The penultimate of THQ’s known titles to be released following the publishers demise, with Homefront 2 having the dubious pleasure of being the very last, South Park: The Stick of Truth has been a long time coming. Now expected to launch this holiday season the videogame blends two hugely popular creations into one unique experience: role-playing games (RPGs) and South Park: The Stick of Truth. Right now, it doesn’t look as if comedy gaming could get any better than this.
Despite not being playable during Electronic Theatre’s preview time, South Park: The Stick of Truth still managed to present a persuasive argument for investing in it’s comedy adventure. This is a South Park experience through-and-through, with the animation, characterisation and voice acting hitting that sweet spot perfectly. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD may be the virtual representation of an animated movie, but South Park: The Stick of Truth is the literal translation of playing an extended episode of South Park.
The mechanics of South Park: The Stick of Truth will be familiar to anyone who played a 16-bit RPG. The player moves freely about the environment interacting with objects and characters as they see fit, occasionally progressing the plot by way lf a non-interactive (and laugh-out-loud funny) cutscene. The enemies will typically be shown on-screen before engaging in combat (though Electronic Theatre was informed that occasional boss fights will break this rule) and players will be able to use the environment to get the upperhand before engaging in combat: in the sequence shown to Electronic Theatre the player was able to grab a dodgeball from the scenery and use it to take out one of the enemy team before the fight began.
Combat sequences take place in a turn-based format wherein the player picks the type of action they wish to commit to – attack, magic, item use etc. – and then the specific manoeuvre within that category. There were dozens of available actions available for each character in the preview build, but special attacks were kept strictly underwraps.
Even in the brief preview presentation given to Electronic Theatre, South Park: The Stick of Truth presented more than a dozen new reasons why any South Park fan should be excited. From the perfect animation and the passion for the source material, with a menu system designed like a social network and sex toys used as weapons, to the behaviour of the characters and the introduction to the world as Sir. Douchebag. Players not already involved with either RPGs or South Park will find little reason to get involved, but for the rest of us South Park: The Stick of Truth is one of the most exciting current-generation videogames still on the radar.