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South Park, whichever way you look at it, is a raunchy and ill-humored series about four boys living out their lives in the fictional town of South Park, Colorado. When Obsidian Entertainment teamed up with South Park Digital Studios, a game unlike any other would come into fruition. A full map of the little mountain town, a main campaign, and the humor that makes South Park stand on its own is all bundled up to create an amazing RPG. The Stick of Truth would give me the South Park title I was looking for: an open-world adventure game. And I loved it.
Simply put, you are the new kid in town. Your parents make it abundantly clear to go out and make friends with the kids of South Park. Upon leaving your house, you meet Paladin Butters where he takes you to see the Grand Wizard. There you learn about the Stick of Truth and the powers it yields. It is sought after by the elves and must be protected at all costs. When the elves steal the Stick of Truth, it is your job to retrieve it! Along the way, you meet various of the South Park kids like Cartman, Clyde, Stan, Kyle, and side characters from the show. Can you befriend all of South Park without getting yourself killed in the process? This game definitely wins a simple, yet effective plot point.
The concept of becoming a part of South Park's Universe is greatly executed in allowing the player to create an in-game character. It greatly supplements the adventure by giving the player a sense of immersion. It pays homage to a traditional RPG with the ability to choose your class (Fighter, Mage, Thief, and Jew), level up, gain special abilities, buy items, finish quests, find collectables, explore, etc. It's all here. The battle system is turn based and allows for players to deal various forms of damage onto enemies. Graciously enough, it allows for players to consume an item before dealing their attacks; making for a far less stressful game mechanic. The game knows how it wants to play.
South Park's visuals are replicated well. To the characters and the environments, it feels like the creative department put attention to detail in making the game as visually unappealing as it is in the TV show, and that's a good thing. It gets extra credit for originality. There are various visuals gags throughout the world, but without spoiling too much: make sure to examine every corner and do not leave any stone unturned. There are many places that can only be explored once in the game and failure to truly take in the environment can lead to missed collectibles, friends, etc. For all the completionists out there, this is a fair warning: explore EVERYTHING.
Unfortunately, this is the game's weakest point. It just isn't very memorable. There are a few good music tracks, but the music mainly focuses on enhancing the atmosphere. This is what game composers should aim for when writing music for games, so kudos to them. In comparison to JRPGs that have a solid contrast in style of music, this game is truly inferior. You don't just make a game with the notion that gameplay goes without meticulous attention to detail: This works for the game's visuals, but not its lacking soundtrack. This is just a minor gripe I have with Western music composers: I like the catchy, memorable tunes that are normally present in JRPGs. Good, but not great.
Overall, this game is definitely worth playing. It feels like you are playing a 8-12 hour episode of the show, given how you explore the open world. South Park: The Stick of Truth truly pushes that M Rating to its limit.