South Park: The Stick of Truth – Review

I get that I’m late to the party and all that, but I have some down time right now and I’m trying to get through some of my backlog.

I don’t think I’ve seen an episode of South Park since the early 2000’s. It’s insane to think that this show is still going for over 20 years. The game is a little old though, having been released on the PS3, but I really wanted to play a game that would make me laugh. There aren’t many games out there that are truly funny and make you laugh out loud. I can’t really even think of the last one where that happened.

Yes, what you think happens, happens…

If your sense of humor matches up with the South Park brand, then you’re definitely going to laugh at this game. It’s almost insane the areas they go here. You have Nazi zombies, guys fucking horses, and turning the main hero into a miniature version of yourself and battling under your parents while they have sex. You even have to dodge your dad’s balls when they come flying down during battle.

Seeing as this is a video game and not an episode of the show, how is the game itself? Well, it reminded me of video games from about 20 years ago in some aspects. Where todays games smooth out little spots, like figuring out how to do certain puzzles, this game still had that old-school way of thinking. I would get to a spot and know what I needed to do to pass the little puzzle, but I just couldn’t figure out what I needed to actually do with the controller. The game might give a little message about what to do next, but you’d only get it once and for a brief amount of time. So I was stuck to googling for answers on occasion, which didn’t feel great.

Who knew?

I wish the controls were better implemented, it would have helped with solving the puzzles in the overworld, making them a lot easier and more enjoyable. You have two sets of commands that are set to the L1, L2 and the R1, R2 of the controller and you have to keep switching through them to select different commands. It honestly feels like a Sega Genesis era game like Beavis and Butt-head. It’s not bad, just not the greatest.

What makes this game so good are the visuals. It literally looks like you’re playing an episode of the show. While that aspect continually impresses as you play, you start to wonder why more games aren’t exploring the different visual possibilities that machines are capable of producing these days. If you have any nostalgia in your heart for these characters or the show, you’ll definitely get a kick out of exploring their homes and town. With accurate voice acting from the original cast, the presentation of the game is beyond reproach.

This game gets insane, it’s pretty funny.

The combat in the game plays like an old school RPG. I got pretty bored of it after awhile. It made me wish that there was less combat in the game, if I could have pulled a slider to lessen the number of battles I would have done that. It just got a little repetitive. I ended up trying to use the same companion as much as possible and would do the same attacks over and over. The only real strategy was figuring out if I should do an X or Square attack, or if I have the energy, to do one of my special attacks. What was nice is that health and stamina regenerate after battle, which made combat more enjoyable. I’m excited to see how the change in combat in the sequel is going to carry me through that game.

Seeing the trophy list in this game made me not want to go through the hassle of getting the platinum. It just seems like too much of a hassle to do it. While I enjoyed the game, I didn’t enjoy it enough to go through it again, or load up saves and collect the remaining trophies one-by-one.

It was a blast seeing all the little moments of comedy that sprung up on me while playing, from a cameo by Morgan Freeman to what you see when opening random people’s front doors, it made me chuckle out load multiple times. I’d suggest playing the game on the easiest setting and just trying to plow through the combat, get the story and enjoy your time. It was definitely a good first effort for a South Park video game, better than I thought it was going to be, but also more old school than I ever thought it would be. I’m not one to lament on the past and think older games are still the best, we moved away from cryptic puzzles and poor controls for a reason, and I don’t have time for shit like that.

Had to end it with this…

Score – 8.2

A fun story with an amazing presentation, brought down slightly by a boring combat system and fumbling puzzles and controls.

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