Following the 3 South Park episodes from season 17; “Black Friday”, “A Song Of Ass And Fire” and “Titties And Dragons”, The Stick Of Truth was advertised within the punchline of the final episode (The joke being that the boys discovered their lack of need for an X-Box-One or PS4, because they already had fun doing play-pretend…then…South Park: The Stick Of Truth, out in 2014…it was quite brilliant). Before we begin, lets provide some exposition to its development. Anybody who has been around long enough to remember such classics as South Park the game, South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack and South Park Rally (all for the N64 and PS1) would be able to tell you that South Park video games are rarely ever known for their quality. The gameplay, replay value and even the graphics left a lot to be desired, and they came out during the show’s early development, which focused more on being the most vulgar cartoon on television, rather than as the fantastic satire of news and pop culture that we know of today. It should also be noted that the creators of South Park, Matt and Trey, didn’t have anything to do with the games…until now. The Stick Of Truth had South Park studios working on it, and this has led to the creation of a video game that looks, feels, and plays like an episode of the show…They finally did something right.
So what’s the story? Well, it’s the type of episode that Matt and Trey love writing the most. The type they like to call the “Boys Will Be Boys” episode, were the boys enjoy play-pretend, and go on epic adventures with this mind set (examples of these episodes include The Black Friday trilogy (a Game Of Thrones satire), The Return of the Fellowship Of The Ring to the Two Towers (a Lord Of The Rings satire), The Coon and Friends Trilogy (A modern Superhero movie satire), Good Times With Weapons (a satire of anime and battle manga), and of course the legendary Make Love Not Warcraft (where their play-pretend takes place in World Of Warcraft). The game is designed to be a satire of open-world RPG video games, fantasy films and fantasy TV shows. More specifically, it pokes fun at the likes of video games such as Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Legend Of Zelda series, while also having fun with the likes of The Lord Of The Rings (the game’s opening animation style pokes fun at the 1978 Lord Of The Rings animated film by Ralph Bakshi).
Your main character is you. You’re the new kid who has just moved into a house on the same street as our main characters, and the first thing you do in the game is add Butters as a friend on Facebook. Butters then becomes your first party member (you can only have 1 fighting with you at a time), and he brings you to Kupa Keep, which is the safe house of the Wizard King, Eric Cartman, who has possession of The Stick Of Truth. After a battle with the Elves in Kupa Keep, the Stick Of Truth is stolen, and it’s your job to get it back. I’m not going to spoil the story because to be honest, it has to be seen/played to be believed.
The gameplay takes getting used to, and it is a very solid experience. One game I could compare it to would be Final Fantasy 8, because 1. pressing certain buttons in the middle of an attack make the the attack stronger, and 2. You can change your battle partner in each turn. Due to the fact that you can only have 2 party members at 1 time, each character can have 2 turns if they use items as 1 of their turns. It will also be noted that they managed to be both very creative and humorous when it came to making attacks for each character, which includes Cartman’s fire attacks involving deodorant cans and his own farts, as well as Kyle having dozens of elves firing arrows (He is the high Elf after all), Kenny utilising his anime-inspired Princess Kenny persona, Jimmy being the bard and using songs, Stan keeping it straight by just being a Knight throwing hard melee attacks, and of course, Butters bringing out the Professor Chaos for a special attack while using a hammer as a weapon. It also needs to be mentioned that throughout the game, Farting will get you far.
The music fits every scenario in the same way it does on the TV show, and even though there’s a theme that sort of got stuck in my mind when I didn’t want it there, I understood the context of it being used.
Would I recommend South Park: The Stick Of Truth? Very much so, if it’s your sort of thing. South Park is not a show that’s for everybody, and the same can definitely be said about this game. You either get a lot out of the characters and humour, or you don’t. If you do, and you love the show, this is well worth it. And in the process, I got a lot out of this game.
Graphics/Art Style: *****
Overall Rating: ****1/2