I’m not ashamed to admit that I find South Park hilarious. Below the juvenile exterior of a crass, poorly animated cartoon lies a razor sharp satire which almost never fails to entertain. Week in, week out, the creators consistently manage to trivialise current events and expose modern culture for the inane joke that it is. I’ve been watching this show since before I was old enough to even understand why it’s funny – so the fact that it now has a game (that isn’t a blatant cash-in) is big news for me.
Let’s just skip over the whole “licensed games always suck” routine and get to the nitty-gritty; is The Stick of Truth good? Honestly, the answer to this question relies heavily on your answer to the question; is South Park good?
Fans of the show will no doubt love this game, but from a technical standpoint, it’s nothing to shout home about. The combat system is basic and lacks depth; the over-world is small and disjointed; the menus are clunky and unintuitive. The game is also very poorly balanced, making it far too easy, even on the hardest difficulty. Without the South Park name, this would be a very sub-par RPG indeed.
However, it’s the name that makes this game. The creators have managed to capture the feel of the show perfectly – the animation, the voice acting, the writing, the depravity; everything is on par with the show. The game is chock-full of self-referential humour, which is bound to get some big laughs from the long-term viewers, and although some of the jokes are tired, the game had me smiling throughout.
Unsurprisingly, the game is censored here in Europe – although the censoring seemed bizarrely arbitrary, given some of the content that was not censored. For example, they have censored a scene in which Randy gets probed by a dildo, yet left in an entire level where you shrink down to size and crawl inside Mr Slave’s anus. I don’t know what the criteria for censorship was, but I’m not entirely sure they had their priorities straight.
The Stick of Truth is a fun little fantasy RPG that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and really shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you are a fan of South Park, this game could really not come any higher recommended – it really is a must buy (Like, seriously – go and buy it right now.) If you are indifferent to the show, or you are looking for a deep and expansive RPG like Fallout, you should definitely, definitely look elsewhere. As it stands, The Stick of Truth is a short, shallow RPG with little replay value. However, despite it’s shortcomings, it’s wildly entertaining if you take it for what it is; a goofy game for the fans… that has a fantastic soundtrack.
8/10 if you are a South Park fan.
4/10 if not.