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- Published By: Ubisoft
- Platform: PS3
South Park: The Stick of Truth PS3 Review
More fun than an anal probe!
By Tim Janson
March 18, 2014
South Park: The Stick of Truth Review
My son actually got to play South Park: The Stick of Truth before I did…swiping it off my desk and scurrying away into his room. I didn’t protest as he is a huge South Park fan and frankly my expectations were low. After giving him a few hours to try it out I finally decided to check on his progress and get his thoughts. His comment to me was that the game was like Skyrim. My first thought was a puzzled “huhh?” But damned if I didn’t discover he was right after finally getting into the game the next day.
Ok so let’s call it Skyrim Very Lite, but many of those same RPG elements are there even though the experience is on the shallow side. First and most impressively is the way developer Obsidian Entertainment brings the world of South Park to life in all its hysterical, profane way complete with unending fart, anal, poop, and masturbation jokes. Obsidian pulls off a game that makes you feel like you are immersed in an episode of the long-running TV show. The town of South Park is big and fully mapped out and open to exploration and it’s fun to just go and visit all of many familiar locations from the show. A fast-travel system makes moving about the town quite smooth despite its size. In this regard it certainly shows its Skyrim influences although on a smaller scale.
You play the hero of the game, a new kid in the town of South Park who is warmly referred to as “douchebag”. You choose to play as one of four classes: Fighter, Mage, Thief, or, ummm…Jew. Truth be told however there isn’t a great deal of difference in the classes as it relates to gameplay. In that respect it certainly is NO Skyrim. Each class does have their unique abilities but can use any weapons or armor. All classes can also learn the games unique form of farting magic.
The plot is as wacky as you would expect…as the new kid you become involved in a heroic quest to find the fabled Stick of Truth in a South Park version of a LARP game with the various personalities of the town playing allies and antagonists such as Kyle and Stan who lead the “evil” Drow Elves. The elves steal the Stick and Cartman charges Douchebag (you!) to recover it, recruiting other allies along the way like Butters, the Goth kids, etc…Mixed into all of this traditional heroic fantasy quest stuff is a plot involving the crash of an alien spacecraft and a government cover-up. In addition to featuring the show’s central characters The Stick of Truth features many other characters from the TV series, including: Randy Marsh, Stan's dad; Mr. Garrison; Mr. Hankey; Mr. Mackey; Al Gore; uncle Jimbo, Timmy, Terrance and Phillip, and the Underpants Gnomes.
Your character can be customized with all manner of weapons and armor that reflect the show’s crude brand of humor with various types of strap-on weapons or enhancements and patches that increase skills and abilities. You can also gather health and mana power-ups (such as Hot Pockets) to help out your character. In fact these many items point to the games weakness which is that it is a little too easy. Combat isn’t especially difficult (although it can be cumbersome) and power-ups are so plentiful that the game provides only a moderate challenge at best. Despite all of the options to customize your character, in the end its just about finding the best stuff as opposed to finding the stuff that fits your class. Even so the game only lasts 10 hours or so but you can increase this by exploring every corner of the town.
As you might expect the game has garnered its fair share of controversy. Many countries have banned certain portions of the game, notably the abortion and anal-probe mini-games. The mini-games are examples of show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone pushing the envelope of taste for the sake of it in my opinion, particularly since these are not a primary element of the game. There won’t be much middle ground with South Park: The Stick of Truth. Show fans will love it and everyone else will hate it or ignore it.