Last-generation consoles may be sitting on the shelves now that the newbies of gaming machines have hit the scene, but those slowly outdating consoles haven’t been completely removed from the equation with the release of South Park: The Stick of Truth. Set in the world of South Park the familiar young faces of the town have decided to start their own fantasy world; kick, fart on and beat the life out of other local kids, adults and as the battle wages on. Those with a nervous disposition or who are easily offended should walk away right now.
Cartman and the rest of the gang have started up their own little fantasy world using objects in the environment and each other. The game uses RPG elements with battles ensuing as you move around the town and complete quests. At the beginning of the game, you must choose a class and name, with this being a South Park game you should expect some outrageous twists in even the simplest aspects of the game. Once settled into the new clan, you are introduced to your skills and the game’s basic mechanics.
For the most part, the controls are easy to grasp with an action wheel allowing you to choose what battle tactics and attacks to use. Once an attack is selected each button on the controller corresponds to which type of attack you wish to carry out; light, heavy and so on. As you progress further into the game you unlock new attack types and a various amount of new fighting techniques, all of which can be upgraded using points which you gain when leveling up.
You must use your available attacks wisely as they use PP (Power Points) or Mana (which can be restored using items you pick up) and you may find yourself in the heat of the battle without the next attack that you need to finish the Ginger Hall Monitor! You also have the ability to use an item such as a healing snack or potion once per turn should you need to, you can also attack an enemy in the same turn, but don’t waste all those cookies and Cheesy Poofs in one go.
As you fight you do have the option the block causing less damage from enemies and also allowing you to sometimes fight back with an attack of your own should you deflect attacks successfully and perfectly. A small circular shield appears around your character’s feet showing you when the perfect time to deflect is, do so and you’ll be kicking ass in no time. I did find that sometimes these blocking cues can be easy to miss, whether that’s due to irregular patterns or because of the level environment, i.e. debris near your feet.
If you’re a huge fan of South Park then you will be happy with the world that has been created, nothing has been left out and it does feel as though you’re taking part of the show. From character voices, the script, general movements, the environments and those naughty little extras which you’ll find hidden away. The great thing about The Stick of Truth is that you always want more and luckily there are a handful of side quests to keep you active.
For the first hour of the game, I found myself dropping by the neighbor’s houses and viewing the local scenery, it truly is astonishing how much work has been put into this title. Anything with golden handles or a twinkle (for example ladder latches) can be interacted with. Finding these new spots can sometimes result in finding some epic loot which you can keep to use yourself or sell on for some extra cents in your pocket. This brings me to buying and selling. As you travel around the town and defeat foes you will pick up an abundance of loot – it’s inevitable. This loot can be used on your character should it be an equipable item or it can be sold on. Generally, I found that I didn’t have to buy much in the potions or healing section, enemies would often drop their supplies ready for me to pick up. It is worth noting that items you equip can also be charged with a boost in increase defense and damage amongst others.
One huge disappointment for me was the loading screens, the game seemed to be ruled by them and you will let out a sigh of relief when you manage to enter a new area of the town without some kind of wait. This is far from being a major flaw, though it is disappointing and especially when many new games keep loading times to a minimum.