South Park: The Stick of Truth review (PS3)

Snookies12 | 239d ago | User review
Reviewing: South Park: The Stick of Truth
Non-stop hilarity that ends too soon...
South Park The Stick of Truth had been in development for quite some time. First announced in 2011, it had great promise being written and directed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The minds behind the wildly successful TV series featuring the incredibly offensive and oft times hilarious adventures of four young boys living in South Park Colorado. Of course, I'm assuming if you have interest in this game you'll know all of this. The TV series has spanned season after season and shows no sign of stopping any time soon. It spawned a full length feature movie, which did very well both commercially and critically. It seemed to be perfect for TV and movie adaptations, so why not games right? All of the games released under the South Park name have been everywhere from bad to mediocre. Now, with the promise of having the creators writing the script, as well as voicing the characters it seemed as though South Park The Stick of Truth was all set to be the game the series deserved. So, how did it turn out? Well, that's up to you to decide. However, I will give you an account of what I experienced without spoilers and possibly help you decide if a purchase is right for you.

I'm a long time fan of the South Park series, and had very high hopes for this game. I tend not to get ahead of myself in getting caught up with hype. It's rare to get me excited to the point The Stick of Truth was able to. It promised that South Park humor fans of the series love, it promised old-school turn-based combat, as well as an open world to explore around the town as you wish. All of these things seemed to be the perfect formula for something truly magical. From the very first moment of making your character and being dropped into the quiet little mountain town, you'll feel right at home. The art is, of course spot-on. Aside from some slight aliasing in the console versions, it looks just like it would if you were watching an episode on the television. This is probably the most important part, and they got it down just right. In terms of looks, it's phenomenal.

Let's start off by talking about the open world. The town of South Park is there in its entirety for you to explore. You can visit the boys' school, check out Stark's Pond, swing by Token's house or visit Kenny's family across the railroad tracks. The areas of town are sectioned off between screens, but loading is practically non-existent unless you go into someone's house. I'd like to point out, that on the PS3 version which I was playing. There would often times be some pretty severe frame rate drops between screens outside. This primarily happened when the game would auto-save. I did not notice this on the PC version, and have yet to see how the 360 version performed. Everything about the town is pretty detailed, and you'll find a TON of charming and often amusing nods to episodes from the series' lifetime. I would give examples of what you can expect to find, but it's much more rewarding if you find these things yourself. This is definitely a game you'll want to take your time going through. As it's not very long unfortunately.

Now, onto the combat system. It's both fairly simple and slightly complex. I can't say it was anything too special, but it certainly was entertaining and that's what is important. You'll have enemies in various places on the battle screen, depending on where they are you'll have different attacks that can hit one or more enemies. For instance, some attacks can hit a column of enemies. One in the middle, one above, and one below. Others can hit a line, and some can hit all of them. It depends on what weapon or abilities you use. All of it is interactive, meaning you'll have to physically press a button or do something for blocking or attacking. It all makes battles interesting and engaging. As a side note, I'd like to praise the status effects as well. It's pretty funny to see an enemy running around on fire and throwing up from status effects you put on them. With how entertaining battles were, I never really felt opposed to getting into them until making it to the very end of the game after reaching max level. Which brings us to an issue I have with the game's mechanics. You are allowed an ability point each time you level up. There are a certain number of locked abilities you can upgrade several times. The problem is, the game never specifically tells you that you won't have enough levels to unlock them all. Which was a little frustrating to me personally when I realized I was at max level and couldn't progress with them any longer. I thought I'd made it to my max level a little too soon, but as it turned out I was simply nearing the end of the game. Which was quite disappointing. Let me be clear, I was loving my journey up to the end. By the time the credits began to roll though, I felt a little unsatisfied. As if there should have been more to it. Doing a good portion of the side quests, I was able to finish the game in just over 11 hours. For most games that would be a decent amount of time, but for an RPG to be finished so quickly. It's a little disheartening, especially when you pay $60 dollars for the game.

The customization of the game is something it should certainly be praised for. You're able to get a lot of special costumes that you can equip onto your character to change up their look. Everything from wigs to glasses and face paint. You're also able to dye your armor any colors you want. Some of which can be found as you explore the world. Weapons and armor are even further customizable because of patches and strap-ons. Some weapons and armor will have sockets that you can equip these into. Giving them bonus effects. Things like bleed damage, absorbing health or even being able to break through defenses. It's a great system and it makes the combat that much more enjoyable.

