I’m back again with another game review post. Well, not a review, since I’ve not finished it and couldn’t tell you if it sucked or not, but it’s an overview and my impressions.
I love those old turn-based RPGs, and I have plenty of memories of playing Final Fantasy IV and Golden Sun on the old Gameboy systems. I also love South Park, so a couple of years ago, I was thrilled to find out that The Stick of Truth was being made, though with my owning so many games that I’ve not gotten around to playing them all. I haven’t really gotten around to this one until recently, and I really enjoy this one and want to share my impressions of it. And, I know South Park is a game that’s totally inappropriate for younger audiences and the workplace, but this post is safe for work, as are the screenshots that I took of my gameplay to supplement it.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is a roleplaying game released in 2014 by Obsidian Entertainment and set in the town of South Park, Colorado where the “New Kid” – the player – moves into town as the boys are out playing a fantasy game in their back yards and around town. The boys are rallied under the Wizard-King Cartman to defend the “Stick of Truth”, a random stick from the yard that, for the purpose of the kids’ imagination, can control the world and needs to be defended from the evil elves who would try to steal it, and of course they do, meaning the kids have to embark on a quest to retrieve the stick and bring balance to the world again.
Along the way, there’s a lot to do in this open world that faithfully replicates the style of the South Park shows from working to retrieve the Stick to doing random quests to explore the world, and finding collectibles, with the new kid playing a significant role in the conflict that comes.
The characters themselves are dressed like they were in their fantasy games on the show, like the Lord of the Rings episode and on the Black Friday Game of Thrones trilogy, and the player character is customizable with numerous things that have been adapted to suit the kids’ imaginations, while being vaguely related to the role that character plays.
As you can see in the above image, this is my character Damon standing with Cartman. I’m a mage, so to look kinda mage-ish, I have a bathrobe and a headband to go with my big “-2 Charisma” glasses that I have because I wear them in real life. Like any other roleplaying game, there are three classes – Warrior, Mage, Rogue – that each have their own skillsets and can be improved with XP that comes from combat and exploration.
This is an overview of the inventory screen, and the player has numerous ways of customizing the character, with different melee, ranged, and magical weapons to use, different apparel options that can be worn for different benefits to the character, and there are even wigs and cosmetic items, ranging from different styles of male and female wigs that the school kids would have, tonsures, friar’s caps, surfer and Jesus beards, the “chin-balls” from that one episode where Cartman glued prosthetic testicles to Butters’ face to get him on Maury and other novel things like that.
Speaking of the chin-balls, this game is littered with references back to the series, with things like collectible Chinpokomon, the Christian rock band CD the boys made, Token’s bass, the AWESOM-O cardboard robot suit, and in Cartman’s closet I saw the bear mace and tool belt from his Dog the Bounty Hunter episode, there’s a board near the town church with “Who is the Coon?” and “Mantiquilla” posters and other references to the show, to name a handful of items. There’s so much there that it’s gotten to where half of the fun is trying to locate and identify things that existed in older episodes.
The world is open for exploration, with major locations from the series like the kids’ homes, the gun store, Tweak Coffee, the church, mall, school, etc being available to explore and interact with, though some are initially inaccessible for quest purposes. Even if things don’t have a function, it’s still fun to just check them out. For instance, it’s easy to come across a humorous conversation or, as I found out when I was irresponsibly playing this around my younger siblings and just exploring the streets, you can accidentally open a door to some dude’s house only to see him… self-pleasuring before he yells and slams the door in your face as a quick “WTF” moment to laugh at.
On this shot of the map, for instance, I’m standing on the sidewalk near the mall parking lot, which is not available for me to go to at present, and to the right is Token’s house, the town is in the middle row, and the red house is mine, with Butters and Cartman to the right and a few others to the left. And, the map is scrollable with a lot more to see and do.
This fake Facebook thing is cool too. You get XP towards leveling up and some perks by making friends on Facebook, and it provides random chatter from the characters to chuckle at, as well as some hints, like when the mall security guard who’s now watching Token’s gate pepper-sprayed me to deny me access and I was prompted by Jimbo to get a gas mask from him at the gun store to gain access.
Combat is, like I said, turn-based like an old-school RPG, with numerous combat abilities, magical abilities that take “power points”, and there are a lot of items that can serve as consumables, like chips and sugar packets as some of the ways to restore health, water bottles to remove status effects, the revival potion (a hard-shell taco), and offensive items like turds and more.
You, your allies, and enemies have various strengths and weaknesses to specific actions, so similar to other RPGs you have to experiment a bit to realize with attacks are more or less effective against a given enemy, giving a little bit of strategy to what is an otherwise easy combat system.
Butters is a standard “Paladin” with combat and magic abilities related to the class, such as a healing touch where he pats your back and says to cheer up, a small hammer from his father’s garage that serves as his holy weapon, and so on and so forth. There are more accessible characters, though I personally haven’t gotten far enough to unlock more, so it’s just me and him as my initial starting partner for our first quests.
As I mage I have a melee and ranged weapon, as well as my magical abilities, which are currently a fire attack where I light and shoot a Roman candle at my enemies, (we all know kids shooting fireworks at each other is both fun and safe, right?) and I have another ability where I throw what I assume is pocket sand at someone and then I rush up to pop them in the face when they are rubbing their eyes to stun them for a turn, both of which cost some of my PP to use.
I can’t give a proper rating on this like a game I’d have beaten or gotten mostly through, but I can say that so far it’s a pretty fun game that’s littered with references to the show that a big fan like me will enjoy, and it’s got gameplay very reminiscent of old school role-playing games that a classic RPG gamer like myself can find pleasure in.
I’m really enjoying this one, and I can’t wait to finish it and see what happens later on in it.