Meet some buddies of mine.
It’s actually fairly outstanding how South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have slowly ramped up the shock worth over the previous 17 years to maintain the present sharp. Whether or not they and developer Obsidian may pull off the identical for a 14-hour recreation as a substitute of a 22-minute present was by no means a positive factor. However there I used to be, shrunk down to Underpants Gnome-size, crawling up Mr. Slave’s orifices to retrieve a WMD, slicing by means of gobs of bodily fluids in turn-based JRPG fight and climbing up half-digested corn-on-the-cob as I went, laughing hysterically the entire method. I’m floored at how persistently humorous it’s, and at how effectively the outrageous comedy melds with the comparatively easy gameplay to create not simply a tremendous South Park recreation, however an clever and witty satire of roleplaying mechanics.
As for the story, it’s a intelligent premise that permits The Stick of Reality to happen in a recognizable and painstakingly recreated South Park setting, but additionally brings in all the same old fantasy roleplaying tropes by means of the ability of youngsters’s creativeness. It’s a trick used many occasions within the present, and it really works nice for the sport, too. An epic LARPing session (as casually arrange by final yr’s “Black Friday” trilogy of episodes) has your custom-created new child on the town becoming a member of both Cartman’s People or Kyle’s Elves, all wearing amusingly dangerous makeshift cosplay outfits. True to the present, issues escalate wildly and hilariously, resulting in conspiracies involving the federal government, aliens, and Taco Bell.
Although it manifests itself in sometimes over-the-top South Park-ian methods, The Stick of Reality is a Paper Mario-esque RPG-lite. You and your single additional celebration member (you’ll unlock a number of South Park regulars, although just one can combat with you at a time) take turns battling formations of enemies, be it the Gingers, crazy homeless guys, aliens, and extra. Typical buffs and debuffs are ably skinned in screwed-up fourth grader verbiage (throwing feces so as to add “gross out” results) combined with mana-powered spells and timed button-press assaults and blocks to maintain you in your toes throughout fight. It retains issues easy sufficient whereas nonetheless leaving room for some tactical depth. And Obsidian refreshingly leaves out time-sink annoyances like character encumbrance and random battles you may’t keep away from.
I couldn’t resist the curious lure of enjoying because the Jew class over the archetypal Fighter, Thief, and Mage choices, however the variations between them turned out to be disappointingly slight. Positive, every has their very own particular skills, however there are successfully no class-specific weapons or gadgets, and there’s nothing to cease a Mage from selecting melee-enhancing gear and carving up foes with a blade simply in addition to a Fighter. All lessons finally be taught particular farting magic (a crude parody of Skyrim’s Dragon Shouts) although each the thumbstick motions and particularly the tutorial periods in your powers of flatulence are typically cumbersome. Achievement or Trophy hunting apart, this lack of sophistication differentiation or vital selections within the story are massive explanation why I don’t really feel a lot incentive to replay the marketing campaign.
The opposite unlucky offense is that some extraordinarily helpful issues are poorly defined, in the event that they’re even talked about in any respect. Methods like with the ability to change your Buddy at any time by urgent down on the D-pad to entry the Occasion menu, or taking the primary swing at overworld enemies so that you simply get the primary flip when the battle begins, and what your Buddies can do and are particularly good at are all as much as us to find by accident. One different puzzling challenge is the slipperiness of the action-selection wheel throughout fight – it’s unusually tough to get your pointer to stay on the choice you need, significantly if it’s in a diagonal slot on the wheel.
However that’s in regards to the extent of the injury. Aesthetically, The Stick of Reality may be essentially the most stunning crappy-looking-on-purpose recreation I’ve ever seen. Whereas it might appear trivial to make a role-playing recreation resemble the crude, construction-paper cutout fashion of the present, it’s executed so effectively right here that the 2 mediums are virtually indistinguishable. You’ll by no means see a HUD when strolling round city, as an example, except you faucet the Y/Triangle button. Solely the very uncommon caught animation on an overworld enemy and (on each consoles, however not a succesful PC) the occasional body fee stutter when a brand new space loaded in for the primary time jogged my memory that this was a recreation and never the present. And that was the extent of the technical issues I encountered.
Talking of the quiet Colorado mountain city, it’s itself one of many stars of The Stick of Reality. For the primary time within the sequence’ historical past, it has been fully mapped out and given official geographical context. As a superfan who’s seen each episode of the present, I spent the primary two to 3 hours of Stick of Reality exploring each child’s home and every recognizable location, and from Stan’s bedroom closet (make sure to verify it!) to Stark’s Pond and South Park Elementary, they’re all packed extremely densely with in-jokes. Even each piece of stock junk loot I collected is a present reference with a humorous description hooked up to it.
A handy fast-travel system eases post-exploration navigation, however varied quests present loads of attractive causes to comb the city all through the journey. Classic songs like “Taco-Flavored Kisses” and “Kyle’s Mom is a B****” are deployed with deft comedic subtlety on radios and in outlets, and also you completely should hear rigorously for the significantly excellent use of Larger, Longer, & Uncut’s “Blame Canada.”
The roughly 14 hours of absurdity and satire feels excellent, from starting to finish. That being stated, regardless of that includes over 100 characters and numerous references, I needed extra. Towelie solely ever reveals up in a loading display. Ditto the Speaking Taco That Craps Ice Cream. The always-hilarious Christmas Critters have a criminally short cameo that is literally off-the-beaten-path. And whereas I’m being choosy, I used to be additionally hoping for some type of interactive or custom-made model of the present’s opening-credits Primus music that by no means got here (although, laudably, any time you load up your save file, the immediately recognizable back-from-commercial-break guitar riff performs).