South Park: The Stick of Truth is pretty much what you’d expect from a South Park game, but with a little bit more. That is, if you’re a fan of the outrageous and over the top kind of humor South Park provides.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is a traditional turned-based RPG in which the player moves to town as a new resident of South Park. Your character then meets the gang of South Park playing a fantasy based role playing game with the neighborhood kids, pitting half of the town against the other as either humans or elves battling for the Stick of Truth. This magical artifact is just a regular stick that can supposedly control the universe.
The main character then has to pick sides in the War for the Stick, save the town from a mysterious unknown element that has much more sinister intentions, and collect as many friends as they can on Facebook. The game also features a load of side quests like hunting down Manbearpig, relocating the homeless, and finding Jesus that add a lot of fun and entertainment to an already humorous storyline without feeling too “grind” heavy or tedious.
The character creation immediately captured my attention and I spent a good few minutes just messing around with combinations as I do with any decent character customization. Throughout the game I found a myriad of wigs, clothes, armor, make-up, scars, face paint and other accessories to customize my character further when things got a little stale.
Each piece of equipment has specific bonuses like increasing your health or giving a bonus to your damage, but you’ll also obtain add-ons or “patches and strap-ons” for your equipment that add further customization to their stats or abilities, giving the player some decent freedom to look how they want without sacrificing functionality at higher levels.
The Stick of Truth has the traditional starting classes of Fighter, Mage, Thief, and the not so traditional Jew class. These all end up developing unique skills but don’t seem to require the player to adjust their playing style much at all since most stats are dictated by the immense amount of armor and gear you pick up throughout the town. The fact that all the classes tend to be heavily dependent on gear makes them all feel incredibly similar and there isn’t much of a desire to want to play through the game with a different class.
Combat is entertaining with a slight twist on the standard turn-based battle system, utilizing timed button presses to deal more damage, different kinds of damage, and to block damage. Along side basic melee and ranged attacks, you’ll have access to class specific abilities ranging anywhere from throwing rotten eggs to summoning the plague. The entire cast of main characters are present as allies in combat to assist you and you’re able to switch between them in combat to change things up dramatically if the battle requires it.
All cameos and references aside, the game stands relatively strong in the genre of RPGs. The Stick of Truth builds upon standard elements and adds mechanics that many other games could take notes from. The customization is well done, combat feels nice and provides entertainment and strategy, and the quests all feel like they build towards a bigger goal which can be very important as an immersion tool in gaming. The one thing I think that would keep this game from being taken seriously as an RPG is simply the art style and graphics, but I don’t think anyone seriously expects that from the South Park universe.
Overall I was impressed by the way the game handled the dialogue and story, filling it with plenty of references from the show yet not enough to make one say “yes we get it” as other games based on shows or movies have been known to do. Everything felt as fun and ridiculous as anyone who is a fan of the series would expect it to be. However, while there is a bunch of collectibles, side quests and choices the player can make in the game to adjust certain dialogues and scenes, it really doesn’t have much in the way of replay value. That doesn’t stop it from being an entertaining, albeit not too terribly long experience. I don’t know if I can necessarily say it’s $60 entertaining, but it’s absolutely worth your time if you get a chance to play it. Even if it means waiting for a price drop.