South Park: The Stick of Truth – Worth It?

StickOfTruthLogo-SmallHave you been contemplating the purchase of South Park: The Stick of Truth? Wondering if the $60 price tag is worth it? Well, having now gone through the story and all the side quests let me tell you what I think of this raunchy RPG in a nifty pros/cons list.

PROS:
First off, the story is absolutely hilarious. Who would have thought? If you are into South Park’s notorious humor you’ll obviously love the game’s story and dialogue (which is brilliant). The cut scenes are well done, identical to show quality and never boring. The whole story is well written/constructed and filled to the rim with bathroom humor of all sorts, rarely giving you time to stop laughing and catch your breath.

The combat is quite in depth (more so than I was expecting). Fights are set up like a typical turn based RPG but, what makes it a bit more interesting is the inclusion of quick time combat. For instance, if you choose to attack with your melee weapon, your character will walk to the target and your weapon will flash, you can then right or left click (I played on PC) for a light or heavy attack. If you choose to do a light attack, your weapon will flash a few more times, letting you combo hit. Signature abilities also have little quirks to them such as having you mash one or several keys to power up, or pressing certain keys to pull off the move. As a thief, one ability lets you summon a bunch of your thief buddies and, in order to deal damage, you must push W, A, S and D in the direction of the enemy when they pop up (including A+S, W+D, etc. to attack diagonally). Not only attacks are quick time either. Defending yourself also has you pressing keys to keep your focus. When an opponent comes at you, there is a chance to block all or some of the damage as well as counter. Overall, the combat keeps your attention and makes for a very engaging experience.

Your buddies add another level to combat as well. Each character that you can have in your party plays a different way and, switching between characters can be quite useful. They also have unique things they say in combat that will make you laugh. They also have unique abilities outside of combat that are needed to get past certain obstacles which, adds to the complexity of exploring. Segue, GO!

Leveling and exploration is rewarding. Through leveling you get to unlock and upgrade your character’s abilities and through exploration find epic lootz and people to befriend. Adding your newly acquired friends on Facebook allows you to you earn perks that boost your character’s performance in battle. This makes talking to people and trying to figure out how to get to certain spots worthwhile.

There is a plethora of items including weapons, armor, gear upgrades and vanity items. Do you want to wear a condom on your head? Go for it! Want to wield a hockey stick with a skate blade attached? No problem!Just as entertaining as getting a new flaming bouncy ball to hurl at your enemies is taking a look at all the junk you pick up along your travels which, leads to my next pro.

References to the show are EVERYWHERE. Whether it’s Cartman’s The Coon suit hanging in his closet, searching for Chinpokomon or picking up an Okama Gamesphere of your unconscious enemy, you’ll find yourself utterly amazed at the amount they’ve crammed into the world which, is decently sized.

The boss fights are quite fun and comical, especially the last one. That’s all I’ll say though. I don’t want to spoil anything.

Now, for the CONS:
Though the story is deftly executed and will have you in stitches, it is also rather short. I completed the main story and all the side missions in about 15 hours. For someone powering through, it’s probably doable in 10-12. For a game that has had so much hype and one that costs a pretty penny (or 6000 pretty pennies), I expected at least a 20 hours. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still stuff I could do in the game like, collecting all the weapons/armor or replaying as a different class but, for a $60 game I feel that the main story should have taken longer than 10ish hours.

The side quests aren’t all that great. There are a few that are fun/funny, such as helping Stan beat up his sister, dubbed the She-Ogre or, defeating a horde of Mongolian’s for Mr. Kim but, a bunch are just “find / defeat X things” and, once that’s done you get simple “alright, cool, thanks,” without a rewarding cut scene or anything. Some of them could have definitely been longer and more engaging.

The world. Let me just start with saying that at first, I thought the world was fantastic but, after only a few hours I began realize that not much is actually going on. NPCs are seen doing the same stuff throughout the game and don’t have much (if any) variation in their lines. An example is Kyle’s dad who is shoveling a small patch of snow for the entire story line. Another example is some of the non-named characters that share lines like, the police officers that often question your ability to get laid dressed as you are. This isn’t the biggest deal but, I feel that the more well-known characters should have had more stuff going on.

The default game difficulty is really easy. Once you get gear/moves that help with multi-target damage, you’ll blow through anything that isn’t a boss. I recommend turning up the difficulty a tad. I rarely had to use potions and even fewer times did I have to use a revival taco. This led to dozens of loot bags littered across all of South Park that I couldn’t pick up due to having a full stacks of those items. This can be avoided by storing stacks but, it’s not necessary so, why bother?

OVERALL:
I thoroughly enjoyed South Park: The Stick of Truth and I think you will as well. That’s not the question I said I’d answer though. Is the game worth the $60 price tag? I’m quite torn. I want to say yes but, at the same time, the short story and repetitive world sort of ruined the experience. Here’s what I’ll say. If you are a South Park fan, you definitely NEED to play this game. Whether you pay full price or wait for it to go on sale, in the end, that’s up to you. Do I regret the purchase? Eh, no, not really. I’ve been looking at it like seeing a film in theaters. Sure, I paid more than someone who waits for it to come to DVD but, I got to see it (legally) first. Though, I admit, I hate having to reconstruct my mortgage and take out a private loan every time I want popcorn and a Coke.

Have you played The Stick of Truth yet? Let me know what you think in the comments and, as always, catch ya’ later!

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About Derek Byron

Derek Byron aka Poprawks is a passionate creative writer and Pokémaniac obsessed with more than just Pokémon. While he typically plays video games on his Nintendo consoles and handhelds, he also spends a great deal of time gaming on his PC. Graphic narratives are often his go to source for literary entertainment but, he is not afraid to crack open a large novel. He also thoroughly enjoys music of all kinds and will dance to just about any tune.

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