Feature Article

Embracing The Crude In South Park: The Stick Of Truth

Awesom-o

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Fighter, Thief, Mage, or Jew? To anyone not familiar with South Park's unique brand of humour, picking a character class as the start of The Stick Of Truth might come as a bit of a shock. Indeed, if you're at all easily offended, then everything in The Stick Of Truth is going to come as a bit of a shock. This is a game that's shaping up to be every bit as crude and wonderfully offensive as the series; as a huge South Park fan, it's everything I could have hoped for.

The worry is, of course, the keen sense of satire that backs up South Park's controversial material is lost in the transition to videogame. Cartman's utter disregard for the feelings of anyone but himself only really works in the show, because eventually you know he's going to get his comeuppance (see Human CENTiPAD, for example). It's tough to know just how well The Stick Of Truth is going to handle its controversial material from an hour or so of play, but with Matt and Trey handling the writing, I'm hopeful it can pull it off. What I can tell you, though, is that what I did see made me totally laugh my ass off.

This article contains mild spoilers from the first hour or so of The Stick Of Truth. If you want to go in totally fresh, stop reading now. I'm super cereal.

The Stick Of Truth is a direct follow-up to the recent A Song Of Ass and Fire episode of the show, itself a spoof of Game Of Thrones. The children of South Park, still dressed in their Game Of Thrones garb, are engaged in a bit of live-action role-playing and are fighting over control of the titular stick, with grand wizard Cartman leading the side of the supposed good. Essentially, it sets up the world of South Park up as an old school, fantasy turn-based RPG, albeit one with more than its fair share of farts and four letter words.

Naturally, it's a fantasy world grounded in the minds of 9-year-old children, so weapons are generally things that the kids find or make themselves. Swords are made of wood, helmets are colanders, and farts are magic attacks. Yeah, that last one isn't exactly subtle, but when you see your character cupping his hands between his cheeks and letting rip a "Dragon Shout" (by building up the pressure using the analogue sticks) directly into the mouth of an unsuspecting princess Kenny, it's hard not to chuckle.

The Stick Of Truth plays to classic RPG conventions throughout with turn-based battles, a big town to explore, NPCs to speak to, items to collect, and quests to perform. Those things aren't particularly groundbreaking in of themselves, but it's the way that they've been wrapped up in the South Park universe that made my time with The Stick Of Truth so much fun. Quick travel around the map and instead of horse-drawn cart there's Timmy and his electric wheelchair pulling a trolley. At home base in Cartman's back yard, Clyde mans the weapon store, while Scott Malkinson and his "power of diabetes" preside over some stables consisting solely of a sand box and Cartman's long tormented cat Mr. Kitty.

That attention to detail did a good job of glossing over the mostly fetch-based quests I was entrusted with too. One of the first, enlisting Tweak to Cartman's cause, meant grabbing supplies for Tweak's Coffee Shop. Simple enough, except the supplies came from Kenny's house on the wrong side of the tracks, and instead of coffee, it was a "special ingredient" from a crack den in the shed, complete with some irate crack heads guarding it. Another, and by far my favorite quest, involved helping Lu Kim rid City Wok of Mongolians by heading over to a nearby tower and beating up all of the Mongolian children.

The tower quest with increasingly powerful opponents on each level is an RPG standard, but everything from the look of the Mongolian characters, to the hilarious and often cringing dialogue between battles made it a joy to play through. It also gave me a good chance to try out the turn-based combat, which had skill element to it in the form of pushing the attack button at the right moment to score extra damage, or double up an attack. My favorite bit, though, was unleashing the roshmbo special attack (other special attacks could be unlocked and upgraded via a skill tree in the menus), which had my character kicking his opponent square in the nuts for maximum damage.

The reward for rescuing Mr. Lu Kim--aside from an hilarious conversation about free City Beef and City Chicken--was the ability to use Lu Kim as a summon in battle. That sounded odd to me until I remembered this. Sure enough, once summoned there appeared Lu Kim in full battle garb doing his absurd Chinese war dance. Sadly, Lu Kim was the only summon I was able to unlock during my demo, but I'm really hoping there are others are just as funny as that one.

