Don’t Go Breaking My Butt
I got home around 12 after buying my copy of South Park: The Fractured But Whole and rushed inside to play it. I turned it on and was immediately engrossed, only after getting a call from someone I was meant to pick up, did I realise how engrossed. It was 9, it had played for 9 hours straight. In case it wasn’t obvious, I enjoy South Park. The later seasons more so than the old ones, even if the older ones hold a special place in my heart. The satire and sometimes awful honesty that we chose to ignore is something I love and what Trey Parker and Matt Stone do best. They show us what we deserve to see in a light that makes us realise the ridiculousness of life while also being poignant and current.
This brings me to my first point, the topics this game deals with, in its special ridiculous way. Within this game, there are Parental issues, political correctness, police racism, general racism and genderphobia just to name a few. These are all dealt with a heavy and honest hand that often borderlines absurdity BUT that’s the point. This means as one episode usually focuses on one or two an episode, the game feels like an entire season of South Park, that you get to play. For me that’s one of the many reasons why I enjoy this game, it’s just more to love.
The storyline of this sequel is based around superheros this time, and not a fantasy aesthetic. This is internally mentioned in the game as to why: “When was the last time a fantasy movie grossed in the box office?!” Lucky for them, superheros are still riding that popularity high and it gives the developers and writers plenty to work with. Although saying that, it does seem to have less content than the last game (The Stick of Truth), which I don’t think is anyone’s fault but is apparent to most who have played both. This may be due to the first game being jam packed with content or perhaps developers decided to go with a more story based and stream lined game, both seem like possibilities. I can’t really mention the story without major spoilers but Cartmen and friends want to make a Netflix series based on the Coon and friends franchise, so they decide to track down a lost cat for $100 reward and it spirals from there. Any more information would just ruin it, so ill leave it there but believe me when I say its definitely South Park and it’s the perfect amount of crazy.
That then leads to the next important factor that I need to mention, the gameplay. The game is half exploring and half fighting, both are evenly balanced (until the end). As for exploring the town and finding many, many collectables (including my favourite of the series Craig X Tweek yaoi) its very much the same as before. You walk around talking to people, loot people’s belongings and find hilarious Easter eggs hidden in the very specific items you find along the way. The other type of gameplay is the most exciting and that’s the gridded combat system. When I first saw previews of it, I was overwhelmed and reluctant as I enjoyed the easy to understand final fantasy style turn based combat from the first game. But as I started the game and began to learn, it became super easy to understand and was one of my favourite parts of this sequel. Another change to combat was the added class system, which let you change and customise your hero in a multitude of ways, which made this game even more enjoyable as it become more personalised. Throughout the game you’ll get a few opportunities to add new classes and create your own ultimate class with 12 main classes to pick from.
The graphics and music were both in typical south park fashion, with the graphics being their special brand of crappy but loveable (with some added special effect for gaming) and the music being fantastic, as Matt and Trey are genuinely talented in that respect. They may not have had a major hand in the creation but I doubt would let it be anything less than great.
I keep saying how great this game is and for the most part, it is, that’s not to say that its flawless. Throughout my 16 hours of gameplay I came across a few glitches which actually hindered my progress massively. One of the mechanics of the new combat system is that two characters can’t occupy the same square at the same time, which is normally fine, but as I revived one of my characters with every other square around being occupied, my game “glitched out” and nothing could happen. Aside from a few things like that happening, the only other major issue I had with the game was a little bit of content that I didn’t think was funny and just found offensive. Now I understand that its futile to think that South Park “went too far” or something similar but it didn’t ruin my experience, I just didn’t love it as much as I loved the rest of the game.
All in all, this game was great. I enjoyed all 16 hours that I played and I would play it again when all the DLC comes out. It became a little frustrating at the end when it seemed to just be constant battle after battle, especially when it glitched a few times but even then, it was an enjoyable experience. I would recommend you play the first (which is given when you buy the second) and follow it quickly with this one to gain the most from both. Play this game, enjoy this game, and thank me later.