Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s foul-mouthed elementary schoolers have returned to the video game scene in Ubisoft’s Games South Park: The Stick of Truth, which lives up to South Park’s reputation for bold humour and often feels more like watching the show than playing a video game.
The Stick of Truth does not require any exceptional pre-existing skills besides the ability to follow prompts and have patience for looking in every drawer, closet, garage and pile of garbage for usable items. Gamers looking for the ultimate challenge in defeating a complex and demanding video game should not play The Stick of Truth, which sees a large percentage of obstacles solved by farting on characters.
The game opens with a theatrical reimagining of the 1978 Lord of the Rings cartoon starring and narrated by the Wizard King — played by the show’s Eric Cartman — as he slays the filthy drow elves to gain control of the Stick of Truth.
“Whoever controls the Stick, controls the Universe,” the Wizard King says. The prophecies have foretold that the coming of the New Kid will decide the fate of the land of Zaron.
You are the New Kid. Your family has just moved to this “quiet mountain town” to escape from something left unexplained. Your character is eerily silent throughout the game, not answering any questions or voicing any opinions.
Your father forces you to go out and make some new friends. Without wasting any time, you go outside to rescue Butters Stotch as he is attacked by an elf. Butters becomes your friend and introduces you to the Wizard King — and everything just gets more and more ridiculous from here.
“What is your name, New Kid?” asks the Wizard King, to which I typed, “Braden.” The Wizard King replies with “Oh, your name is Douchebag, is that right? Welcome Douchebag, to the Koopa Keep Kingdom!”
You have now officially become a part of the KKK. You can choose to play as one of four classes: Warrior, Mage, Thief or Jew. The classes and acronym for the kingdom seem crass, but those familiar with the show’s humour won’t be surprised.
The game itself follows a relatively linear pattern, disallowing huge amounts of exploration or deviation from the main storyline. Through forcing a linear pattern, the theatrical scenes are kept in order and progress much like the South Park cartoon.
The writers of the game almost dare the player to try and explore random houses — one of the doors I tried opened to a man in a latex mask sodomizing a horse. The Stick of Truth is excessively foul, inappropriate and politically incorrect.
Unlike the titular Nintendo 64 South Park game, released in 1998, The Stick of Truth is not a first-person shooter and relies instead on a turn-based approach to combat similar to the Final Fantasy series or Pokemon.
For much of the game you are paired with a companion — Butters, Stan, Kenny and Jimmy to name a few — and wander the streets of South Park completing quests, upgrading your armour or weapons and fighting elves, meth-heads, rabid dogs and sixth graders — all while completing simple puzzles with interactive problem solving techniques.
Whether or not you are a fan of the show, you will find yourself laughing out loud as the storyline progresses from a group of kids live action role playing with household supplies as weapons to battling Nazi zombies that have taken over the town after a contamination of the local water supply by alien goo.
Things escalate rather quickly in this quiet mountain town, and The Stick of Truth delivers its fair share of inappropriate and ridiculous situations.