Ultimately, The Stick Of Truth is going to live and die by its humour; what I briefly saw of its RPG mechanics didn't seem exciting enough on their own--and even then, there's got to be context to all its ribbing on Jews, Chinese people, religion and, well, just about anything you could possibly be offended by really. But for as big a fan as me, it was an impressive showing. All those little nods to the series you'd hope for are in there: the collectible Chinpokomon (complete with theme tune), the inappropriate messages sent to your virtual phone from characters you befriend, the fact that no matter what you type into as your name, Cartman just ends referring to you as "douchebag". Even if South Park: The Stick Of Truth doesn't end up being a kick-ass game, it's shaping up to be one heck of a piece of fan service.

Discussion

150 comments
edussz
edussz

I hope you are the one doing the review, Mark...

WitIsWisdom
WitIsWisdom

This game looks really good.  I will be getting this for sure.. I just wish it was releasing on the PS4 or X1 though.

aldiggy
aldiggy

By the Sling of David!

wyan_
wyan_

This looks awesome. Even the box art looks freaking cool.

TacticaI
TacticaI

This is just too funny to pass up. 

stevenstreet483
stevenstreet483

Mark Walton is the worst, seriously. He sucks all the fun out of video games.

mirage_so3
mirage_so3

Anyone wanna take bets on if they hit this release date this time?

prime_l
prime_l

"Fighter, Thief, Mage, or Jew?"

That's all I read. I'm already sold.

tightwad34
tightwad34

O.K. So where is there any sort of news there? Matt and Trey are behind the development and are doing the voices and whatnot so why in the hell wouldn't it be vulgar and crass?

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

This looks great, cant wait to get it.

wiserat4
wiserat4

This was hilarious! It looked really good, and really funny!

RoachRush
RoachRush

This may be the first game in years that will be a day-one buy for me.

Darkeus
Darkeus

I think this is going to be one of the surprise games of the year.  I truly think it is going to be much better than anyone could have imagined.

eze_sl89
eze_sl89

never really liked south park, i think its a show for people on drugs. but this actually seems decent. specially the art design which is very faithful to the original show.

The combat mechanics on the other hand, looks and plays horrible.

zamelion
zamelion

This and probably The Witcher 3 will be the best games of the year for me :D

PcGamingRig
PcGamingRig

Fighter, Mage, Thief or Jew lol 

I am hoping this game is amazing. Hopefully it isn't to easy either.


Obsidian are making it so it should be fairly well made.

CatAtomic999
CatAtomic999

How sad is it when South Park has a better RPG than Final Fantasy.

jr_hal
jr_hal

powered by DIABETES...LMFAO

translucent17
translucent17

funny video of this on IGN Trey Parker says "I'm gonna be pissed if GameSpot gives it a fu#Kin 4" ......lol

Born_Lucky
Born_Lucky

It's offensive because it only makes fun of groups that liberals think it's okay to make fun of .


They make sexual comments about Jesus, but they've never made any sexual comments about mohammad.


Almost every show makes fun of Christians and Jews - what percentage of the episodes makes fun of atheists?


There's a lot more examples, but the most glaring thing that struck me when I used to give it a chance, is it's not funny. I'm not a conformist who is afraid to say it's not funny, so I'm sure that I'll be attacked for my opinion. Most people laugh at South Park because they think that's what they're supposed to do.

thiagofali
thiagofali

25 quid for the pc version pre-ordered on amazon... not overpriced at all.. this game has been under production many years... =) I really look forward to play it =)

thiagofali
thiagofali

Nice article! But every time that I read whether or not a game is 'groundbreaking' in a review/preview I kind of cringe. Why does every reviewer expect every game to be groundbreaking and when it's not it's a kind of disappointment? I think that when a formula is proven and neat (such as the turn-based battle system) they should use it. By trying to be 'groundbreaking' many games ended up being mediocre, such as the FF13 saga. Please devs, more old school turn-based with kick ass graphics for the new gen!!! "༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ"

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Man obsidian owns..Dont care what some of you naysayers say..Best rpg makers in this realm they call mildle earth :<P..Cant wait till march..Game ill play for awhile any how..Been looking forward to play this for years now..Looks very polished also..Although they should've gave some lines to the new kid lol..Im sure this will be a game long remembered..Just don't forget to fart..

Yosh_24
Yosh_24

@eze_sl89  Nice generalization.  I think people play FPS are slow-witted.  See what I did there?

