Friday, March 7, 2014

South Park: The Stick Of Truth Video Game Review

Final Verdict - Definitely Worth Playing

The long await day of salvation has arrived. After many a setbacks and delays we finally have the game of prophesy. Today is truly a special day here on In The Mind Of My Mind as there is much mirth and rejoicing in the land of gaming. South Park: The Stick Of Truth is finally a reality and I could be none the happier as it has fulfilled my hopes and dreams. In an age where licensed franchise video games usually suck, South Park: The Stick Of Truth has answered the call to greatness. If you are a fan of the cartoon you will go crazy for the gaming experience it has to offer; if not you can very much still enjoy the game at its core values of story-line, game mechanics and content. Come on down to South Park and meet some friends of mine...

South Park: The Stick of Truth is a role-playing video game, based on the American animated television series South Park. The game was developed by Obsidian Entertainment in collaboration with South Park Digital Studios and published by Ubisoft. The game was expected to be released sometime in 2013, for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles, and Microsoft Windows, but was postponed to 2014, due to the shutdown of original publisher THQ and numerous delays. The player takes control of "The New Kid", who moves to South Park with his parents after a mysterious event forced the family to move. Similar to their duties on the TV show, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote the script for the game, oversaw the project, and provided the voices of the characters. This is without a doubt the definitive South Park game and goes the extra mile to deliver and authentic South Park experience first hand for the player. This sadly also works against the game because due to the authenticity of the South Park content the game received unfavorable reviews in Australia and Europe from the Electronics Rating Standards Bureau (ERSB). This led to it being censored as you can see an example of below:

What’s Good:
Soundtrack: Soundtrack is superbly executed. From the occasional ominous medieval music to the voice acting even hinting to the illustrious career work of Trey Parker and Matt Stones with the long list of songs on the radio. Another noteworthy bit of praise is for the audio cue that plays whenever your weapon flashes before an attack so you get the timing right for a perfect attack. This single feature has been the saving grace for me while playing as trying to watch for the visual cue for the attack at times is a bit tedious.

Graphics: Not the most cutting edge graphics one might expect from current gen consoles but it is pixel for pixel an accurate representation of the South Park universe. This helps to solidify the immersion factor of the game as it makes you feel like you are literally immersed in the South Park world. Not only does it feel like an episode of the iconic TV show but also it makes you the central focus and star of it all.

Story-line: The characters' costumes and classes appear to be based on the South Park episode "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers". The costumes and class names also appear in the three-episode story arc formed by "Black Friday", "A Song of Ass and Fire", and "Titties and Dragons". These all tie into the story-line development of the game and gives the fans a "sneak peek" for the game, and at the very least, was "good marketing/PR" in light of the numerous delays to the release of the game.

Game Mechanics: The very well executed game-play design of this game will appeal to many die-hard RPG fans as it favors turn based combat. The game has also managed to incorporate and represent most tell tale aspects of a good RPG game such as varied classes, deep combat system mechanics and character customization to suit all players. The game also has a well layered tutorial system; this helps the player learn the inner workings of the game, and as a bonus features a help menu for future reference.

Replay value: A fair amount of replay value exists as there are 4 classes to choose from which offer varied combat experiences. There are also key points within the story progression that offer multiple choices and outcomes for the player to explore.

What’s Bad:
Story-line: For a Role-Playing Game (RPG) title gamers are used to 20+ hours of gaming not to mention higher level caps one character classes. Sadly South Park falls a wee bit down in that regard as the campaign will run you about 10-15 hours worth of time overall. Add to that the low level cap of 15 and you know somebody somewhere is going to complain about it.

Game Mechanics: Not much to say here aside from this one off instance where I was playing a mini game for a quest where you are dancing for the Goth kids. For some reason it only recognizes the directional arrows on the keyboard instead of the movement keys assigned at W, A, S, D. Not really a big deal as this only occurs on PC but had to make mention. 

What Should Have Been Added:
I would have liked to see more variety in the classes offered, granted they have subtle differences but I felt like there was no clear cut distinction between the moves, weapons, and equipment for the respective classes. I found myself not caring much about sticking with a particular weapon type as one would when playing an RPG; certain class limitations would have been nice to emphasize more the choice of character the player decides to go with.

Final Thoughts:
As a die-hard fan of the series I must say this game is not for the easily offended or weak willed. This game serves up a big helping of fan service and gone above and beyond the expectations of its followers. If I had a hat I would be tipping it to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as I sip some lemon tea on a warm afternoon. I imagine somewhere out there on a patio somewhere with legs crossed like gentlemen they marvel at how well this game is bound to do. I very rarely find myself singing the praises of a game but this game deserves it and has my stamp of approval as a game of the year candidate for 2014. I have pre-ordered a copy of the Grand Wizard Edition of the game for my personal collection and if you are a fan of the TV show you probably should too. Feel free to check out some of our game-play with commentary below...

Thanks For Stopping By