We previewed Ubisoft’s South Park: The Stick of Truth a little earlier this year, and we loved what we saw. The game managed to perfectly recreate the tone and feel of the show, while managing to provide an awesome turn-based arcade experience. The game was shown again at this year’s EB Games Expo, but taken from a different point in the story. With that in mind, I decided to check it out and see if the game is living up to the fans’ lofty expectations.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is a love letter to the franchise. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have their fingers well and truly in the pie that is Stick of Truth, and it shines through brilliantly. Not only does the game LOOK like an episode of South Park, but it feels and even sounds like an episode. All of your favourite characters and their respective voices are back, and add a real authenticity to the game. Storyline-wise, the you fill the role of a new kid in the town, who has happened to arrive in the midst of the latest craze-gone-wild; LARPing. The LARPing storyline also pulls double duty in explaining the game’s RPG elements in a way that makes them a part of the story.
The game plays like a traditional turn-based RPG. You control the “New Kid,” and engage in a series of battles against other kids (there are other enemy types, but only kids were present in the demo). Using traditional RPG mechanics, you select your weapons and do battle, timing your hits for maximum damage. The best comparison to a modern game that I can think of would be the Paper Mario franchise. Timing your hits perfectly deals more damage, and blocking and deflecting are also time based, and keep you on your toes throughout the battle.
During the brief demo, I got to see a variety of different weapons in action. Things like the Vibro-blade (actually a vibrator), the “Staff of Major Boobage,” and the F***ing Ninja Stars all acted very differently to one another, and required different skills and timing to use effectively. This variety in the combat speaks favourably to the game, and should hopefully result in an experience that avoids repetition (which is a common problem in turn-based RPGs). Outside of battle, you have access to small spells to help you traverse the over-world, get to new areas, and even sneak up on enemies. It is surprising how well all of the elements in South Park work together in the RPG setting.
The demo I saw at the expo was quite brief, but from what I saw, combined with our previous experiences leads me to believe that this will be a solid entry for South Park fans and RPG gamers. South Park: The Stick of Truth will be hitting store shelves on December 12th on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, and fans of the series really shouldn’t miss this one. For all the South Park news as it becomes available, be sure to stay tuned to Capsule Computers.