To yours truly, South Park is less a television
show… and more a grim weekly reminder that the late 1990s were a thing, and for whatever
reason, like the decade that spawned it… refuse to go the fuck away! I state this up-front
in the hope that you understand that I’m not judging this as an entry in the South Park…
‘franchise’… if that’s even a fucking thing… no, I’m judging this more as a turn-based
RPG and a comedy game. Within those fairly liberal criteria…? South Park: The Stick
of Truth is an eminently entertaining ‘Babys First RPG’. Like Final Fantasy VII, but with
all the dialogue bubble ellipses and weeping for dead chicks you met 15 minutes ago…
replaced with dick jokes and anti-semmitic snarkifyin’.
Combining – and lampooning – turn-based JRPG hallmarks that (much like South Park’s sense
of humor) haven’t been relevant since the ’90s, with a game engine that can best be
described as a television show simulator, for whatever faults the game may have, you
really have to doff hat at the motherfucker. Not least of which due to the fact that this
game is easily the most functional, least-buggy product Obsidian Entertainment has shipped
in its ever-lovin’ lifespan. That they had to release a game whose art style was literally
inspired by construction-paper fucking dolls to release their first semi-professional product…
is a kind of ‘pathetic’ we rarely see outside of Fur Affinity.
I find South Park to be about as funny as genocide, but even my jaded ass has to grudgingly
admit to cracking the odd smile here and there. Sadly, much like the show that spawned it
– The Stick of Truth also demonstrates a unique talent for driving one, not even accidentally
humorous joke far enough into the ground, that by the third act, it’s having a tea party
with fuckin’ Morlocks. If you thought the ‘gay fish / fish dicks’ saga was the most
gratingly unfunny nugget pinched from the briny buttocks of Trey Parker and Matt Stone…
you haven’t lived until you’ve endured the ‘Never fart on another man’s balls’ Chronicles.
That – despite this fact – I still came away thoroughly enjoying The Stick of Truth is
a testament to the competence of the people that created it. And you really have to pay
tribute to Ubisoft for actually being willing to publish a game this controversial. I mean,
this is the same Ubisoft that – 7 years removed from the only game in the series that was
actually set in the middle east – still runs a disclaimer before every Assassin’s Creed
game that roughly translates into ‘We swear to god, brown people actually worked on this
game’. So way to grow a fuckin’ dick. The game’s balance could also do with a chiropractic
adjustment or… seventeen. Because while the game can occasionally present a respectable
challenge, that entire premise does a handstand once you familiarize yourself with a heaping
helping of ‘Bleeding Damage’. Backstab a bitch, and be sure to stack that shit, and you may
as well just eject the disc and take up goddamn knitting, because the game completes itself.
The sidequests span a vast scale of variety… from ‘bitchwork’… to ‘short bitchwork’,
but since when are RPG sidequests not comprised of activity more commonly reserved for Ron
Jeremy’s fluffer? At least in these side quests, you can occasionally extract a few CCs of
humor, and generally the loot for accomplishing said quests is commensurate with the sporadic
spikes in difficulty. Where the game flounders, unfortunately, is
in replayability. With a tape measure-linear narrative featuring but one minor, player-driven
choice to make over the course of the outlandishly truncated campaign – and a complete absence
of class-specific gear and weaponry to differentiate a Mage from a Thief from a… class that only
Mel Gibson would name out loud – your reward for completing the game in rapid succession…
amounts to a half-hearted pat on the ass. Which is fine. Not all games can be multi-playthrough
extravaganzas, and if it took removing player choice… to get this to be the first Obsidian
game that – as a rule – actually goddamn functions… then Vaya Con fuckin’ DIOS, I say!
Really, the lack of demarkation between the classes is the worst offense. There’s literally
nothing stopping a Thief from rocking a sledgehammer or a Mage from mastering archery, which before
long turns into a raging case of Skyrim Syndrome. In short: If you can do anything in one playthrough…
why bother ever booting the game again? Would I recommend it? Fuck – to the – yeah,
I would! It’s not my kind of humor, but it’s clearly
lots of other peoples’ kind of humor, and those people are going to positively shit
themselves laughing. If you don’t dig South Park…? The worst-case scenario is that you
play a decent tribute to the beginner RPGs of yore. It’s Paper Mario with pussy jokes!
What’s not to like?! I’m RazörFist.
God – fuckin’ – SPEED!