Price: £29.99 // $29.99
We’re Going Down to South Park
South Park: The Stick of Truth surprised many fans of the show when it was originally released back in 2014. South Park games up until that point had been a mixed bag in terms of quality. 1998’s self-titled game debut was a wacky first-person shooter that wasn’t well received critically. South Park Rally was released in 2000 and was a Mario Kart-esqe racing game where you could race as various characters with the tracks based on locations from the show. It didn’t get great reviews, and nor did Chef’s Luv Shack, a multiplayer party game filled with mini-games and trivia questions. Things improved with South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! for Xbox Live Arcade in 2009. Solid gameplay based on the tower defence formula combined with the crude humour of South Park came together to prove that a South Park licence game could be done well. However its follow up, South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge, returned the series back to mediocrity as the platformer failed to inspire fans with its problematic gameplay.
2014’s The Stick of Truth was the game South Park fans had been patiently waiting for. Although South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! was a good game, it was only a tower defense game. I love this style of game but many gamers would class this as a casual gaming title and not the type of game fans were longing for. The Stick of Truth was critically acclaimed and following the success of its sequel, The Fractured But Whole, its been re-released on the Nintendo Switch eShop for players who may have missed out the first time or like the idea of being able to play it anywhere.
A Hilariously Fun RPG
The children of South Park have immersed themselves into the world of a Dungeons and Dragons style fantasy role playing game. You take the role as the ‘New Kid’ who’s just moved into South Park. You are able to customise the appearance of your character and can call them whatever you want, although Cartman will always know you as ‘douchebag’ so it doesn’t matter what name you choose. Your parents tell you to go out and make some friends and that’s when you find Butters being attacked by a kid dressed as an elf. After saving Butters he takes you to the human leader who just so happens to be Eric Cartman. The elves and humans have been raging war against each other and the new kid is recruited to help in the quest to retrieve the Stick of Truth that has been stolen by the elves, led by the High Jew Elf Kyle. As it’s South Park the story spirals into hilarious absurdity. Just what you’d expect as it was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
There are four classes to choose from each with their own attack moves and special abilities: Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew. In true RPG style you can level up your player to make them more powerful in whichever way suits your play style. Battles are turn-based and have just enough depth to make you strategise your attacks but simple enough for more casual players who are unfamiliar with the RPG genre. Combat comprises of melee, ranged and special abilities. To succeed in battle you have to pay attention to the battlefield. For example, in order to inflict the highest amount of damage possible you have to time button presses when prompted to. You can’t sit back when it’s the other opponent’s turn either, as you can deflect their attacks and reduce the damage you sustain by well timed button presses. It’s also important to note any status effects the opponents have. There were occasions where my choice of attack failed because they were able to deflect it from their defensive stance. My fault for not paying attention!
The Stick of Truth feels like you’re playing through an episode of South Park. Everything from the 2D animation, the original voice actors, the crude one-liners, the accuracy of locations seen in the TV show, and easter eggs littered throughout the town, all come together perfectly to make it must play for any South Park fan.
Another Successful Switch Port
Originally I played this game on the PC when it was first released in 2014. I thought it was a great game then and when I heard it was being re-released on the Nintendo Switch I wondered how it would play on a handheld console. I’m pleased to say the game runs seamlessly as loading times are negligible and the controls are mapped well to the joy cons. I’ve been predominantly playing in handheld mode and it’s been great to pick up and play when I want. The bugs that plagued the original release have all been rectified so if you were put off from playing it originally and have a Nintendo Switch now is a great time to experience the Stick of Truth. At just under 5.5gb it won’t take up that much space on your microSD card either.
The one issue I do have with the game is retail price on the eShop. At £29.99 / $29.99 (at time of writing) it’s on the expensive side, especially considering it’s a port of a game originally released four years ago in the Xbox 360/PS3 era of consoles. Ubisoft gave away a free copy of The Stick of Truth to gamers who purchased The Fractured But Whole when it was released last year as a limited time offer. It’s a great shame that Switch owners missed out on this opportunity. There’s not even an option to purchase one game at a discounted price if you own the other. Maybe in time, the game will drop in price or there will be a discount available for loyal fans. We will have to keep our fingers crossed.
The review key and assets for this game were provided by Ubisoft UK.