Review: South Park: The Stick of Truth

There is nothing like a small mountain town. They are peaceful, out of the way locals that are great for raising a family where nothing much really happens. Unless you happen to be in South Park, CO. Here anything goes and may be considered normal. So it may be a little odd to move to this supposedly peaceful town. And if you are a kid, well good luck.

Welcome to South Park

Greetings new kid, your family has just moved you to the town of South Park, CO to start over. Why do they need to start over? Hell if you know, they are all secretive about it, and you seem to have forgotten. Either that or the fact that you never talk makes for a good way to hide if you remember or not. But now you are mostly unpacked and your dad has given you one task, make some friends. And thus starts the main quest, to make as many friends as possible. This monumental task is gauged by a system very similar to Facebook. The first friend you make is Butters, probably not your best choice, but he gets you in with the other kids. Butters introduces you to a grand battle between elves and humans (of which he is a human paladin) and takes you to Kupa Keep. Here you meet the Grand Wizard (Cartman) and the Princess (Kenny). Cartman gives you a choice of which class you would like to play the game as. Your options are figher, mage (not as good as a wizard), rogue, and jew. Once you chose your class you pick your name, for all the good it does you. Once the preliminaries are over you are introduced to the combat system (more on that later) and then defeat an army of invading elves who wish to steal the Stick of Truth, and apparently succeed thanks to that useless Clyde.

Having proven yourself as a capable warrior the Grand Wizard sends you off to call on fellow humans. Here is where, for the first time since South Park was introduced in 1997, you get to explore a fully mapped out South Park. This is one of the best things about South Park: Stick of Truth, if it was in the show you will eventually find it in the game. Tweeks Coffee, check. Mr Hat, check (and you don’t want to know where he is hanging out). Anal probing aliens, double check. Yes it is all here and there are no punches pulled in the implementation, although a few countries did implement censoring. The point is that finding every little reference is part of joy of playing the game. They have even implemented the companies found in South Park, and some even provide functions in the game. Tom's Rhinoplasty allows you to get a nose job, the bank takes your money, and the abortion clinic, well that would be a spoiler. The point is everything is here, which also means the town is pretty decently sized. Fortunately there is the Timmy Express to get around quickly. Just approach a red flag and you can select another, already discovered, red flag to travel to.

Fully exploring the town does require a little time and story progression. Some areas require you to become very small (underpants gnomes). Other areas require you to have an alien probe up your anus. And then others you need to shoot shiny objects to access. The fact that accessing these areas depends on progression in the game keeps the town fresh for each of the three in game days you play it.


Combat typically starts (unless scripted) by either you hitting a foe with a melee weapon or them hitting you. This will determine who goes first. Attacking with a ranged weapon and then hit them one of the enemies will be stunned when the round starts. Heck you may even be able to to take out foes with the environment before combat even starts if you are good. Once combat starts you then enter a turned based system, that for some reason everyone follows; they even metagame that during the tutorial. Each round allows you to perform an action and an attack. The actions allow you to use items such as health potions (candy / power bars), mana (things that give you gas) and other such things. Coffee for example increases your speed and allows you to go twice in a row sometimes. Items also don't have to be used by the person whose turn it is. So snacks can be passed to the person that needs it most. Attacks are when you use your classes special abilities or equipped weapons. And while your attacks may have grand names, they are performed by mundane but accessible means. Funnel of Frost is performed with a fire extinguisher and Lighting Volt involves a bucket of water, a car battery, and jumper cables for example. Each type of attack has corresponding button combinations / timings to make the most of it. Normal attacks will give you a shiny flash to tell you to hit the attack button, Special attacks will each have their own thing that they tell you to do. Dragon’s breath (roman candle) has you mash a single button and each mash does damage; so the more the better. Once you get training you can even use mana (gas/farts) to cast spells or modify normal attacks to make them more powerful and gross out enemies.

Combat also, usually, a friend of your choice. By the time the game comes to a close you will be able to choose from Butters, Kenny, Jimmy, Kyle, Stan and Cartman. Each friend has a special ability that can be used in place of an item. Butters can heal you, Jimmy restores PP, and Stan has his dog attack the crotch of enemies for examples. As you level up your friends (who all gain XP equal to you regardless of who you actually have with you) eventually gain a super ability to use for an attack. Butters (ok, I used Butters a lot) turns into Professor Chaos, Kenny summons a Unicorn that impales him if you don't get the button combos, and Kyle summons a hail of arrows. Again these attacks can be made more powerful if you time the button presses right, but are always useful regardless. Even when they kill Kenny. This gives the game a bit more strategy and variety to combat.

Finally, in order to excel in combat, you have to keep the best cloths (armor), weapons, and strap ons (mods). Each piece has it's own bonuses and charm to your character. For a long time I carried a two handed staff that did a lot of damage that I modded to add fire a frost damage. No one seemed to care that it had a bunch of breasts on it.

Onward, To Glory!

Now that you have friends and equipment it is time to get on with the story. Your primary objective is to reclaim the Stick of Truth, but what you really want to do is make friends. This means while wandering the town on whatever primary mission you may be on you will talk to several people who need stuff done. Examples of this are the Mayor wanting the town to seem more compassionate by relocating all the homeless out, forcefully. Sometimes helping a person results in a summon and friendship, such as finding Jesus. I could go on and on here, but I won't. Instead I am going to wrap up this review by simply saying two things. One: go buy this game, it is worth your time and money. Two: can we see a second South Park game like this one using the boys superhero personas? Pretty please?

5 / 5 Joysticks