South Park has been a staple in my life since 1999, never failing to make me laugh and at times, question my own morality. From the social commentary on politics to the ludicrous fart jokes, South Park has been a comedy force for almost 20 years. A couple years back, Trey Parker and Matt Stone ventured out of TV and back into the video game world with South Park: The Stick of Truth. An RPG style game with magic, farts, gratuitous violence and call backs to the show; The Stick of Truth was a cool adventure that felt like a 20 hour episode that you could choose the way. It was exactly what fans were looking for and felt polished enough to be a good game on its own. Last week, we saw the release of the next adventure for Kenny, Kyle, Cartman and Stan in that of South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Within minutes of playing this game, I could tell, that this was going to be classic South Park and I was going to love it.
When I started the game up and made my character, who is the new kid in town, I couldn’t help but laugh and see the ridiculousness of this game. Always one to push the envelope, the guys at South Park made the level of difficulty of the game based on skin color. The darker you were, the harder the game was going to be. With the political and racial tension in the United States currently, leave it to South Park to poke fun and make you think. Getting into the game, you start off seeing some of the Stick of Truth costumes and fighting, as the children of the town were still playing as wizards and knights. Cartman is the one who changes the script and out comes “The Coon”, which is Cartman’s Batman like superhero persona. Setting the game up this way was fun and a good way to ease into what this game actually is, which is a turn based, RPG with superhero powers.
From there, we get battles with 6th graders, Raisins Girls and even Crab people. The game gets into the political correctness of America and highlights micro-aggressions from the PC Principal and even gender preference with Mr. Macky. The boys find themselves in the middle of a crime ring that leads them giving lap dances to drunk business men at a strip club. Without getting too far into it, I will say that some of the jokes knock it out of the park and others fall flat. Such is life with South Park but I will say I was laughing more than I wasn’t. I really enjoyed being in the middle of a battle, having a car coming and all the kids go to the sidewalk and pause the battle. The driver would yell something and the kids and they would flip the driver off and continue the battle like nothing happened. It was just little things like that to make this game better than Stick of Truth.
The battle system is a turn based attack system, which allows you to pick from various attacks and allies, which each has their own pluses and minuses. I like the battle system and some of the battles are actually very challenging. I had to do one over 4 times to be successful, which I liked that this game isn’t just a breeze to get to the jokes. On top of attacks, you also have the ability to craft and use summons and other various items that help in battle. This is a welcome aspect that make it so the game doesn’t become a stale button mashing festival. You can be an array of superhero types, such as a speedster or a cyborg to name a few, and each comes with their own unique powers. I chose a Speedster and Elementalist, which allowed for some good long range attacks and power/hp boost. Balance is key in this game.
The graphics for this game were on par with the show and some of the little things, like the ability to fart on people and have them react, never got old. With the graphics, you see a dip in frame rate when you come near a lot enemies at one time and it freezes up a bit. I even experienced a black screen that I had to reset the game to get out of but I give it a pass because it wasn’t constant and only happened once.
One of the best things about this game is the ability to interact with the environment and the amount of customization you can make to your character. A lot of puzzles require an ally to help you solve, from farting in a friends face to give them Hulk-like strength to flying around on fart clouds with Human Kite. All of this makes the game a ton more fun and it’s not just a linear storyline. This combined with the fact that you can find, craft and create a slew of different super hero costumes makes this South Park game the most complex and fun game in their history. I made my character a “Ballchinian” which is kind of self explanatory. I also liked to find new costumes and change things up through the game. The costumes don’t have any power up affect but they make your character look cool.
My only issue with this game is that the map/navigation system sucks. In an attempt to not have a HUD display on screen, this game forces you to open a map to see where your next move is going to be. It wouldn’t be as annoying if they had some sort of interaction display on the screen as you got close to your destination but it doesn’t. It became very annoying as you continue through the game and constantly go into the wrong house and have to open the map again and look again. It happened a lot.
Overall, this game is phenomenal. You can literally create your own super hero and be apart of Coon and Friends, which is said to be green-lit by Nexflix for a multi movie super hero franchise (not really). If you like South Park, you should buy it. If you don’t like South Park but like to laugh, you should buy this. If you can’t take a joke and are easily offended, you should buy this, film your reactions and put them on YouTube for the masses to laugh. South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a well rounded, hilarious RPG that allows for you to play as your favorite characters and beat up some of them as well.