South Park: The Stick Of Truth - The Funniest Game Ever Made (And Quite Good Too)
The funniest game ever made? Almost certainly. But underneath that humour, is The Stick Of Truth actually any good?
Published on Feb 25, 2014
Douchebag The Jew.
That’s the name of our character, proudly shouted by Cartman seconds after we pick the Jew class from a selection of four (Douchebag The Mage just wouldn’t have had the same ring to it). Douchebag The Jew is armed with special moves like the Sling Of David and – wait for it – Jew-Jitsu. Of course.
If there was ever any doubt that South Park’s humour would be watered down or compromised for the sake of a game, it’s dispelled as early as the character class selection screen. And when have they ever been funny before?
Box-quote alert: this will be the funniest game ever made. It’s not that surprising, as this essentially plays out as a South Park episode that stretches to the running length of a videogame RPG. Whether it will keep up that gag rate for its entirety is debatable but what works in South Park: The Stick Of Truth’s favour is how smart and subtle some of the humour is.
It’s not even the shock factor of the I-can’t-believe-they-went-there laughs but the extra gags. At one point, you follow Cartman to his bedroom. We tried talking to his mum on the way and Cartman snaps back “don’t talk to her, she’s not part of the game.”
Revealing more gags would be ruining them but all you need to know is the humour is spot on - The Stick Of Truth is brilliant, self-aware and funny.
South Park: The Stick Of Truth - The RPG Mechanics
This would be for nothing if the game itself wasn’t any good but there’s a smart RPG system powering the combat, even if nothing here stands out as revolutionary. Direct attacks can be blocked or parried (opening up counterattack possibilities) while enemies can either assume Riposte or Reflect stances, deflecting physical or magical attacks.
Outside of direct attacks, you have skills to rely on – Sling Of David (spin the analogue stick to throw a rock), Jew-Jitsu (a series of timing martial arts strikes) and others that will inevitably be unlocked. You can also use items.
Chances are you’ll be thinking of items like Phoenix Downs and Bombs. You’re almost right. Phoenix Downs are now replaced with tacos that revive fallen party members when they get a waft of the Mexican snack, while Bombs are replaced by Shit Nuggets, exploding into a noxious cloud on impact that makes enemies vomit. And where do you find these Shit Nuggets? Clogging up your toilet, of course.
That sort of thinking runs deep throughout The Stick Of Truth. It’s an Obsidian RPG with a South Park twist on everything you do
South Park: The Stick Of Truth - Chin Balls?
What elevates The Stick Of Truth beyond standard RPG fare, besides the obvious South Park humour, is that there are plenty of extra touches that help keep you engaged in the downtime between combat.
As you explore South Park, you can attack freely. You can attack NPCs to hear them cry in pain, you can attack objects just for the sheer hell of it but most of all, you can attack cracks in walls or obstacles blocking pathways, leading secret items that often come in the form of new weapons or armour to put on. Such as chin balls. Which are balls you put on your chin. Ahem.
The point is that The Stick Of Truth rewards your efforts poking around South Park’s corners, even if it does take the form of chin balls.
Nintendo’s lawyers may also be interested to know that Chinpokomon have returned, following on from its South Park episode by showing up dotted around the town. Collecting them all will unlock an achievement, naturally.
Even recruiting to your party is done through exploration, as you find NPCs dotted about who will join your crew through a social media interface that definitely isn’t poking fun at Facebook (cough). It’s added incentive to keep exploring and completing side-quests – to meet new allies, to find new armour and weapons.
South Park: The Stick Of Truth - Stupid Mongolians
But it’s mostly about that South Park humour, which shines through everything in Stick Of Truth.
From meth tweekers to ginger kids, from City Wok to ‘stupid Mongolians’, from chin balls to Chinpokomon, this is the perfect combination of that trademark crass humour and Obsidian RPG brilliance.