Monday, April 7, 2014

South Park: The Stick of Truth Xbox 360 Review

After a mountain of delays, a near chance of the game being cancelled with the demise of THQ, The Stick of Truth is finally here. The question remains, should you accept this quest or should you move on to brighter things?

Playing South Park: The Stick of Truth, requires quite a bit of knowledge of the show to get every little inside joke, but it's not necessary. This is South Parks Arkham Asylum, it is the redemption of every terrible game that came from the franchise prior. It is amazingly in depth, incredibly funny, and sometimes even over the top disgusting. But you will have a smile on your face for the entire adventure. The graphics are on par with the show, it looks, feels, and sounds exactly like South Park should and that is awesome. It's amazing how relevant everything in the game is, and that you never become tired of the story ark or interacting with the residents of South Park, after over 10 hours of game time.

Every inch of South Park is open for you to explore, and it is a treasure trove of throwbacks to old episodes. Opening up closet's became an obsession because they were filled with treasures seen in old episodes. Every piece of loot also relates back to the show, the level of detail in the game is a testament to how much care went into making it a fantastic representation of South Park and it's lore.
The game plays like any traditional RPG, you gain levels by completing tasks and winning in battle, you can unlock fast travel stations, buy and sell your equipment, and the game even has a catagory in your inventory for junk to make selling it off easier. Side Quests are rewarding and interesting as the NPC's who give them to you. Gaining friends on Facebook offers up perks, the more friends, the more perks you will unlock, and you can find and buy upgrades for your armor and weapons. The game is extremely well rounded in this respect, the world is carefully crafted, and the rewards feel like carry a lot of weight in the battles ahead.

The combat is centered around a turn-based mechanics, you will for the most part always have a buddy, if you get the first hit prior to combat beginning you will get first hit, followed by your buddy, and then each of your enemies. You can use one potion or summons, then one melee, ranged, or ability attack per turn. Once you get used to the combat it becomes incredibly easy, if you apply the right perks, and weapon and equipment add-on's you pretty much become invincible. Which is a big problem the game faces, the combat becomes overly repetitive and like stated before you will seldom be challenged once you get some of the better abilities and add-ons. The game also features a ton of quick time events, which are absolutely horrible. I jammed down on my A button as fast as I could and failed over and over, only to have my brother do the same thing and succeed every time. sometimes when attempting to block even if you hit the correct button at the exact moment you are supposed to it's as if the game doesn't register that you did it. This also happened a lot when trying to pull off special attacks, it's annoying but could easily be patched. You are restricted to 4 classes all equipped with their own special abilites. The Fighter with the awesome Roshambo ability, the Mage whom I didn't play, The Thief who comes equipped with Backstab like most RPG's, and finally the Jew who later in the game and call in the Plagues of Egypt. Outside of abilities they really don't differ all that much, and you can wear any piece of armor, and use every weapon in the game regardless of class.

The story centers around you being the new kid in South Park, and as you make friends you are drawn into the usual over blown kids game gone awry. The writing, voice acting, and characters are all top notch. It really does feel like playing a 10+ hour episode of South Park, one would think that might become incredibly annoying but it never does, the humor is spot on and really drives you to want to know what happens next all the way up to the ridiculous final minutes of the game. Your character never speaks something Trey Parker says they did because he always hated having people in games talk for him, because they would always say things he would never say. Wether you are dealing with Al Gore, fighting Mongolians, or exploring the 8-bit landscapes of Canada the game is what every South Park fan has been waiting for. Add in all the awesome jabs at gaming itself and the game is a perfect storm.

After it all South Park: The Stick of Truth is a fantastic romp through the snowy mountain town so many of us love. It's relevant, irreverent, offensive, and awesome. Unfortunately once you complete the game there isn't a whole lot of a reason to go back to it, I did two runs once as a Fighter gaining most of the hilarious achievements, and a second as the Jew class which helped me mop up the game and give me 100% of achievements. I bought the game day 1 and finished it completely the following weekend. Hopefully there will be more DLC otherwise the time you get in South Park will be limited to at the most 4 runs, if you wanted to try out all the different classes, and at that point the combat will probably wear so thin on your nerves you probably won't even make it through all 4 runs. So with the repetitive combat, once it's over it's over gameplay, and annoying quick time events I give the game an 8.5 out of 10. I really hope there is DLC, because I would love to revisit the wonderful world of South Park, but it would have to be new material to get me to do it.