It’s loud, crude and unapologetic - this week I have been playing South Park: The Stick of Truth.
This is the part where I usually introduce a bit of background to what I’ve been playing or reading but, quite frankly, if you’ve never heard of South Park then where have you been?
Despite the show’s success and its continued television presence after 18 years, it is quite surprising that the series has only ever had two video games.
The original, simply titled South Park, was a 3D platformer on the Nintendo 64 which came out way back in 1998. While that was a first-person game where you took control of one of the four main characters moving through a 3D level, Stick of Truth is completely 2D.
The first impression you’ll get is that it feels like you’re playing an interactive episode of the show. You create and control your own character “new kid” throughout the duration of the game.
If you’re disappointed that you can’t play as either Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman, don’t worry, they turn up pretty quickly and will follow you around to help in fights. You can only have one follower at a time but you change between characters to your heart’s content.
Arriving in South Park you join a fantasy games some of the kids are playing. Basically the two groups - humans and elves - are fighting over the Stick of Truth. Whoever controls it controls the universe - or so they say.
But what starts off as a harmless kids game quickly escalates into a much bigger adventure involving a UFO crash, Nazi zombies and every other story to have featured in the South Park TV series for the last several years. The game does well to cram all these plots together to come up with something new which keeps the story going. Also it is a great nostalgia trip.
A lot of the game is spent battling other opponents. Unlike the 1998 game again where you were free to attack as much as you wanted, Stick of Truth uses turn-based combat. Also you will have to constantly upgrade your weapons and armour as you progress.
This isn’t as straight forward as changing outfits as well - to get the absolute best out of what you’re using you will have to use add-ons to your weapons and armour. The effects and advantages they give you vary and can really change how fights go. This can be quite daunting to get used to at first but after a few hours you’ll start picking up what works and what doesn’t. Battles take a little practice to get a hang of as well but once you’ve cracked it it’s a lot of fun.
Stick of Truth is a bright, colourful game that stays true to its source content. It’s very funny and has lots to do but is one to avoid if you’re easily offended.
It gets 8/10.