Goin’ Down To South Park, Gonna Beat Some Friends Of Mine
Back in 1997, South Park made its debut with little hand made cutout characters that made for crappy animation, terrible voice acting, and a pilot episode plot about a group of third graders living in a quiet mountain town. And one of them gets abducted by aliens, and gets an anal probe. Probably not going to be any good, and definitely going to be cancelled. Except people like me, thought it was one of the craziest, funniest things they had ever watched, and wanted more. Now here we are in 2017, South Park is in its 21st season, sprouted many video games and one major motion picture. One of the many games was 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth, which went through some publishing nightmares and took a while to finally release. But when it did, it was widely received as a solid game, allowing you to create your own character and play the game out as if you were watching an episode on tv. I really enjoyed it, and thought it was a great turn based rpg. It even had a prequel in the form of episodes leading up to the game’s release. Traversing South Park, seeing the crazy quests play out as you become the king of this fantasy filled adventure and becoming friends with pretty much everyone in the world of South Park was a blast to play through. Now South Park returns, and the town is in need of some heroes…..
It is night, and you look up to the sky seeing clouds roll in over the moon. Something stinks in this alleyway, and it’s not just the trash and debris that the wind gently picks up only to violently slam it back down to the ground. Something is happening to this town, and you want to find out the essentials. Who, what, when, and how to get this missing cat back for that sweet $100 reward to help kick start your superhero movie franchise. Close up on the Coon’s face, and scene! The kids in South Park are still playing out the end from The Stick of Truth, but Eric Cartman has moved on, realizing the superhero explosion has hit everywhere, and it seems that everyone is getting their own Netflix special and eventually movies. It’s time to suit up, and Coon and friends jump into action to save this missing cat. This aptly names sequel to The Stick of Truth is called South Park: The Fractured But Whole. And queue the giggling to yourself over the play on words there.
There is also an episode that tells the beginning of The Fractured But Whole in the form of a prequel of sorts. This shows the kids playing superheroes, and a layout for their superhero franchise which will make them millions of dollars. One thing leads to another, arguing ensues over who gets their own standalone movies and Netflix shows, and civil war is called. A group of heroes split off from Coon and friends, calling themselves the Freedom Pals. This isn’t the only episode showing the superheroes including the Coon and Mysterion, but I would recommend watching it before playing this game, although a shortened version plays out here. So now we open up to your character being king, and Cartman coming in and telling everyone to stop playing that silly game, and suit up for some real business. Once king, you are now tossed aside while everyone starts playing superheroes.
In South Park: The Fractured But Whole, you will create a character again that is still dubbed “the new kid”. Matt Stone and Trey Parker decided to take things into their own hands, including the difficulty level of the game. The harder the difficulty, the darker your skin gets, ensuing that easy mode will let you in on your “white privilege” and hard mode will put you in the role of a black person in South Park during some serious times in our nation. So right off the bat, you see that as usual, nothing is off limits for them to poke fun at. So make your character, and you will see him or her interacting with all sorts of things and people, all while looking like you are watching an episode of South Park. I can’t stress this enough. Just like in Stick of Truth, seeing you be able to interact in the South Park universe all while looking completely authentic is very satisfying. Not long after the intro you will be in control of your character, and soon make your way to Cartman’s house to see what the other kids are up to. After seeing that you won’t take no for an answer, Cartman decides to let you in by picking a starting class for your hero. Again you see that this game refuses to take itself seriously by the outrageous backstory Cartman gives your character. In this game, combat is a bit more developed than we saw in Stick of Truth. It is now more of a turn based strategy game, letting characters maneuver around a grid to set up attacks, buffs/debuffs, and heals. I thought this was a much better direction than Stick of Truth’s simple turn based combat. Soon you will be gaining friends that will join you for combat, eventually leading to a ton of different options and classes. Experiment and find what works, and compliments your character’s skills. You will get to choose from more classes later on, and can change your skills and classes almost any time you want to.
Don’t forget about taking selfies and posting them up on Coonstagram! Usually you will have to do certain things to gain followers, and the dialogue that characters have with each other on there is worth reading, and adds a layer of depth to the overall lore of the game. Like Stick of Truth, your powers of farting play a HUGE role in the game. Certain heroes will be available to call upon that will go hand in hand(butt) with your master level farts. Calling upon Kyle-aka The Human Kite will allow you to do Fartkour and jump up to high places or across buildings. Scott-aka Captain Diabetes, will go into a diabetic rage and move heavy objects after you fart in his face. There are other powers I don’t want to ruin here, but they are all pretty funny. Walking around town will be similar to the previous title, gaining more powers unlocks more of the town. Sadly, you pretty much just stick to the town, not going to other places like the 8-bit Canada or space like in Stick of Truth. That’s for dlc buddy! Come on guy, there’s dlc? I’m not your guy, pal, and yes, there is a season pass.
Coming at later dates will be new stories and locations via dlc or the all in one season pass. I’m not surprised at all here, given that Ubisoft is doing this with every single title they bring out now. Also this is pretty much the norm period. But since none of that content is out now, I will go on to say I wish there had been more locations. We do see a ton of the South Park townspeople, and even some old, almost forgotten about characters returning that will make you laugh if you are a regular of the show. Hopefully you will “member” all these good times. Speaking of good times, head on down to Freeman’s Tacos, where Morgan Freeman will sell you items and teach you how to master your farts, and unlock new abilities. He is also a hidden boss, and the hardest fight you will have in the game hands down. Don’t even think about taking him on until after you have beaten the game. All these nods to previous episodes wrapped up in seeing how it all plays out, finding the cat leads to crazier involvements, a certain Professor Chaos hiring illegal immigrants as henchmen, sixth graders blocking your way, PC Principal teaching you how to block microaggressions, and the ending, really all feel like you have been playing a very long episode. I even had a- really? moment when the game ended. Also love the Rambo nod when you die, and the credits roll playing It’s a Long Road. Good stuff.
So did I enjoy this game better than The Stick of Truth? I can answer this one as a simple no. While the battle system was far more enjoyable, the lack of locations and the overall silly-while-funny story didn’t have the same oomph as the first game. The characters’ hero forms, while sometimes funny, just didn’t play out as well as the Lord of the Rings style fantasy The Stick of Truth had. And just like Stick of Truth, the characters are split, and you start bouncing between them. So nothing new in that regard. Seeing Jimmy as Fastpass, a Flash like Superhero was funny, but you really just changed him for Timmy as a form of fast travel. Timmy as Professor Tim however, was worth the entire experience. So this is kind of just a different Stick of Truth so to speak, but just isn’t as good. Still worth heading on down to South Park for though!
Feels like you are playing an episode
The new battle system is more in depth and overall more fun to play
Not many locations to explore outside of the town
The story and characters just didn't hit the mark compared to the Stick of Truth