Published on March 18th, 2014 | by Don Parsons0
South Park: The Stick of Truth Review
Summary: The way a licensed game was meant to be- uncouth, raunchy and really, really fun.
With such a bumpy road before it was released (see the fall of THQ and Obsidian Entertainment’s history of buggy titles), it was easy for me to be a little worried about South Park: The Stick of Truth. What kept me brimming with anticipation was the fact that Matt Stone and Trey Parker had taken a serious interest in writing the game. I have been a fan of the series since it debuted, and watched every episode (sometimes multiple times) up until the last season of the show. South Park: The Stick of Truth took little bits from nearly every episode and found a way to write an original and hilarious story around them. If I had a nickel for every time I laughed during my 15-hour adventure, I’d have a shitload of nickels.
South Park: The Stick of Truth cast me as the New Kid in town, letting me actually create a South Park-esque character. After that, I was set free in South Park to explore, with the initial task of making friends. All of the kids in South Park were playing a D&D type game, with Cartman’s clan pitted against Kyle’s Elves. Early on, I got to pick my character class and then the town was open for discovery.
That was how I spent my first three hours- roaming South Park, scoping things out, talking to people, and pretty much doing everything except the main quest. The amount of detail Obsidian crammed into The Stick of Truth is staggering. My biggest problem in writing this review is trying not to spoil anything, because part of the joy is simply stumbling across the ins and outs of South Park, the town.
Don’t fret, though, as there is more to The Stick of Truth than just exploring. The Stick of Truth has the underpinnings of the classic Super Mario RPG, where battles are won by pressing a button as someone attacks or to defend. This gives a significant boost to whichever action I was performing, and in many cases, was the decisive factor in whatever battle I was fighting. The few nights when I was tired and groggy, my reflexes were a little behind, and I suffered mightily because of it. Missing one action can swing the tide of battle drastically. Part of the reason I enjoyed battles and rarely avoided them was because I had to pay attention. Unlike some RPGs, I couldn’t just mash the X button to get through the fight.
I could bring one buddy into battle with me, predetermined characters from the series dressed in a cosplay outfit, and could be swapped out freely between whomever was available at that time. They each had unique perks. I usually stuck with Jimmy, though, or Butters, depending on the situation. One of the many awesome parts of the game is watching Butters transform into Professor Chaos and smite the enemies, before transforming back into his regular self.
Throughout my adventure, my equipment was constantly changing. I played the Thief/Rogue class, thinking I would be locked into a certain equipment set, but that was not the case. I had access to the full range of armor and weapons available, not simply daggers and other typical rogue equipment. The Stick of Truth has some hysterically funny weapons, too. I won’t spoil them because half of the charm is stumbling upon new things in South Park.
That’s exactly what makes South Park: The Stick of Truth so brilliant: the way Matt and Trey nestled all of the little things into the game for the player to find. Even if it was just junk in a drawer that you sold for money, everything had some relevant tie-in to a piece of the South Park TV show. There are hundreds of junk pieces and equipment parts, too. Certain characters even returned for surprise cameos in various ways, each one getting a chuckle out of me. A few of those surprise appearances had me laughing so hard I was about to cry.
After finishing South Park: The Stick of Truth, I was more than satisfied with my 15 hours spent playing the game. I was also glad that the game survived the turmoil it had gone through leading up to its release. There were no major playability issues and the story is another epic saga from the South Park franchise. Only in this case, it’s interactive, making it all the better.