South Park: The Stick of Truth had a troublesome development cycle. It was delayed for a couple of years and the original publisher, THQ, filed for bankruptcy, leading to doubts if the game would actually be released. Fortunately, Ubisoft picked it up and the game was, finally, released a few days ago. But the question remains: was it all worth it?
I’ve been playing the European version (the censored version) for quite some time now and my answer is unequivocally YES! But I’m saying this since I’m a big fan of the show, its brand of humor and old school RPGs. Your mileage may vary depending on your (bad) taste.
In South Park: The Stick of Truth, you control the “New Kid” a nameless boy (can’t choose girls here) who moves to the quiet, little mountain town. While trying to meet new friends, you get mixed up in a live action roleplaying game between Cartman’s humans of the Kingdom of Kupa Keep (KKK for short) and the drow elves, led by Kyle. However, like a regular South Park episode, there’s always bigger things happening in the background…
The best thing about the game is it’s like playing an episode of the show. The graphics are nothing fancy since they copied the cutout animation style of South Park. The voices are also authentic. If you didn’t know it was a game, you could be fooled into thinking you were watching a long, lost episode of the series. The humor also closely mimics that of the show. There are also a lot of references to past episodes of the series. So South Park fans will get the most out of the inside jokes but a casual fan will still get a kick out of it.
The games actually plays like a traditional turn-based RPG with a few unique flourishes. While you perform an action during battle, there’s always some form of interactivity involved. It could be as simple as tapping the correct button when the character flashes or really complex, like playing a Dance Dance Revolution minigame. This makes battles feel less than a chore of pushing the attack option over and over again. You also have to pay attention on what the opponent is doing. For example, if your foe is in Ripose stance, trying melee instead of a ranged attack will result in a counterattack.
But The Stick of Truth is not a flawless game. There are some flaws with the overall presentation of the game. Talking to NPCs multiple times is a staple in all RPGs and they usually have 2 or more replies when you talk to them. Here, some of them only say one thing and usually said at a pace that’s hard to understand. There are four character classes: Fighter, Mage, Thief and (hehe) Jew. But you can equip all manner of armor and weapons. Essentially, the class only determines your skills which does limit its replayability.
The game itself seems to be filled with glitches. I have the PlayStation 3 version and the game’s framerate would drop dramatically after playing for a couple of hours. Text would become a garbled mess of symbols for no apparent reason. Even some graphical glitches would come up, like the characters would look like they’re standing still even if they are walking around. Restarting the game seems to clear these issues up but, for a game that looks this simple, I expected better. Hopefully, they’ll find out what’s causing this and release a patch for it.
Now, I have to address the censorship of the European version. While the censored scenes do not really detract from the game itself, it’s the thought these scenes have been cut out in the first place is what bugs me. Yes, I know there’s a bunch of text describing it, but I want to actually see these “vile” acts. I can go to YouTube and look at the scenes for myself but it’s just not the same as me playing the game and experiencing it for myself. I actually play to search for the US version of the game in the future just to satisfy the completist within me.
Still, these issues do not make South Park: The Stick of Truth a bad game. Sure, I can do without the glitches and bugs. I wish the game was a bit more complex. But these issues don’t detract from the fun experience the game delivers. Fans of the series should definitely get this. Old school RPG fans should, at the least, give it a rental. For me, I’ll be starting my search for the real South Park: The Stick of Truth, the bigger, longer and uncut version, so to speak, soon.
Have you played South Park: The Stick of Truth? How did you like the game? Post your thoughts and comments regarding the game below!