Poodger
Poodger

@eze_sl89 So as an upstanding adult that has never had drugs in his life, I enjoy the show. And the combat looks similar to Paper Mario, which was fantastic fun. You are a very pessimistic person

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

@eze_sl89  Yet it plays just like Super Mario RPG:Legend of the seven stars, Chrono Trigger and most FF games from the SNES era which are some of the best games ever created, whatd you say again?

tightwad34
tightwad34

@zamelion  Same here, except you forgot to mention Dark Souls 2 will be the best by far.

el_swanno
el_swanno

Gamespot hosted that video too.

So recent yet still one of my favorite game developer quotes of all time!

Hurvl
Hurvl

@translucent17 Lol, Gamespot's review scores means so much to him? I guess he's like a lot of people here then that thinks Gamespot is mad with power or clickbaiting or whatever when they give low scores.

001011000101101
001011000101101

@Born_Lucky  Making fun of muhammad and Islam is kinda difficult you know... religion of peace and all that.

simonmetcalf
simonmetcalf

@Born_Lucky  Your perspective and understanding is WAY off.  They make fun of liberals and "hippies" at least as much as any other minority/stereotype/archetype and possibly even more so.  Hippies are even an enemy in this game because Cartman hates them so much!  See the episode "Smug Alert" as an example.


So saying "it only makes fun of groups liberals think it's okay to make fun of" demonstrates a complete lack of understanding.  Seems like you only notice when Christians are made fun of and are threatened by it.  No idea why!

Poodger
Poodger

@Born_Lucky They make fun of everyone, really. I find myself highly entertained by the show, even as a conservative, and they do their fair bit of insulting for and against all sides.

Defender1978
Defender1978

@Born_Lucky  If Trey Parker and Matt Stone made fun of Islam they way they make fun of Christianity they would have been killed a long time ago.  Christians are easy targets.  As an American I agree with their right to free speech.  As a Christian I don't have to help them get richer by purchasing their garbage.  

chrisrooR
chrisrooR

@Born_Lucky  


Actually, they've made plenty of fun of mohammed and Islam in general. 

And it's funny you think it's conformist to find the show funny. You're a child.  

nl_skipper
nl_skipper



@Born_Lucky  There's actually an epic 2 part episode that makes fun of atheists, and it's amazing...

picho86
picho86

@Born_Lucky  

"what percentage of the episodes makes fun of atheists?"

What is there to make fun of about atheists? It makes as much sense as making fun of people who don't like soccer or rap music. Atheism is nothing more or less than not believing in god.


"Most people laugh at South Park because they think that's what they're supposed to do"

Really? Have you done a survey? Have you ever even met anyone fitting this description?

Anyone who's like that (I can't think of anyone), will laugh at any show to conform. What makes South Park so special?

TheTNWrestler
TheTNWrestler

@Born_Lucky Yeah, you can tell you have zero idea of what South Park is about. They have made fun of EVERY religion (that's why the Chef voice actor left over their Scientology episode). As "Chaceace100" said, Go God Go was 2 episodes about how people will wage wars even if there is no religion left. They made 2 episodes about how Muslims are ready to wage war over simply showing a picture of Mohammed (even though they made him a superhero in years prior). If you recall, an attempted terrorist left a car to explode outside of Viacom (their owners), but the guy bought the wrong fertilizer to make the car explode. There have also been episodes about Agnostics, Mormons, Christians, Jews, and the list goes on... When you write this, it's very clear you are ignorant to the show. You don't have to like South Park at all, but don't provide a clearly false opinion when you are ignorant to it...

Chaceace100
Chaceace100

@Born_Lucky  I don't think you know much about southpark. They've made fun of Atheist (see Go God go) and well, they attempt to make fun of Muhammad, but whenever they do it's followed up by death threats from terror groups.* So really man, Matt and Trey will make fun of anything and everybody. I'm not attacking you for your opinion, I'm just informing you of this so you can make a better one... 


*(http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/south-creators-threats-man-sentenced-prison-341189

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@Gladestone1  Only game I actually ever played by them was New Vegas, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, much more than FO3, which was also very good.  But it seems like they have a track record of making "flawed gems".  This game sounds like it's shaping up though, and given it has been delayed for a while for fine tuning unlike most of their past games, it could be really good.  I'm not buying right away though I kind of want to hear some opinions first since it's a full priced $60 title, even on pc :(

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Gladestone1 I hope the game sells on an astronomical scale, or even more so, on a gas-tronomical scale. Let's hope that passing wind isn't a passing thing.

jecomans
jecomans

@picho86 You can make fun of militantly atheistic people, and South Park does it frequently.