Ever since South Park began airing back in 1997, it has pushed boundaries beyond our wildest Imaginationland. Downloadable titles aside, console gamers have not witnessed a full scale South Park game since the year 2000. Now, after capturing multiple Emmy and Tony awards, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are ready to invade the video game industry once more and win our hearts with South Park: The Stick of Truth.
Players finally got a good look at the game in action during a hands-off preview at Comic-Con. What was shown more than lives up to expectations. In fact, South Park: The Stick of Truth may turn out to be one of the most entertaining RPGs we’ve ever played.
The South Park: The Stick of Truth demo begins with a quick introduction of the “new kid” (the user) as he and his family move into the lovely town of South Park. Wanting to get a little frisky, mom and dad tell the kid to go make friends while they wrestle upstairs. Locked out of the house, the player is left to roam the streets of South Park. Right from the very beginning, the interactions among the game’s AI cast are hilarious and well thought out. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have written everything and, of course, do most of the voice acting.
Neglected by others, the new kid runs into Butters “The Merciful,” a paladin. Butters takes us to The Kingdom where we must seek out The Wizard King, Eric Cartman. From here users will be able to choose a name, customize their character’s outfit, and pick a class: cleric, fighter, mage, or thief. Now the quest begins. Players must go to City Wok to retrieve some Kung Pao chicken. Armed with the wooden Sword of Sorrows, it is your duty to embark on this quest in order to test your loyalty and gain new friends.
Before the adventure can begin, elves invade the fortress seeking the Stick of Truth — and here is where our first battle takes place. Gamers who are accustomed to RPGs will quickly grasp the basic concepts of fighting, but there is a tutorial that does a great job at mapping out the gameplay for newcomers. The Stick of Truth is highly reliant on timed attacks, which can be very useful for counter-attacks and blocking. Fighting is turn based and can be strategic, based on who’s in your party or who you may be fighting.
Simply put, the battles are a ton of fun. The witty banter between characters is extremely vulgar, incredibly offensive and highly entertaining. Not only do the characters comment when they attack, but also while they are idle.
Skipping ahead, we are taken to a fight between the children and some vampire kids in a local cemetery. This time, the focus is on using special attacks (some of which can be seen in the E3 trailer, like Mr. Slave taking one for the team, literally). As in any other RPG, characters gain experience points and cash after each fight. Throughout the game players will be able to obtain items through treasure chests and completely customize their armor — from classy monocles to scruffy beards.
Like the cartoon, there isn’t much depth in The Stick of Truth’s 3D environment. As a result, the game looks just like the show. The animation is clear and colorful, with great effects during battle and clever environments all around. Plus, the game really takes advantage of South Park’s vast history — references to the show are practically everywhere, giving fans plenty to look out for.
According to one of the production artists on the show, the game is still under development and the guys from South Park are working very hard to make it one of the best experiences possible — not only for gamers, but for fans as well. He also let slip that players will be able to explore Canada in The Stick of Truth, and that the country may (or may not) have an “8-bit” variation.
From what we’ve seen so far, fans of South Park will not be disappointed in The Stick of Truth. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, in collaboration with Obsidian Entertainment, have created something that has a chance of being truly great, and we can’t wait to play the finished game.
Will you embark on the journey, reacquire the Stick of Truth, and save South Park?
South Park: The Stick of Truth releases March 5, 2013, for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
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