South Park: The Stick Of Truth PS3 review – Turn-based toon is no Mr Hankey

South Park The Stick Of Truth

Part of me was always a little nervous about this. South Park: The Stick Of Truth mixing the foul-mouthed obsession of my youth, with the cast-iron tropes of a traditional turn-based RPG. “South Park?” I’d wonder aloud. “Actual South Park? In an RPG? Surely this isn’t going to work?”

South Park: The Stick Of Truth PS3 review

So could this entry break South Park’s turd-shaped streak and finally deliver a decent videogame? Yes. A Mecha-Streisand-sized yes. You see, somewhere between all those delays and a change in publisher, something’s clicked and out’s popped one of the most enjoyable and, more importantly, one of the most accessible turn-based RPGs in years. Sure, it sounds like I’ve lobbed that statement in there to make a sentence sound pretty, but it’s the feat of balance at the heart of The Stick Of Truth that makes the whole experience work so well.

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You play the New Kid, a blank faced young whippersnapper who’s just moved to South Park. Your parents seem keen to steer conversation away from your past and instead throw you out the door to meet your fellow citizens. Meeting the many characters of this famous town is more than just a way of ticking off the roster. Each time you speak to and/or complete a specific task for certain NPCs, they’re added to your social media-style menu screen. It turns interacting with characters from a simple RPG trope into a collectable addiction that rewards you with helpful, attribute-boosting perks the bigger your friends list becomes.

You get to choose from four classes – Warrior, Mage, Thief and Jew (a paladin-style class)

Once you start exploring you’re soon dragged into a secret fantasy war raging between Cartman’s Kupa Keep warriors and Kyle’s Drow Elves. It’s all very meta and it’s the kind of conceit that could get old pretty quickly, but this isn’t some cheap tie-in game that’s been farmed out to make a few quick bucks. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have written a story that’s constantly changing, splitting the action up into days, with a story that keeps surprising you with new twists and turns.

South Park The Stick Of Truth

South Park The Stick Of Truth’s stroy starts starts with a war between Cartman and Kyle.

You get to choose from four classes – Warrior, Mage, Thief and Jew (a paladin-style class). Choosing a class is permanent, but the party system Obsidian has put in place means you can still use the various classes in battle – the catch being you can only upgrade your own skills as you level up. These buddies are party members who follow you around and serve as a separate turn in battle. You start off with blonde doofus Butters, but you can swap them in and out while exploring by pressing Select in exploration or via their radial wheel in combat. Each buddy has vastly different skills in a scrap (Jimmy’s health-buffing ballads are particularly useful), and learning to match the right party member with the right fight is one of the ways the combat works so brilliantly.