E3 2012: South Park: The Stick of Truth first look

South Park: The Stick of Truth Screenshot - South Park: The Stick of Truth - 1

Up until recently, when games based on the South Park franchise have come out, they’ve stunk something fierce.  Acclaim is mostly to blame for this, releasing garbage like South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack and the completely unplayable South Park Rally.  But there’s been a slight turnaround as of late.  Tenorman’s Revenge, which came out for Xbox Live Arcade a couple of months back, isn’t the greatest game out there, but it shows initiative and care for the license.  And now we have an even bigger project with a better amount of respect…even if it is raunchy as hell.

South Park: The Stick of Truth, which comes out for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, marks a huge turning point for the franchise in games.  Number one, Obsidian Entertainment is on board, a modestly respectable studio that’s worked on a number of games, including Alpha Protocol.  Number two, the show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are directly involved, providing the script and dialogue for each of the characters.  So you know it’s bad…er, good, right?

The story involves a “new kid” – one that you help customize – as your family moves into the neighborhood.  Your parents wish to “celebrate” in their own special way, so they send you off to make friends.  It’s here you run into Butters, who’s taking part in an elaborate game with the kids based (very) loosely on Lord of the Rings.  Cartman heads the group, and immediately labels you “douchebag”.  But that’s actually a mark of acceptance, believe it or not.

As you proceed through the game, you’ll interact with the world the same way you would in a turn-based role playing game.  You’ll click on items (like the Pool of Vision, which is really an inflatable pool filled with water) and talk with folks who interact with you.  You’ll wander around a virtual South Park world, one created by Stone and Parker, and it looks EXACTLY like the show, complete with jittery animation and character designs that are of the same cardboard cutout variety.  Obsidian did a great job putting this thing together.

But the real bread and butter of the game are the battles.  Here, you’ll engage in turn-based skirmishes with rogue kids and even a few vampires, in which you’ll call upon special techniques like Cartman’s fiery blast (a thunderous fart that covers the screen) and your new kid’s sparkler attack.  Perhaps the most obnoxious attack came from Mr. Slave, who came charging out, sans pants, and jumped on his opponent, absorbing them into his butt and walking off with them.  WE ARE DEAD SERIOUS.  We laughed so hard we literally couldn’t stop rolling.on the ground.  It was that good.

South Park: The Stick of Truth isn’t for those who aren’t into the show, but fans will absolutely love it, based on what we’ve seen.  THQ has it set for a release on March 5 for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and we’ll have a full review around that time.  Prepare for awesome douchebagness.

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Robert Workman
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Games: South Park: The Stick of Truth

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