All hail the Stick of Truth, and all hail this game - the greatest South Park game ever created! It must be said that competition wasn't especially fierce, the cartoon from Trey Parker and Matt Stone hasn't exactly been inundated with anything other than mediocre titles. But we did expect this to be a success from Obsidian Entertainment (the developers behind Fallout New Vegas and Star Wars: KOTOR II), and we were not disappointed!
Become the new South Park character
Developed as an open world role playing game, the Stick of Truth offers you the chance to immerse yourself completely in the small town of South Park, Colorado. You play the "newbie" (a kid who's just arrived in town and is affectionately nicknamed "Douchebag" by the main character Cartman), whose appearance and class can be customized (choose between warrior, mage, thief, and Jew). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is that you'll fight tooth and nail to get the "Stick of Truth," a legendary artifact upon which the fate of humanity depends. All this is carried out under the orders of King-mage Cartman and your faithful allies Stan, Kenny, Butters, among other characters.
Fans of the series will be immediately familiar with the plot and the game world and will cackle with glee from the first moment. For others, be warned: South Park is vulgar, provocative, sometimes insulting, and relies heavily on toilet humor. It's best to avoid this game if that sort of humor is too much for you!
Beyond the storyline, South Park: The Stick of Truth is above all a great role game masterfully developed by Obsidian entertainment. The hilarious and absurd dialog are coupled with the exploration of South Park (harboring many surprises and hidden quests) and a well-developed combat system that doesn't hesitate to be innovative.
An excellent combat system but handling on PC could be better
Embodying up to two characters at once from the protagonists of the series, you battle your opponents (elves, tramps, Mongol hordes...) in turn-based combat sequences reminiscent of Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy or Pokemon. Stick of Truth, however, doesn't stop there - it offers a big difference in its combat system: the more orders you give from one turn to the next, you have to press certain buttons while using your skills to increase the power (like in the Paper Mario series).
An attack that requires great timing can multiply the strength of fighting to make for sometimes intense and exciting moments. However, it's a real pity that the publisher hasn't provided more difficulty modes: even after increasing the difficulty, players familiar with RPGs will not really struggle to overcome even the toughest of enemies.
The shortcomings of the PC version of Stick of Truth are more disturbing. From the first moment, it's clear that South Park was primarily developed for game consoles, and offers unsatisfactory controls for PC. We tended to get the two action buttons (one for using your weapon, the other to act on your environment) confused quickly, and we spent our time squeezing one or the other at random.
The menus and inventory are also impractical, and we highly recommend you play with a controller for maximum comfort. Note however that the developers did have the good idea to incorporate a fart button, which allows you to happily break wind at any time you like, resulting in some surprising and often hilarious results!
A brilliant, landmark achievement
All those who had the opportunity to try out South Park: The Stick of Truth quickly came to the same conclusion: the feeling of being in the cartoon is incredible. Graphics replicate the series with unfailing fidelity: where previous South Park games tried in vain to recreate the world of the series in 3D, Stick of Truth manages to completely recreate the paper-based characters and backgrounds from the cartoon. The result is breathtaking, and it also doubles as a peerless sound production!
The dubbing is all done by the actors from the original series, with numerous lines of dialog that help give the impression of living in a gigantic episode from the series. As for the music, this is remarkably well put together??: it blithely creates a pastiche of themes that many geeks will hold dear to their hearts (from Skyrim to Pirates of the Caribbean); it really is a feast for the ears.
Finally, note that the huge game map is faithfully transcribed from the town of South Park (even offering a foray into Canada!). All the locations from the series are present, as well as the characters. The attention to detail is pushed, even if (regrettably) the image refresh rate is limited (capped at 30 frames per second in order to adapt to the television screens of game consoles) and the invisible walls that dot the town of South Park do force you to take certain pre-determined paths. An unfortunate detail for an "open world" game, which (apart from this) offers a great feeling of freedom.
Excellent RPG or ultimate South Park game?
The attraction of this South Park depends, in part, on your opinion of the series. If you can't stand the orgy of vulgar, provocative gags, then it's most advisable that you leave this game on the shelf. If the series leaves you indifferent but you love a good RPG, Stick of Truth will have enough to charm you with its many features. And if, finally, you're an avid fan of the series, then why are you still reading this review? Don't waste another minute - click the "download" button and start your adventure in this brilliant adaptation of a legendary cartoon.