Based on the highly successful animated adult series by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park: The Stick Of Truth is an ambitious 2D role-playing-game. With the show's creators writing and overseeing the entire production, this is essentially it's own series of the show.
We catch up with Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny playing an imagination-fuelled fantasy adventure, feuding with a rival gang of "elves". You play the new kid in town, tasked with retrieving the powerful Stick Of Truth.
You must first create a unique look for your character. You could opt for a spray tan, Afro with comb poking out, clothes in the colour of your choosing, followed by perhaps a black eye, freckles or scar and glasses. Perfect. As you progress, additional costume pieces can be found or purchased, with a variety of buffs that can be patched onto them.
When the game begins, it still looks and feels exactly like an episode of the TV show. In fact, when you finally start moving your character, you may be surprised just how authentic it really is.
Your first task is to find some new friends to play with in the mountain town. Some can be made simply by interacting with them, but others require you to go on sub-quests in order to gain their friendship. Mr Slave, for example, needs his sex toy back! As your social network grows, you will unlock additional perks that help you in combat.
Like any good RPG, you can keep any unneeded items from your inventory in a toy chest. Exploring the environment will uncover random household objects, iconic ones featured on previous shows or even money. Be sure to interact with everything possible too. Successfully completing the toilet mini-game, for example, will reward you with something special to throw at the enemy.
As concurrent missions mount up, you can access your Quest Log via the D-Pad. This lists any active and completed objectives. You can also view and equip items from your inventory, see any friends that you've made and check out the map of South Park.
When you first arrive at Kupa Keep (aka Cartman's garden), you will be presented with four character classes to pick from. The fighter is good at melee combat, the Mage specialises in magic, the Thief is sneaky and the Jew ensures that Cartman won't like you. Each provides unique moves to use in battle, adding replayability to the game.
Like transitional RPGs, combat is turn-based. To add an extra element of skill, triggering an attack at the right moment will cause additional damage. Using power points, you can also unleash special attacks such as assault and battery with a baseball bat. You also need to take note of your enemies stance. Melee attacks and ranged attacks can be ineffective if properly blocked. While on the defensive, it's also possible to counter-attack if correctly timed. Potions can be used to cure, heal and revive characters in your party. Eventually you may earn a powerful summon attack which replenishes once a day. As your abilities grow, you will also learn powerful fart magic. Making your enemies nauseous, as well as being dangerous around a naked flame, it is an explosive addition to your arsenal
As this epic adventure for a stick unfolds (mostly in the kids minds), the adults of South Park just see them as playing dress up. Humouring them, they get them to do menial side quests such as clearing rats out of the basement of Skeeter's Bar And Cocktails. Doing so will reward you with bar darts, a handy ranged weapon to use in combat. Visit the church and the Priest will tell you to find Jesus. But he literally means it as the Messiah is somewhere in South Park! Stop by the City Wok Store for a snack and you may end up trying to rid the mountain town of Mongolians.
From Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo to the Underpants Gnomes, many characters make an appearance, often sending you on a wild adventure of their own. While we won't spoil what happens, the quest involving Canada is brilliantly creative. Once you've completed the game, trophy hunters can go back to find the remaining hidden items.
The only real disappointment is that the 18-rated game's publisher Ubisoft (not the ratings board) elected to self-censor certain scenes (including one with an anal probe). Trey Parker and Matt Stone even spoke out against the decision. To let players know what they are missing, the scenes in question are replaced with text depicting exactly what has been cut. For a show that has always been on the cutting edge of adult humour, this seems like a misunderstanding of its fan base in order to avoid potential controversy.
It's also worth noting that if you don't enjoy the TV series, then the game is unlikely to win you over. For everyone else though, South Park: The Stick Of Truth is one is the funniest games ever created and a damn fine RPG too. It's also possibly the most authentic Videogame adaptation of all time. Blurring the lines between an extended episode and interactive entertainment, you really do feel like a character on the show.
South Park: The Stick Of Truth is hilarious from start to finish and an absolute must-play for fans of the show. Just don't fart on a man's balls. They are super cereal about that!
Review by: Sarah O'Connell
Review Date: 16th March 2014
South Park: The Stick Of Truth
Rating out of 5: