Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Vote Now: Jameson Empire Awards 2015
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
The 2014 Christmas Gift Guide
Get 12 Issues For Only £25 Today
The perfect gift this Christmas
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

PACKSHOT
South Park: The Stick Of Truth

GAME DETAILS
Released
05 March 2014
Format
PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Developer
Obsidian Entertainment

LATEST GAME REVIEWS
Grand Theft Auto V Reissue
5 Star Empire Rating
LittleBigPlanet 3
4 Star Empire Rating
Far Cry 4
4 Star Empire Rating
Dragon Age: Inquisition
5 Star Empire Rating
Assassin's Creed: Rogue
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Grand Theft Auto V Reissue
5 Star Empire Rating
Dragon Age: Inquisition
5 Star Empire Rating
Sunset Overdrive
5 Star Empire Rating
Civilisation: Beyond Earth
5 Star Empire Rating
Bayonetta 2
5 Star Empire Rating

South Park: The Stick Of Truth


submit to reddit

South Park: The Stick Of Truth (2014)
Review
Welcome to South Park, new kid – now pick a side. With the regular assortment of profanity-spewing nine-year olds waging an epic Dungeons and Dragons-style campaign, you’ll be torn between siding with King Kyle of the woodland elves, and Grand Wizard Cartman, ruler of the human Kingdom of Kupa Keep.

Yep, The Stick of Truth starts off with a KKK joke, eliminating any worries that the game might pull its punches, at least so far as taste goes. That it then escalates into a typically bizarre escapade involving downed UFOs, government cover-ups, and Nazi zombies only cements it as the sort of unrestrained farce the TV show excels at.

As a game, this is essentially ‘South Park does Final Fantasy’. Battles are a snappy twist on genre-standard turn-based combat, where each action requires a specific input to successfully pull off. While you’ll only have two party members – your own custom character and one of six partners: Stan, Kyle, Kenny, Cartman, Butters, or Jimmy – there’s considerable strategy and customisation thanks to unique skills and dozens of ‘strap on’ modifiers that affect stats and bonuses. Each character’s abilities can be called on out of combat too, helping you navigate South Park itself, or manipulate the environment to take out enemies before combat begins.

Less impressive are farts, used in place of magic. In or out of battle, these are annoyingly fiddly to use, largely because the clouds of explosive waste gas are near-invisible on-screen. One ‘spell’ in particular also suffers from an immensely frustrating and imprecise tutorial, almost enough to send controllers flying through screens in rage. It would be forgivable if these attacks were eventually helpful, but they’re so ineffectual that you’ll likely never use them except when prompted.

However, as an adaptation of Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s work goes, this is something of a mixed bag. On the positive side, it boasts excellent dialogue – Cartman comes across as wonderfully hateful as ever, Randy as brilliantly stupid, Butters as endearingly naive. Visually, it can’t be faulted – playing Stick of Truth is like watching a South Park marathon, indistinguishable from the weekly series. Even the humour hits the mark, for the most part, with summons of supporting characters being a particularly hilarious delight – Mr Hanky washing away enemies with a tide of effluence in an homage to Fantasia’s The Sorceror’s Apprentice sequence, or Jesus descending from on high to dispense heavenly justice from the business end of an assault rifle.

What’s missing though is any sense of satire. There’s no edge to the script, nothing being lampooned. Peel back the veneer of South Park’s obscenities and it’s a very intelligent show. In comparison, this feels more like it’s playing to the cheap seats, with little beyond a few gags at the expense of video games as a medium to even hint at the wit the writers are capable of. It’s funny, but there’s nothing beneath the humour.

Saddest of all is that the European console release is censored, omitting scenes of alien anal probes and an over-the-top abortion, amongst others. Given Parker and Stone’s stance against censorship, it’s an odd choice – especially when material such as dodging flailing testicles mid-coitus remain untouched. Even stranger, the text screens used in place of the scenes are graphically descriptive, and the PC release is remains uncut.

The Stick Of Truth remains an enjoyable game though, with a wealth of bonus content for series devotees to uncover. It’s just not as sharp or challenging as the source material can be, and anyone wanting the unexpurgated take will have to stick to the PC version.


Reviewed by Matt Kamen

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

6 issues for £20 plus free Gourmet Society Membership worth £69.95!
Get 6 months of Empire for just £20 and not only receive the world's greatest movie magazine and exclusive subscriber covers but you'll also receive up to 50% off restaurants nationwide and more with a free Gourmet Society Membership worth £64.99!Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Spoiler Podcast
Featuring the director, Francis Lawrence

Empire's Jurassic World Trailer Tour
Updated: Director Colin Trevorrow guides us through the first trailer

Vote Now: The Jameson Empire Awards 2015
Tell us your favourite films and stars of the year

The Gift Guide 2014: 50 Must-Have Items This Christmas
Box sets, hardware, clothing, books and stocking fillers to buy

Empire's Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies Covers
Five armies. Five covers. The eagles, dwarves, elves, men and orcs prepare for battle in our Peter Jackon guest-edited issue

Josh Hutcherson On The Hunger Games Phenomenon
'I've done my fair share of young adult material now'

What Is A Squidward? A Beginner's Guide To SpongeBob SquarePants
If you aren’t already a massive fan, prepare to become one

Subscribe to Empire magazine
6 issues for £20 plus free Gourmet Society Membership worth £69.95!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)