Set in the world of South Park, The Stick of Truth follows the familiar young faces of the town who have decided to start their own fantasy world. Kick, fart and beat the living crap out of other kids and adults in order to retrieve the “stick of truth”. Those with a nervous disposition or who are easily offended should walk away right now.
Gameplay and Game Mechanics
The Stick of Truth uses simplistic RPG elements with mechanics that are intuitive and fun to use. At the start of the game, you choose from set classes to match your preferred playstyle: Fighter, Jew, Mage, and Theif. Each of these classes includes a different set of attacks, weapons and varying strengths and weaknesses.
Go On, Hit Him Douchebag
The gameplay is turn-based with the player and enemies taking turns to produce an attack. When an attack is selected, buttons then correspond to attack types; light, heavy and so on. As you progress further into the game you unlock new attack types and a varying amount of new fighting techniques, all of which can be upgraded using points gained when leveling up.
Carry out attacks methodically as they use a set amount of PP (Power Points) or Mana (which can be restored using items you pick up). You do not want to find yourself in the heat of the battle without enough PP for a next attack. If you do find yourself in this position, items such as healing snacks or mana potions can be consumed once per turn.
Enemy attacks can be blocked causing less damage and allowing you to deflect and produce a follow-up attack. A 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 found that these blocking cues relatively easy to miss at the start of the game. With only visual feedback, they are sometimes missable and especially when enemies attack multiple times. An audio cue or controller feedback would be helpful.
Jesus Christ, No Really…
There’s also the opportunity to unlock special attacks from certain characters. These attacks provide an incredible damage increase to most or all enemies facing you. The only downside is that these are a one time use per in-game day, so use them wisely. Completing side quests for characters such as Mr. Hanky, Jesus and Mr. Slave will unlock their special abilities.
Come on Down to South Park
If you’re a huge fan of South Park then you will be happy with the game world which has been created. I’m not an avid watcher of the show but have watched a handful of seasons and played various South Park games in the past and this game trumps them all. From character voices, scripts, 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 are left always wanting more and luckily there are a set amount of side quests to keep your hunger at bay.
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 many intricate details are included. Anything with golden handles or a twinkle, such as ladder latches, can be interacted with. Finding these new spots can sometimes result in finding some epic loot you can either equip or sell on for a few extra cents in your pocket.
Show Me Your Wares
Buying and selling is a major aspect of this game should you get low on healing or wish to increase your HP or attack amount. 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 many healing or mana items, enemies would drop their supplies often.
It is worth noting that items you equip can also be charged with a boost in increase defense and damage amongst others. It is worth checking your inventory once in a while to see what items you’ve acquired and how it can either buff your characters or buff your wallet.
Issues and Problems
During my two playthroughs, I rarely stumbled across any blatant issues or recurring problems. One disappointment is the loading times and the game seems to be ruled by them. Entering a new part of town always greets you with several moments of waiting. Whether this is due to the archaic architecture of the PS3 I’m not sure but not having played the current-gen version of the game I cannot comment any further.
Graphically the game runs smoothly with minor drops in frame rate here and there, usually when deciding to rush from location to location on my second playthrough.