Gaming: South Park - The Stick of Truth

Damn it kitty!!! Our review is late. So #@!%$ what!!!

Every gamer has known the bitter disappointment of buying a terrible video game based on a popular movie or TV show. The majority of the time, developers just slap together a crappy cash grab and put in zero effort to actually make the game GOOD. South Park: The Stick of Truth bucks this trend and sets the bar incredibly high for future licensed games. It is by far the best licensed game I have ever played and blows every other game like it out of the water. The care and love put into this game is apparent within the first five minutes of game play and continues all the way up to the end.
"We are the New Village People!"
South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were involved with every step of the game’s development, going as far to provide the initial funding for the game to keep it from being censored by the studios. They ended up partnering with Obsidian, makers of the highly acclaimed Fallout: New Vegas, which ended up being the perfect choice for an RPG. This game ended up having an unusually long development cycle with some snags along the way (Particularly when THQ, the game’s publisher, declared bankruptcy while the game was still being developed). But it paid off in the end with the release of an outstanding game.
As most fans know, South Park has a cartoon cut-out look and limited animation, and the graphics in The Stick of Truth are absolutely spot on. It looks exactly like you are watching an episode of the show, down to the herky-jerky way the characters move. You can also explore a recreation of the entire town of South Park, and all the locals from the show are faithfully reproduced. There are plenty of cut-scenes interspersed throughout the game, which add up to the length of a full length feature film. The writing is on par with the television show and is absolutely hilarious, not to mention foul and offensive. Nothing has been toned down for the game and all of the fart jokes, sex jokes and politically incorrect subject matters have been kept intact. I can safely say this is the funniest game I have ever seen and much of the humor is clever and subversive.
Oddly enough, the RPG genre is a perfect fit for the South Park universe. You can craft your own character (only a male though) and pick from four starting classes: Fighter, Thief, Mage, and... Jew. Dammit, Cartman! The classes don’t affect your starting stats too much, they really only change your character’s special attacks. The battle system is turned-based, with tried and true Paper Mario style timing-based attack and defense. It’s a little bare-boned, but it never gets too repetitive or boring.  There is some limited weapon and armor customization via “patches” and “strap-ons,” and you can even change the color of your various armors with special dyes. All of the pieces of equipment in the game look unique and change the outward appearance of your character.
Unfortunately, the menu system is the one flaw marring this game. The look of it is great; it’s your character’s Facebook page and you can add friends and get messages just like the real thing. The problem is that there is a 1-2 second delay every time you open it, and also when you move from tab to tab. Since this is an RPG, you access your menu very frequently and it becomes very frustrating to use. The game also suffers from frequent loading screens and occasional lag when going from area to area. It’s not super detrimental to the game play, but since this game isn’t graphically intense, it’s puzzling as to why it exists. I also encountered a game-breaking bug toward the end of the game, but luckily I had a prior save that I reverted to, and the problem was fixed. I recommend you keep several saves, and save often, as other bugs have been reported.
"Did someone say Village People?"
What I really love about this game is the attention to detail and all the inside jokes for fans of the show. As an example, healing potions in this game are snack foods like cookies or bags of chips. When most characters use them, they eat one handful and gain some HP back. Cartman, because he is a fat ass, always eats two handfuls and recovers twice the HP. Little things like that elevate this game to more than a mediocre licensed game and make it something really special. All of the well-loved characters make an appearance and you get to party up with the likes of Butters and Kenny. All of other townsfolk make cameo appearances, even if it only for a brief second. The soundtrack is excellent as well; Some of the music is actually quite beautiful and it has a symphonic feel fitting for an epic RPG.

If you are a fan of South Park, you owe it to yourself to play this game. You're esentially controlling a fifteen hour long episode of the show.  It is pretty short for an RPG, however, and has next to no replay value unless you are looking to get all of the Achievements or Trophies. You might want to wait for it to go on sale or pick it up used, as the full price is a little steep for how much gameplay you get. Aside from a few technical issues, the content is of the utmost quality, and I commend developers Obsidian, Matt Stone, and Trey Parker for crafting such an excellent game.

-Michelle Kisner