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Southpark: Stick of Truth Review

(Image from Steam Game Page)

Let’s see, what did I just do? To reduce the figure and get to the secret object, I smelt gnome powder, which I obtained from gnomes I caught red-handed stealing trousers from my drawer. The fight with the shaman, on the other hand, was not simple and took place in the parents’ bedroom during a heated intercourse, and it was critical to avoid the feminine and masculine aspects of the physiognomy throughout the combat. My friends; welcome to South Park: The Stick of Truth.

And this is simply one of the scenes included in the game to justify the purchase of a new special ability, gnome powder. Let’s receive a couple of hours of fun in a similar tone, no less stupid and nasty. South Park has always elicited strong emotions: either you like it and watch it with a smile as an appropriate commentary on current events, or you switch the TV show with disgust after hearing the opening titles. This is also true for Obsidian Entertainment’s game, which is largely geared towards series enthusiasts. In essence, it’s a new, massive episode with new gameplay components based on RPG game techniques.

The narrative begins with the hero’s arrival in the town in which the player plays – we are referred to as New, and for the most of the game as Lid. As befits the original material, the plot is full of inventive and really surprising turns. Surprising in their ridiculousness and seeming lack of reason, but that’s what makes South Park so great. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the animation, wrote the script, and you can see they did an excellent job at every turn. The plot is based on the cartoon series’ last three episodes, in which Cartman and his buddies frolic in a fantasy world. However, we are no longer dealing with a console war, but with elves and humans competing for the stick of truth, which grants dominion over the universe. After then, things only become more intriguing. Other video games are also targeted throughout the game, as the developers viciously criticize Skyrim, silent characters, and hidden audiologists. Parker and Stone have created not just a wholly fresh and expansive plot, but also a massive homage to the series’ followers. Almost all of the well-known characters and subjects appear: Al Gore, the man-bear-pig, the aforementioned gnomes, Randy, aliens, goths, Chef, Canada – almost everything! Most significantly, it is wonderfully incorporated into the story’s framework.

(Image from Steam Game Page)

I spent so much room to the story and the universe for a reason – this is the most significant aspect of the game. Of course, interactive aspects and RPG mechanics are both crucial here, but it’s difficult to avoid the sensation that it’s merely an afterthought. Obsidian Entertainment, on the other hand, had its hands full working on combat and interface systems. Before beginning the journey, we select one of four character classes: warrior, wizard, thief, or Jew; yes, you read that correctly. Each archetype has four skills that may be advanced to the next level. There are also unique skills tied to the amount of virtual Facebook friends and four spells for each character related to the tough fart technique, which we improve during the plot. The fighting is reminiscent of vintage Japanese RPG releases. The hero and one of his comrades square off against the opponents. We select the proper talents, spells, or stuff using a circular interface. There are several possibilities, and all special strikes have excellent animations. The blows are totally arcade in nature, requiring the proper sequence or combination of buttons to be pressed at the appropriate moment – there is also a lot of diversity here, with a musical mini-game at the foreground.

The equipment system and thorough item data are also included. The player is equipped with one ranged weapon, one melee weapon, and three sets of armor. Each piece of equipment has unique features that may be enhanced with stickers and strap-ons. Stat alteration attacks can be used on both enemies and heroes. They can bleed, vomit in disgust, block, freeze, stun, counterattack melee strikes and deflect arrows, take strength and speed potions, and spew excrement. So there are lots of alternatives, but this is when the Stick of Truth’s major flaw becomes apparent: the ridiculously low difficulty level. Why all these battle components when, in the second part of the game, the main character, with the assistance of Butters, can deal with any normal danger in no more than two turns? Fights become a breeze after discovering the beneficial combo of disdain and blood. They happen so rapidly, though, that they never become an impediment or an inconvenience. It’s a shame, because the initial half of the game, particularly the very beginning, demonstrates that it might have been much more intriguing. Then you must keep an eye out for enemy moves, react accordingly, and plan your next move. It was especially obvious when I battled the boss plainly meant for the next stage of the game with an unskilled character – losing the fight numerous times gave far more excitement than “clicking” through successive conflicts without repercussions.

(Image from Shop Town)

So, while the fighting system is well thought out and fairly complex, it requires a different type of game – one that moves at a slower pace and has a considerably higher difficulty level. Increasing the level also doesn’t assist – I rapidly chose the highest level, which quickly achieved the maximum, 15 level of experience, making the combat much simpler. The makers are likely aware of this, since the game’s environments are heavily packed with interactive items that may be shot down or set on fire, eliminating some foes before they enter the fight. Contrary to appearances, this is not a criticism of the game, and utilising these parts of the environment is a lot of fun. The town of South Park, as well as the most prominent locations, have been carefully recreated. The environment is also filled with numerous valuables and hidden compartments, which are only accessible after achieving particular talents and demonstrating creativity, thinking, and completing basic logical problems. The graphics are, of course, a fantastic representation of the animated series, and the makers should be commended on this as well. They created a broad range of clothes, makeup, and face expressions in line with the series’ theme. The previously described attack animations look fantastic. The only choice in the graphics options is to modify the resolution, and the visual display speed is permanently fixed at a maximum of 30 frames per second, but it makes no difference. The menu layout may be more user-friendly, but the too intricate item modification mechanism irritates after a while. You also can’t sell all of your “junk” stuff at once, which is a minor drawback. It is worth noting that I did not notice any big bugs or problems with the game’s functionality throughout several hours of playtime, which is no longer the norm these days. Character voices are also excellent. It couldn’t be otherwise because all of the characters from the show were hired. The actors do an excellent job as well. In the background, well-known music plays, such as a “epic” fantasy soundtrack with Cartman’s voice, Chef’s melodies, or an anthem in honor of Sparrow Prince, whom we meet – of course – in the anus of one of the protagonists.

Overall, we get what South Park fans want most: more South Park. A must-have for aficionados of the series, but not necessary for those searching for another RPG.

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