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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘The Stick of Truth’ aims to please

    Courtesy of Ubisoft Entertainment Fan favorite character, Butters, from the popular Comedy Central show South Park fights off a horde of rival enemy elves in Ubisoft’s newest title, South Park: The Stick of Truth. The game released on March 4, 2014.

    There’s no denying that the TV show “South Park” has been a huge success. Ever since its initial release in the summer of 1997, it has quickly become a household name because of its edgy, inappropriate content, and it has remained a staple for Comedy Central throughout the years. Just like every great blockbuster, the time has come for “South Park” to relinquish its identity as just a TV show and delve into the world of video games with “South Park: The Stick of Truth”. There is no shortage of content in “The Stick of Truth,” but does it work in a video game format while still being as fun as the show? Here’s the breakdown.

    The gameplay

    At its core, “South Park: The Stick of Truth” is a turn-based RPG much like “Pokémon” or “Final Fantasy.” The combat system is compiled in a way that doesn’t get too repetitive and keeps you on your toes. However, between each of the game’s four playable classes (Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew), not much is different save a few exclusive weapons and your base clothing. Your abilities vary from class to class, but ultimately these skills aren’t all that unique. I had more fun testing the different abilities of my teammates than I did using my own characters’ powers. But the sheer amount of weapon and armor customization possible within “The Stick of Truth” had me drooling from the start. I actually had a civilized, professional discussion with my roommate concerning whether or not I should use an electrified anal probe or flaming snowballs to try tackling the hobo behind Kenny’s house.

    The thing that’s so great about “The Stick of Truth” is that it never tries to be something it isn’t. It also doesn’t sacrifice gameplay for comedy. I’ll admit, some of the gags are overdone, and the fart jokes literally never stop — but I never forgot that I was ultimately playing a strategic RPG set in the world of everyone’s favorite fourth grade delinquents.

    The content

    Please, do not pick up this game if you are easily offended or in any way squeamish. Several gameplay sequences have been banned in the Australian, European, African and Middle Eastern versions of the game for content so crude it had me nervous laughing from the start. I simultaneously wanted to turn the volume down so my neighbors couldn’t hear the (sometimes literal) shit going down on my screen, but also wanted to turn it up just to catch every inserted reference. This really is the ultimate fan game. Getting to fight ManBearPig and finding the Sword of a Thousand Truths were real treats. Anyone who likes both “South Park” and RPGs should stop what they’re doing now and go buy “The Stick of Truth.” However, if anal probing, Nazi zombie fetuses and Canada aren’t your cup of tea: Bail, bail, bail.

    The problems

    As well done as the rest of the game is, “The Stick of Truth” is not without its flaws. The phone user interface — used for customizing your character and sorting through quests — was, at times, hard to use and cluttered. While the pseudo-Facebook integration was humorous, I literally had to un-friend Al Gore on Facebook because he wouldn’t shut up. Frame rate issues and archaic loading screens plagued my experience from start to finish even though the game was made with the exact same style of cutout animation as the show. You’d think that in a day and age where games like “The Last of Us, don’t need loading screens that 2D cutout animation wouldn’t either.

    But hey, it wasn’t all that bad. The real issue is the game’s lack of replay value and a missed opportunity for cooperative play. The only incentive to play through the campaign again is to get the story-specific trophies and achievements you missed the first time around. No joke is as funny the second time you hear it, and the same can be said about “The Stick of Truth.” Maybe jumping into an online party with friends would remedy the issue, but I suppose we’ll never know.

    The verdict

    “South Park: The Stick of Truth” aims to please. Sticking to its roots, the game is not only a sidesplitting spoof of video game culture, it’s also a gold mine of pop-culture references and nods to the show’s past. Never before have I used an armor-piercing dildo to slay my enemies alongside the Frog King while in another man’s colon — and I can’t say I’d like to ever do it again. But that’s what makes “South Park” what it is. Shock humor aside, this game was a blast to play. Ignoring buffering issues and a lack of in-depth, class-specific customization, “The Stick of Truth” is a well-made RPG with an environment never before seen in the modern gaming world. However, don’t expect this to be your go-to game of the year. One or two play-throughs and even hardcore fans will be letting this gather dust at the back of their collections.

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