South Park Studios and Obsidian Entertainment’s “South Park: The Stick of Truth” is riotously funny and surprisingly fun to play.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Your family has just moved to the sleepy mountain town of South Park, Co. After choosing the look and initial outfit for your character, you set about trying to make as many Facebook friends as possible. Soon however, you’re roped into a LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) game the likes of which the world has never seen.
The humans and the drow are at war; whoever holds the Stick of Truth controls the universe. What begins as an innocent enough game of make-believe soon spreads beyond the borders of South Park. The new kid isn’t quite what he seems, and he’s more powerful than anyone could have imagined.
The story seems innocuous enough, but this is South Park. Those who are easily offended or don’t care for South Park’s brand of humor will want to avoid this game. There are no bleeped expletives here, and if you’re in the U.S., none of the potentially offensive scenes censored. One mini-game in particular, when done incorrectly, results in the violent and graphic “anal-probing” of one of the series main characters. Yep, it’s South Park.
Fans of turn based RPG style combat found in games like “Paper Mario” will be right at home with “The Stick of Truth.”
Well-timed button presses augment your melee and ranged attacks with additional damage. Special abilities have a chance to stun targets, inflict bleeding damage or gross out your enemies.
See, the new kid has quite the intestinal talent, and can combine his attacks, or attack directly, with his farts. Mana potions in the form of spicy hot wings or chipotle burritos give you the power to unleash an unholy blast of intestinal distress.
Completed quests and defeated enemies will reward you with all-important experience.
Once leveled up, you are given an upgrade point to assign into one of your five abilities, increasing its damage, or adding a modifier. Though not overly complex, it will take some time to completely upgrade everything; the final upgrade is not made available until Level 14.
Before you set off on your awesome quest to become cool, you’ll need to pick your class. RPG staples like the melee-focused warrior, the magic casting mage and the sneaky, back-stabbing thief are present. The Jew class, my personal favorite, has attacks like “The Sling of David” and “Jew-jitsu.” While the humor is obviously designed to poke fun at the Jewish faith, it never feels like it goes too far, as South Park often does.
You’ll want to talk to anyone and everyone in South Park in an attempt to make them your Facebook friend.
Friend requests give you the opportunity to unlock perks that can expand your maximum health, increase your damage dealt or add bonuses to consumed potions.
The town of South Park is free for you to explore in its entirety, and full of every reference you could possibly expect from the irreverent series. Cartman’s Christian Rock band ‘Faith+1,’ Mecha-Streisand, the ‘Brad Pit Survival Gear Kit’ – it’s all in there. Most references are subtle collectibles that you wouldn’t even notice unless you took the time to read them.
The beauty of “The Stick of Truth” is in the way Obsidian Entertainment has so masterfully used every bit of the South Park license. No reference ever becomes tiresome, and no callback overstays its welcome.
It’s very rare indeed for a licensed game like “The Stick of Truth” to be as phenomenal as it is. Obsidian has nailed the look and feel of South Park. I would even go so far as to say it’s the best use of a license in video game history. But don’t just take my word for it. Put on your cardboard armor, your tin-foil hat, and grab a baseball bat; the Stick of Truth isn’t going to defend itself. Prepare for the largest LARPing battle the world has ever seen in “South Park: The Stick of Truth.”
Overall Score: 9.5/10