Now This Is What I’ve Been Waiting For in a South Park Game!
I won’t claim I know every South Park game that’s ever come out on the market (though there probably aren’t all that many). I used to have that crappy N64 game, which was nothing more than an awful turkey shooter, from what I remember – but hey, it was three-dimensional, which was new at the time, and offered a chance (an extremely limited chance!) to explore the town of South Park in three dimensions, which was more lifelike than the show, which was also pretty new at the time. More recently I had the chance to play Tenorman’s Revenge when I reviewed it on XBLA. I liked Tenorman’s Revenge, and it was plainly obvious that it was a game more in tune with the sensibilities of the show, which is to say stuffed full of politically incorrect, crass toilet humor. But the tone was right, and in a franchise known primarily for its edgy humor, that’s what matters.
But all of that has now been literally blown out of the water with the recent release of South Park: The Stick of Truth!
This game stands somewhere at the top of the pile when it comes to treating source material with the proper approach and replicating the precise feel of it for its intended audience. Especially when it comes to a licensed game, it either works or doesn’t based not solely on playability but on how well it emulates the familiar world its supposed to be a part of. In the case of Stick of Truth, I got the feeling of watching an episode of the TV show from the very first moment.
Not only does the game look the part, with the animation style copying that of the show, down to the jerky hop-skipping way characters move about, but the story has been written (and of course voiced) by Trey Parker and Matt Stone themselves, so that feeling of authenticity isn’t just a doomed wish. Without going into too much revealing detail at the moment (I’ll leave that for my actual write-up when I beat the game), suffice it to say that my first act in-game was to visit the bathroom and frantically mash the X button to poo in the toilet. Then I proceeded to reach in and pocket the turd, and store it in my inventory to be used later in battle. Let me say that again: I received a self-made piece of crap as literally one of my first inventory items!
After that, there could be no doubt that I was in for an experience that is sometimes hilarious, often shocking, and always true to the show’s spirit throughout. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is hard to find in the world of licensed properties, making this completely juvenile, sophomoric game an accomplishment other game developers should look up to and try to emulate.
If you’re curious about The Stick of Truth for yourself, check out my Let’s Play of the game!