There are three items necessary in order to make a great video game, visuals, gameplay, and story/writing. As long as you have 2 of those the game is playable and as long as you don’t dip too low in the 3rd the game can be considered good. That being said, South Park: The Stick of Truth can be considered a good game. I really want to say that this is a great game, given that the story is hilarious, the writing is amazing, and it has almost every single South Park reference known to man, but some of the mechanics are lacking under the hood that seem to be easy flaws to fix. Why am I coming out about this right off the bat? Because I’m about to gush for a while about this game and I don’t want you to think this is a fan boy review. Needless to say, there are SPOILERS ahead.
You start the game as the new kid in town on a quest to make friends. You’re parents elude, under their breath, that there is a dark reason why you’re there but your character doesn’t remember why. The whole game circles around Facebook status’ and making new friends via Social Media. You immediately come across Butters outside, giving you your first friend, and he takes you to the Kingdom of Koopa Keep (routinely referred to as the KKK in the first part of the game) where Cartman is a Grand Wizard looking to recruit against the evil Elves, led by Kyle. The warring factions are fighting over The Stick of Truth, for he who holds The Stick of Truth controls the universe, and it’s not long before you are required to choose sides. Since Cartman is an asshole, I chose the side of the Elves.
The game goes through every South Park joke you can imagine, Al Gore and Man-Bear-Pig, Mr. Hanky and his family, Lemmiwinks, Underpants Gnomes, Tom’s Rhynoplasty, the list goes on and on. You would think that it would be overwhelming, but even if you haven’t watched South Park in years you’ll still get a kick out of the storyline and all of the references. The only reference that I think was missing is the first Zombie reference in the Series; rather than do the Worcestershire sauce and embalming fluid mixture to make “pinkeye” zombies, they went the Nazi-Zombie route. It was still funny but a really good Season 1 reference would have felt way more nostalgic. Along the way you also obtain summons of iconic characters including the Mr. Hanky, Mr. Slave, Jesus, and Mr. Kim (the City Wok owner). All require you to complete tasks for them but battling the Mongolian Horde for Mr. Kim was by far the funniest.
The battle system is a mixture of traditional turn based and timed button pressing; you can also modify almost any weapons and armor via the application of Stickers or “Strap-Ons” (you can even equip a sword and a ranged weapon at the same time). Over all it works and flows really well but for some reason the game had issues registering button presses sometimes, resulting in weak hits or misses. I thought that it might be just my controller, even though it’s a good new DS3 controller that I haven’t had problems with, until I read online that other people were experiencing the same issue. The missed buttons was annoying but not enough to detract too much from gameplay. The game auto-saved on a very regular basis, which came in handy when the button glitch caused me to die, but was a little annoying because it would tax the system and cause the graphics to stutter a bit. The audio would also stutter in and out every now and then, especially when Jimmy would do some of his Bard parts, which was a little infuriating. For a game that spent as much time in the oven as this did, I would expect it to not end up with as many glitches but oh well.
All-in-all the story and fan service completely make up for the glitches, if you’re a South Park fan; normal players may not be able to look past such glaring problems though. I would say that this is definitely worth the time it took for me the play through.
I found a special early ending to the game while going through the final tower. The US Govt has planted a SNUKE in Mr Slave’s anus and they need someone who the power to shrink their size AND perform an abortion. This is what happens if you run like hell.