South Park: The Stick of Truth review.

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Hey do you like jokes about balls, poo or maybe you're in it for the fart jokes? If you do then there's a damn fine chance your a fan of South Park, if so then you're in for one hell of a treat because finally South Park gets the video game it deserves (took a while didn't it) because South Park The Stick of Truth is the best South Park game to grace the video game form. Though, let's be honest folks that's not saying a whole lot when compared to the South Park games we've been treated to in the past.

Yes past South Park games have ranged for 'just about okay' to 'bloody awful' so it's nice to say that South Park as finally got the game it deserved. We at to wait for it mind you, but The Stick of Truth is worthy of being called one of the best things South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have done with the much loved TV show with the help of developers Obsidian Entertainment on hand. It's simple and short for your typical role playing game, but more importantly it's a great groundwork for South Park's risky style of comedy.

The Stick of Truth does a great job of capturing kids playtime fantasies.
The Stick of Truth does a great job of capturing kids playtime fantasies.

Set in South Park (shocker I know!), you play as the new kid who's just arrived and got everyone talking. This new kid can be customized in a large variety of ways with a character creation that will delight any South Park fan. Want to recreate yourself in the world of South Park or simply go crazy with your imagination, you can do just that with what's on offer. It's an impressive touch, only helped by the fact that The Stick of Truth pulls off such a splendid job of recreating the visual style of the show. You might as well be participating in your very own episode of South Park, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. What's especially great is that it's backed by solid, if simple turned based RPG mechanics that while easy to pick up and play, does provide the game with some much needed mechanical backbone. However these gameplay mechanics only facilitates the humor which is rightly at the forefront throughout.

Don't like the jokes of South Park? Then unfortunately there's not much here for you to enjoy. Skyrim this ain't and neither should it be. Clocking in at around eleven to twelve hours of playtime, The Stick of Truth is a short game in comparison to it's peers yet I'd argue that it's the perfect length. It never outlasts its welcome and grinding isn't even a consideration. It's a fresh and interesting change to your typical forty plus hour Japanese RPG we see so often in the genre. Humor is king here and any South Park fan will appreciate some of the shows best loved characters making an appearance and references around every corner. Rarely do Matt and Trey go for the easy jokes and on a number of occasions I was left surprised that they took the risks they did. I guess it wouldn't be South Park if they didn't take risks.

Inspired by the likes of Final Fantasy, the simple turned based mechanics of the battle system work well within the world of South Park. The Stick of Truth is an easy game, one that will rarely ever challenge you, even on the higher difficulty levels. That's not exactly it's purpose though, as the South Park humor comes first and foremost, thankfully these simple RPG mechanics remain fun throughout. One added ingredient aimed to spice the battle system up is the ability to block enemy attacks with the press of the A button (on Xbox 360) or X button (on PS3) at just the right time. Again this isn't anything new but the battle system remains fun and inventive throughout. As do the enemies you'll face on your epic journey. It feels as if the game continually throws new things at you, be that new items to dress up with, new enemies to face or new powers to lash out and upgrade. Dare I say I was even surprised with the amount of cosmetic and varied content on offer.

The battle system is simple but deep enough to keep things interesting throughout it's eleven to twelve hour playtime.
The battle system is simple but deep enough to keep things interesting throughout it's eleven to twelve hour playtime.

Now a South Park game wouldn't be a South Park game without Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny. All four can buddy up with you to help tackle your enemies in battle, along with the lovable loser Butters and comedian wannabe Jimmy. All have unique and fun powers that provide some laughable moments from Cartman shooting waves of fire from is backside to Princess Kenny's ability to "distract" enemies. Discovering what enemy and what powers he, she or it will unleash next is a big park of The Stick of Truth's appeal. You know that a game with the South Park name will have fun with everything and this includes the battle system. There's even the ability to add modifications to the many items you'll discovered scattered around the town, these 'strap ons' allow you to customize a weapon to your choosing from the ability to add elemental damage or a variety of other useful modifications to help in battle. While the gameplay and battle system are easily the best gameplay mechanics we've seen in a South Park game, there there to only facilitate the humor.

South Park: The Stick of Truth is comfortably one of the funniest and laugh out loud games I've played thanks to some wittily written dialogue and scenes that feel as random and as crazy as you'd expect from Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The good news is that this humor is backed by some solid mechanics that remain fun for the games reasonably short length. There are a few issues I had worth noting, the interface which while serviceable I found to be irritating at times having to navigate the menus to equip and unequipped items/strap on modifications and the times when the game requires to change the buddy currently in use could have been more easily achieved via a shortcut. That said, these issues don't stop me from highly recommending The Stick of Truth. Just know that being a South Park fan is a must going in.

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