South Park: The Stick of Truth
“Whatever you do, never fart on someone’s balls” – Cartman
Many fans of the series have been waiting for a game that will fully engross the show, slap you in the face, laugh at you, throw feces at you and then slap you again. Thankfully, The Stick of Truth is that game. If you are a fan of the show then you will get some of the references and jokes that the game makes. If you are not a fan then you might scratch your head trying to figure out some things.
The main story behind this game is the battle between the Elves and the Humans. For whoever holds the Stick of Truth, has unlimited power. On the Elves side we have the Elf King himself, Kyle. The rest of the Elves team consist of Stan the warrior and Jimmy the Bard. The Humans are led by none other than The Grand Wizard, Cartman. The rest of his group contains Butters the Paladin, Craig the Thief, Token the Cleric, Clyde, Tweek and of course the fairest maiden in the land, Princess Kenny.
The character you play is not one from the series. Instead you are the “new kid” that just moved into town. After your parents force you out of the house to make new friends, you come across Butters. After helping Butters in the fight he is in, he takes you to see the Grand Wizard. This is where the story starts to unfold and gets presented to you. The game asks what your name is. No matter what you select, or put in, you ultimately end up the name, Douchebag. You are referred to this throughout the game. You also get to select what class you want play as. There are four altogether. Those are Warrior, Mage, Thief and Jew. I played through as Douchebag the Warrior.
There are many scenes in this game that may not sit well with some of the audience. For example, when you open up the front door to some of the houses in town you come across some obscene findings, a guy masturbating, another one having sex with a horse, a nude woman and so forth. While I thought all of the things you saw was hilarious, I can see where they might turn some people off. Those where the tame ones. There are many more that are more graphic but still hilarious at the same time. Those include, battling the Gnomes under your parents while they are having sex (avoiding your dad’s balls at the same time) and fighting through Mister Slaves Rectum (just imagine what is up there).
The graphic design of the game is exactly like the show. It would be very hard to notice the differences between a weekly episode and the game, if someone walked by. It was designed to be that way. The characters do their little bouncing when they walk and the Canadians have their floppy heads. Even the animals act the same way. The voice acting is exactly as you would hear on the show. Each character sounds just like they normally would. This is thanks to both Matt Stone and Trey Parker for doing all the work. Everything is true to form in the South Park way.
I wasn’t actually looking at this game in having a deep and robust battle system. I figured it would be very weak and problematic. I also figured it wouldn’t have a deep armor and weapon selection either. Boy was I wrong about this. The Stick of Truth is far from either of my predictions. The battle system is a typical turn based RPG game. When you are running through town, the outlaying forest, or Canada, you will come across enemies. Depending on who hits who first decides on who goes first. For example, when I ran across any of the group of Elves in town I always tried to hit them first. That gave me the first turn when the battle started. If they hit me first then the enemy would get the first turn. Once the battle started there are multiple things that you can do. You can use magic, items, physical attacks, range attacks or your special ability. Once your turn is done you can then control your sidekick and how they would attack. When it comes to the enemy’s turn, there isn’t that much to do. You can try and block their attacks at the right time. There will be a signal on the screen that flashes to let you know when to block. If done correctly, the game alerts you by a distinct sound. You will still how ever take damage, just not as much as a full attack. One of the deepest parts of the game is the massive amount of armor and weapons you can use. You can mix and match these as you please. On top of that, some of the items even have special bonuses you can add to them. These can range from increase health, additional damage (physical and magical) and armor.
During the course of the game you will unlock new abilities. These come in very useful. Not just during the battle segments but also during the main exploration as well. Some of these are required to knock down walls, chase away large groups of rats and catch things on fire. The in battle abilities can make some quick work out of your enemies. On my Warrior, I had one called Horn of Irritation. While the name is spot on when used (it sounded like an air horn going off) the effects it did made the battles so easy. What this did was debuffed the enemies while at the same time buffing your own group. A lot of times I would use that first, then do a physical attack taking out a single enemy or a group. On my sidekick’s turn I would use one of their abilities that attack everyone and that was it. Everyone once in a while I had to take a second turn. Most of the battles ended in one turn though. This was my one-two punch throughout most of the game. It even helped with some of the bosses.
During the progress of the game you will also acquire the ability to summon some special characters. These include Jesus, Mr. Kim, Mr. Hankey and Mr. Slave. Out of all these Mr. Slave was the most jaw dropping out of them. Not only as it powerful but that he did was astonishing.
While the game is a blast to play. There are some downsides to the game as well. The version that I played on was the PS3. Some of these may not reflect the other platforms the game was created for.
The first thing that I noticed during my game play was some audio problems. This didn’t directly affect the way the game played but it cause some of the cut scenes to not have any sound during the conversations. If I paused the game during a conversation and then unpaused it, the game would take a few seconds to catch up with the audio dialog before playing it. This caused some parts of the conversations not to be heard. With the subtitles on you can read what they were saying but not hear anything.
Another one of the problems that made me wonder a few times if the game froze was the loading of different sections of the town. If you left a certain part of the game and it had to load the next part, the game would slow down to a crawl and literally freeze up for a split second. If it was saving at the same time as loading it felt like the game froze. Once it was done everything worked just fine. The game never did freeze my console but it scared me quite a bit, numerous times.
One of the small problems the game has was the lack of party members. At any time during a battle you could switch out your side kick and replace them with another one in your party. Especially if your current member was low on health or PP (Power Points). You could bring in a fresh member that had full health and PP. This was a nice touch and helped to deepen the battle and strategy side. At times it would have been nice to have a third person available. Especially during those boss battles and the normal fights that included up to five enemies. Some of the battles felt a little overwhelming while others I could just power my way through.
Another small, I will say annoyance, was when you used one of your special summon characters. Once used you had to wait an entire day before they would become available again. The days in this game are long. It would have been better if they wasn’t available for like a hand full of battles then become available to you again as they rest up. This is just minor but I wanted to use my summons at a more frequent pace just for the comic value of it.
Over all The Stick of Truth is a fantastic game. Even after all of the delays the game had suffered it was well worth the wait. In total you will spend about 10 – 15 hours playing through it. During that time you will be laughing your ass off at the jokes and be shocked by some of the scenes. This game is a must own even if you are the slightest of fan from the series.