South Park The Stick Of Truth First Impressions (Xbox 360)

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Note: This game is rated R18+, a rating which I think it has well and truly earned due to content of the explicit nature. If you are under 18, sensitive to references to poop or don’t want me to spoil anything please do not read this. But I know you will anyway because you’ve read this far already.

Today I was walking through the shops when I noticed the new South Park game on display at EB Games. I have heard a lot of hype about this game and I had half an hour to kill so I walked in and picked up the box. The description on the back was enough to get me interested in playing the game but I was still umm-ing and ahh-ing about whether it was worth $80. Then I spotted the ‘Grand Wizard Edition’ with the Cartman wizard figurine for an extra $30 and I was sold. I tend to be a sucker for those little collectibles/limited edition gimmicks. I’m really glad I was swayed by that little figurine because The Stick Of Truth is easily the best game I have played in a while, and I’m not even a huge South Park or RPG fan. I have just turned it off after around two hours of playing. It was incredibly hard to save the game and stop playing because it had me completely invested pretty much straight after the Lord Of The Rings themed opening sequence featuring a badass Gandalf-ian Cartman.

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Let me clarify when I say this is the best game I have played in a while. I don’t mean it has the best graphics or the biggest world to explore, I mean it is the most entertaining game I can remember playing for months. Which is what video games are supposed to do right? Entertain us, make us laugh? The Stick Of Truth had me giggling as soon as I had a go at the pooping mini game, right through to the hilarious dialogue from the supporting characters (which happen to be the main characters of the show). This hasn’t happened to me for a while. The last game I genuinely laughed at was Mount Your Friends, all the other games I have played in recent months have been extraordinary but not necessarily entertaining in the comedic sense. Titanfall had amazing graphics and a whole new style of FPS gameplay that will probably change what we’ve come to expect from shooters. Forza 5 had some of the best looking cars and the most realistic handling of any car game I’ve ever played on console. Neither of those games made me laugh though, they held my attention but not because I was waiting to unlock another facial hair option or special fart attack. I feel like this game will give everyone, South Park fan or not, a chance to lower their maturity levels a little bit and enjoy a great game.

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The game looks exactly like a South Park episode which makes you feel like you’re actually playing in the show. This is the first game that is based on a movie/show that I have ever played and it actually felt realistic. The fact that the creators took the time to make it feel authentic really helps you get into the storyline and actually interested in what is going on rather than feeling like you’re playing an episode that didn’t make it into the show *cough Futurama PS2 game cough*. It’s not all questionably racist character classes and farting though, there is actually a solid RPG underneath all that. It’s part turn based strategy, part RPG, and part awesome with some distinctive Lord Of The Rings and Skyrim themes. The town has been fully recreated for you to explore and it does seem like there’s to be a lot to explored. Given that I’ve only played for two hours and that this is a first impressions article I can’t say for sure but it doesn’t feel like the map will get boring any time soon.

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The game centers around a character that you design at the beginning of the game. There is a pretty good amount of options to customize the look of your character, I made my character look a lot like me after only ten minutes. It’s awesome to see what you would look like in the show. Your character has just moved to the town and there seems to be a little bit of mystery about why your parents moved to South Park. Your character doesn’t speak at all (at least that I have seen) and is quickly pushed into a war between Cartman’s clan and the Elves. The Stick Of Truth is a literal stick that apparently has the power to control the universe, naturally this is the cause of the epic struggle. You then have to choose your class from either a Fighter, Mage, Thief or Jew each with their own unique attributes and special attacks. You are also prompted to enter your name which results in you being named ‘Douchebag’. After this Kupa Keep is ambushed by the Elves and The Stick Of Truth is stolen, kicking off your epic quest.

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After some tutorials on buying weapons and the combat mechanics you get to fight some of the Elves. I am not a huge fan of turn based games but it works quite well here. It’s similar to games like Pokemon and some of the Final Fantasy games in the sense that you choose what to do for your move. The mechanics are quite deep here with ranged weapons, shields, melee weapons, special attacks, status effects such as bleeding, blocking, potions and all the other good stuff you’d expect from a quality turn based RPG. The thing that keeps me entertained rather than just constantly choosing one move like I do with Pokemon (it’s Blast Burn in case you wanted to know) is the quick time button feature. When you attack you have to quickly press A or X and depending on how accurate you are, it will determine the amount of damage you do, if any at all. Likewise when blocking, if you time a button press when an enemy attacks you have a chance to block and also counter attack. I find the combat quite entertaining with a lot of options for a lot of different play styles. If I was to nitpick I would mention that sometimes the selection wheel gets a bit slippery which can bring you out of action and make you realize it’s actually a game and not the show but that is the only problem I have had so far.

I will leave it there for now until I play some more but I think it’s safe to say this game is a winner. Let me know what you think of my first impressions article or even the game if you managed to get it. If you have any requests, comments or questions feel free to send me a tweet @pikalew or comment below. I will have a full written review up in the next few days, perhaps even a video review!

– L

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