South Park is a franchise that not everyone will enjoy. In fact some people outright hate it because of it's crude humour, ridiculous plot twists and disgusting visuals. Yet if you are a huge South Park fan like me, and have seen every season, then this is a must buy.
South Park is the second longest running cartoon television show in United States history. Why, you ask? Because from its conception, it has continued to be one of the most intelligent and socially relevant shows on television. Though South Park has never been safe or clean it is one of the smartest television shows ever made.
Now is it possible to turn all these elements into a fully fleshed out turn-based JRPG with Paper Mario style timing to the combat? The answer is yes, an emphatic yes.
This game feels exactly like the show, sure there have been South Park games in the past, yet none have been worked on so closely by it's original creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker as this one. And it shows, when the HUD isn't present while you are running around town, and it isn't unless you press the Triangle button, it looks exactly like the show.
The town is exceptionally created ( not re-created, because this is the first time it has actually existed in one entire piece). Everything you recognize from the show is here, Stark's Pond, The School, The Church, all of the boy's houses and of course a border crossing into Canada.
You start off with making your character, from his skin tone, to his hair style and colour. Then you start the beginning of the game by getting friends (Butter's is your first one, of course). He leads you to Cartman who is in his backyard that he has named the Kingdom of Kuppa Keep (KKK for short) where you learn of the game they are playing and start your journey for the Stick of Truth.
Even without all the fan service this is still a very suitable JRPG, there are dozens of weapons, both melee and range. Dozen's of different armour sets, and for both you can get weapon “strap-ons” to add fire or frost damage and “armour patches” to get extra health or deal damage whenever you are attacked by a melee enemy.
The combat is much deeper than it appears at first glance, there are; range, support and melee enemies, and the melee ones can change “stances” so you have to use different attacks to properly damage them.
Your character gets three bars, one health obviously, the next is PP (Power Points) which is for your various abilities, every class gets five different ones. The third is for your Mana, which is used for your “Fart” attacks during combat. There is a distinct Paper Mario feel to it, mentioned earlier, in which every attack has separate button prompts that when timed correctly do extra damage. These can be anything from blocking when it is the enemies turn attacking you, to mashing the X button while Jimmy stutters through a song that insults the enemies' mother, lowering their defense.
The game has a very high level of customization as well, there are four different classes to choose from at the beginning, Mage, Thief, Knight and Jew (Only in South Park). Unfortunately there isn't a big difference between them, but they do still offer slightly varied play styles. A great amount of character customization is offered as you progress throughout the game as well. There are dyes which you pick up and can use to change the colour of your armour as much as you want. You can also change your physical features, from; facial hair to wigs to facial markings or tattoos, even going into Tom's Rhinoplasty for a David Hasselhoff makeover.
Now the game isn't that long, I finished it in about 15 hours, even with completing all the side quests and exploring every corner to try and find more references to the show, and there are many. For example, in the homes of the main kids, you can find all sorts of costumes that they had worn throughout the seasons like Cartman's “Beefcake” tank top to a picture of Butter's purple sparkly vest from his tap dancing competition. This game is truly the world of South Park.
Getting around may take some time at first but it is very worth it to explore, and there is a fast travel system that greatly improves the distances from the different shops and side quests.
The story is classic South Park, rapidly accelerating from a simple game of LARPing into a tale woven with UFO's, government conspiracies and betrayal. Most of the main characters fans love from the show are here, Al Gore, Mr. Hanky, and my favourite Randy Marsh are all showcased in their messed up but hilarious glory.
South Park The Stick of Truth really does feel like the newest season of the show it may be a short game, but it has so much content with the; side quests, collectibles, and combat that this it easily earns its spot alongside the better seasons of the show for any South Park fan. Even if you are not a fan it still deserves your time, and may just convince you to start watching.