'South Park: The Stick of Truth' - Bigger, Longer, And With More Turn-Based Combat

March 4, 2014

Who would have thought that South Park would survive for seventeen seasons? What's more, who would have thought that it would become a cultural touchstone? The assorted journeys of four, foul mouthed preteens has become one of the most important shows on television, and it finally has a video game to live up to its namesake. South Park: The Stick of Truth is an entirely new take on the storied franchise, letting players take on an RPG within the familiar town in Colorado that so many fans of the show have come to love. However, instead of putting you in the tiny boots of Kyle, Stan, Cartman, or Kenny, you play as the new kid, who gets caught up in a twisted tale that only the creators of South Park could tell.

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft

The Stick of Truth's developer, Obsidian Entertainment, has been pumping out games since 2004, when they left their first mark on the industry with Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Since then, they have had a string of other high profile releases that include Alpha Protocol, Fallout: New Vegas, and Dungeon Siege III. The Stick of Truth has been in their hands from the beginning, but its release was in jeopardy when its original publisher, THQ, went out of business. Fortunately, Ubisoft picked up the rights in 2013, and the game is finally making its way to market a little over a year later.

The Stick of Truth takes a new spin on the South Park formula by putting players in the role of a new kid that's just moved to the quiet, little, mountain town. As he makes new friends, he is absorbed into a game that all of the kids are playing, and he must help defend The Stick of Truth - an ordinary stick that controls the entire universe. This fantastical game that all of the children are involved in manages to spiral well out of control, in a very typical, over-the-top, South Park manner. Pulling inspiration from almost 250 episodes, there's a wealth of humor baked into everything you do throughout the game, and both fan favorite and obscure characters take a part in rounding out the world.

The gameplay for The Stick of Truth goes in a surprising direction: it's basically an old school style, turn-based RPG. Players can choose from four classes (Fighter, Mage, Thief, Jew), and then customize and upgrade their character as the game progresses. In order to save and defend The Stick of Truth, players will need to engage in turn-based combat with a wide variety of South Park baddies. As the new kid fights his way through gingers, homeless guys, and aliens (among a host of other people and things), he can team up with one member of the South Park gang at a time for a bit of support. As the player levels up, he can unlock new moves, weapons, and equipment that will help him along on his journey.

The Stick of Truth will only be letting players visit South Park on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The consoles' HD capabilities are actually what inspired Trey Parker and Matt Stone to want to release a major project like this, since it allowed them to create a world on par with that of the TV show. If you enjoy the main story, you should be on the look out for downloadable episodes that are planned as a timed exclusive for the Xbox 360 release.

For South Park fans, this game is a godsend. It's basically just one really, really long, interactive episode, on a scale never seen in a SP game before. While you might not get to play directly as any of the series' main characters, they're all along for the ride, and it feels like a natural fit. For folks that don't like turn-based RPGs, the gameplay can get a little bit slow, but it never feels monotonous, as there are always new foes to fight, or places to explore. It's a big game, with a lot to do, and a lot of ways to make players laugh. Ultimately, The Stick of Truth is right up there with Bigger, Longer, Uncut, "Imaginationland," and "A Song of Ass and Fire" as one of Kyle, Stan, Kenny, and Cartman's most epic adventures.