pm 10/3/14
Not going to use a VPN to activate it either, they have the right to ban you for doing that...
But they won't. The only people they seem to target are those using cheap Russian keys.
ShamefulManny
Posted 06:25pm 10/3/14
You can already download an uncensor patch. They made it very easy to do.
ravn0s
Posted 06:54pm 10/3/14
Steam key doesn't activate, cause it's an uncensored version.
Not going to use a VPN to activate it either, they have the right to ban you for doing that, and my account is worth 100x more than one game.


i bought a UK uncensored cdkey and activated it with a VPN. no ban.
Ryan
Posted 07:32pm 10/3/14
The way Steam handles their bans is different though... It could be weeks, sometimes months. Just not risking it at all. I have 550+ games, just not happening haha.
Pretty adamant i'll receive proper help.
ravn0s
Posted 07:49pm 10/3/14
it's extremely rare to get banned for a vpn. you would have to be really, really unlucky.

your only hope is ubisoft. steam wont even help the people whose gifted copies got region locked.

last edited by ravn0s at 19:49:34 10/Mar/14
infi
Posted 07:49pm 10/3/14
I got the uncensored version gifted to me via cdkeys.com.au. the anal probing scenese are pretty lulzy but there is another scene where you get shrunk to a gnome size and have to fight the other gnomes on your parents bed - as they f***! hahah

this game is f*****g awesome as a south park fan. i love it!
BladeRunner
Posted 09:55pm 10/3/14
I demand they make a sequel or another game just like it. Also I found that steam has blocked VPNs. Porbably not all of them but the ones I have used are blocked.
fryzeegunner
Posted 01:08am 11/3/14
brilliant game. loved it.
Khel
Posted 01:59am 11/3/14
I bought an uncensored key from cdkeys.com.au as well and used FlyVPN to authenticate it, worked perfectly.
carson
Posted 07:18am 11/3/14
Infi/Khel, do you need to use the VPN to play it too? As it's a russian key? I thought Valve were pretty anal about people getting russian keys cheap.
ravn0s
Posted 09:31am 11/3/14
a VPN was only needed for activation for me.
TiT
Posted 11:17am 11/3/14
Khel
Posted 12:06pm 11/3/14
Yeah, only needed VPN for activation for me too
trog
Posted 01:54pm 11/3/14
One of the very few single player games I'm interested in because I find South Park hilarious. I'll wait til I'm back in the US (..and for it to be on sale, because.. why not)
ravn0s
Posted 10:48pm 19/3/14
finished the game the other night and it was hilariously awesome. matt and trey have said they're open to doing a sequel. a sequel with the kids as their superhero counterparts (the coon, mysterion) would be amazing.
Raven
Posted 08:59am 20/3/14
Still looking forward to playing this when I can hold a controller again. Tried to play Arkham City the other day and it was just too difficult :/
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