One last little section here before I get into my actual verdict of everything. Bugs and technical issues. As I mentioned above, the PS3 version had really bad frame rate issues when auto-saving between screens. It would drop to what I would believe to be around 5-10 frames per second for about 3-5 seconds whenever it auto-saved between screens outside. There were also several times where the audio didn't match up with the screen. During 3 different cutscenes I noticed their mouths didn't match their voices at all. (Such as hearing them talking after their mouths had stopped moving altogether, and in one case gunshots firing before the gun even started to shoot.) There were also a lot of times where you'd see the camera change from your character to another and back again. In these cases, you could see your character popping into the game for a fraction of a second. As in, your character not being there and quickly appearing. This wasn't really too noticeable, but it did happen frequently. It's just something I thought should be brought up. Last, but certainly not least. I did have a rather annoying bug crop up in the middle of my game. One where all the text was messed up and not displaying correctly. I had to actually completely quit the game and restart it to get it normal again. These seem like issues that should have been fixed, considering they had around 4 years to do so.

In closing, I will say that all of the issues I have with the game still couldn't put a damper on my experience. If you're a fan of the series, you absolutely NEED to play this game (whether through buying or renting.) If you just like role-playing games, and don't care much for South Park, you're definitely better off renting than buying. I can't recommend it on just that aspect alone. I will say that I was laughing pretty much the entire way through. Every little detail and nod to episodes from the series' past was incredible. They put so much attention and focus on that though, I fear they didn't put enough time into making a lengthy story. South Park The Stick of Truth is an experience more than anything. It's something that you'll absolutely be happy going through, but I'm not sure I'd pay full price for it unless you're okay with shorter campaigns and some buggy moments. You're allowed to wander around the town after you've beaten the game, but it seems like it's just there to finish up any remaining side quests and finding collectibles you might have missed.

At the end of the day, Stick of Truth is a wonderful experience marred primarily by its length. Regardless, it's a game that I'm happy to have in my collection and I'm sure I'll replay it again at some point in the future. Any way you slice it though, it's the absolute best South Park game you're going to get, buddy. "Screw you guys, I'm going home..."
Ups
Customization
South Park style Humor
Art direction
Downs
Buggy
Short Campaign
Score
9.0
Graphics The graphics are amazingly accurate. I didn't give it a perfect score because of the issues I had with character pop-in at times. You really have to commend Obsidian on how well they matched it to the show though!
8.0
Sound The sound is great as well, amazing music including tracks you've heard from the TV show. The issues I experienced however, with voices not matching up to mouths at times were a bit jarring honestly. There were also several cases where the music stopped playing, or messed up in looping correctly.
7.0
Gameplay The gameplay was rather fun, and both the combat system and mechanics of the game seemed to work well. It just didn't have enough room for growth, with the max level being fairly low. The campaign length was also just too short.
9.0
Fun factor Hilarious jokes, great scenes, and memorable moments make the game a blast to play through. South Park fans will eat this up like a Snacky Cake and love every minute of it.
0.0
Online
8.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
Derekvinyard13  +   238d ago
Good review dude u really explained a lot, one thing though. How many hours in total would you say it would take to complete the game 100% and get all trophies
Snookies12  +   237d ago
Thank you, I appreciate it. :]

I believe it might be possible to get all the trophies/achievements in one playthrough, but you might have to kind of cheat to get it done. As there are certain ones that seem to contradict each other. (Like letting Kenny die 10 times for one, and another for not letting your your friends remain dead before ending a battle for the entire game. As well as a choice mid-game where you get a trophy for picking one option as well as the other.) So, you'll most likely have to go through it twice.

As for 100% completion and the time it would take for that, I'd say you could probably get it done in about 18-20 hours max. There are a good many side quests, but they're all relatively short especially if you use fast travel. The hardest things to do would most likely be getting all the friends, chinpokomon dolls, and obtaining all the costumes in the game.

Other than those things, it seems relatively easy to get all the trophies/achievements. My estimation on 100% completion is just assumption based on what I've played though, as I haven't done so myself yet. Going to be working on it soon however. Hope that helps some!
#1.1 (Edited 237d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
imtheman2013  +   237d ago
Great review!

I am playing through it right now, and the only problem I have with the game is that it's just too easy. I'm playing on Hardcore because I had read other places that on Normal one could go through without much effort, but I'm still finding the combat to be far easier than any turn-based RPG I've played.

Other than that though, it's probably the best South Park game ever made.
Snookies12  +   237d ago
Thank you, I certainly found the game fairly easy as well. Although some boss battles can be a little tougher. I believe I only died one time, but I had a few close calls. I don't think they put as much focus into the battling as they did the humor.

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South Park: The Stick of Truth

Average Score 8.8 Reviews(179)
Release Dates
PC Release Dates
JP Q3 2013
AU 07 March 2014
EU 07 March 2014
US 04 March 2014
PS3 Release Dates
AU 07 March 2014
EU 07 March 2014
US 04 March 2014
Xbox Release Dates
Xbox 360 Release Dates
AU 07 March 2014
EU 07 March 2014
US 04 March 2014