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South Park: The Stick of Truth is a role-playing video game, based on the American animated television show South Park. The game was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. Originally scheduled for a April 30, 2013 release, the game was delayed due to the financial decline of then publishing company THQ, the game was delayed again due to THQ going bankrupt on January 23, 2013 but the publishing rights was purchased by Ubisoft. On September 26, 2013, it was announced that the game would be released in North America on December 10, 2013, in Australia on December 12, 2013, and in Europe on December 13, 2013. However, on October 31, 2013, it was announced that the game had been delayed again, and was released on March 4, 2014 in North America, March 6, 2014 in Australia and on March 7, 2014 in Europe except in Germany and Austria due to the game containing references to the Nazi Germans.
Development for the game started in 2010, details about that games were announced in a issue of Game Informer magazine in early December 2011. A trailer was revealed at E3 2012, it was also revealed that there would be multiple DLC packs, the first 3 of which will debut on Xbox 360 first and the DLC pack "Mysterion Superhero" would be an Xbox 360 exclusive. It was also announced that the Xbox 360 version would feature Kinect integration, allowing the user to use voice control including the ability to berate Cartman. However, Kinect support was dropped after the game was acquired by Ubisoft.
Upon release, South Park: The Stick of Truth received positive reviews. Many reviews praising the humor and the style. While criticizing the lack of challenge in the gameplay and the technical issues.
The Stick of Truth follows "The New Kid", who has moved with his parents to South Park to escape his forgotten past. Sent out to make friends, The New Kid quickly befriends Butters, Kenny McCormick and their leader Cartman, who are role-playing as humans in a fantasy war with the drow elves, led by Kyle and Stan. The New Kid, dubbed "Douchebag", is introduced to the Stick of Truth, a coveted item of unlimited power.
The elves attack Cartman's backyard castle of Kupa Keep and take the Stick. Angry at his follower, Clyde's failure to protect the Stick, Cartman banishes him from the group. In order to retake the Stick, Cartman orders "Douchebag" to summon his best warriors: Token, Tweek, and Craig. Douchebag recruits the trio, and subsequently learns that the powerful bard, Jimmy, has the Stick. The humans attack Jimmy at the Inn of the Giggling Donkey, and recover the Stick. That night, while Douchebag sleeps, he and several town residents are abducted by aliens. Douchebag escapes his confinement with the help of Stan's dad Randy, and crashes the ship into the town's mall.
By morning, the crash has been covered up by the government, with the explanation that a Taco Bell is being built. Douchebag visits Kupa Keep and learns that the Stick was again stolen by the Elves. Cartman tasks Douchebag with recruiting the goth kids, who demand that Douchebag prove he is a non-conformist. Randy agrees to help Douchebag in his quest in exchange for Douchebag infiltrating the Taco Bell to discover its secrets. Douchebag sneaks into the crash site and retrieves a recording of government agents discussing their plot to destroy the town, in order to wipe out alien goo released from the ship that turns living creatures into Nazi Zombies; an infected person escapes government containment, unleashing the virus on South Park.
That night, Cartman or Kyle (dependant on who the player chooses to follow) leads their respective side against the opposition at the school. After defeating their opponents, the kids learn that neither side has stolen the Stick. Clyde is revealed to have stolen the Stick for revenge at his banishment; he rallies defectors from the humans and elves, and uses the alien goo to create his own Nazi Zombies. The humans and elves band together to stop Clyde, but are forced to find new recruits to oppose Clyde's dark army. At night, Douchebag is awoken by Gnomes stealing his underpants; during his pursuit of them, Douchebag gains the ability to change size at will.
Out of desperation, Douchebag is ordered to invite the girls to play the game. The girls agree to help, after Douchebag helps discover which of their friends has been spreading gossip; he infiltrates an abortion clinic to recover records of an abortion—written in French—and then travels to Canada to have them translated. Flanked by the girls and Star Trek role-players, the humans and elves attack Clyde's Dark tower, fighting through his army. Randy arrives and reveals that the government agents have planted a nuclear device in Mr. Slave's anus to blow up South Park, forcing Douchebag to shrink down and enter Mr. Slave to disarm the bomb. Douchebag finally confronts Clyde, and is forced to battle a resurrected Nazi Zombie Chef; Chef is defeated and Clyde decides he is not playing anymore.
The government agents arrive, revealing that Douchebag went into hiding to escape them because of his innate ability to make friends on Facebook, which the government wanted to use for its own ends. Learning of the Stick's power, the Chief Agent takes it for himself and bargains with Douchebag to help him use it in exchange for sharing the power. Douchebag refuses, but Princess Kenny betrays the group, using the stick to fight them and ultimately infecting himself with the Nazi virus. Unable to defeat Princess Kenny, Cartman suggests that Douchebag break their sacred rule, by farting on Kenny's balls. Cartman subdues Kenny, allowing Douchebag to fart on his balls; the resulting explosion defeats Kenny, and completely cures the town of the Nazi virus.
In the epilogue, as South Park rebuilds, the group retrieves the Stick of Truth, but decide that its power is too great for any person to hold and throw it into Stark's Pond. Bored of the game, the boys decide to play something else, but Douchebag says "Screw you guys, I'm going home" and leaves; Cartman replies, "Wow, what a dick!
The South Park franchise isn't new to video games, other South Park games include South Park (Nintendo 64), South Park: Chef's Luv Shack and South Park Rally released between 1998 and 2000, and more recently South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!, released in 2009, and South Park: Tenorman's Revenge, released in March 2012 but these games had very little involvement with the creators of South Park Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
The Obsidian team who worked on the game was relatively small, "maxing out" at around 50 people. Many artists also had to be hired from outside the company, since many of the artists already working at the studio preferred working in three dimensions, rather than in the two-dimensional environment of the game. Some other staff at the studio also didn't feel comfortable working on a South Park-related game due to its controversial subject matter. Stone and Parker initiated talks with Obsidian Entertainment on their own behalf, as opposed to the more common route whereby a publisher acquires the license before contacting the developer. This presented the game developers the unusual opportunity of being able to collaborate directly with the license holders. Consequently, Stone and Parker, who are avid gamers themselves, possessed much more creative control in comparison to previous South Park video games, to which they were able to contribute very little.
Design and gameplay
The game is set in a two-dimensional world, similar to the cut-out animation of the show. To this end, the developers created two proof-of-concept pieces for Stone and Parker; a suite of the South Park gas station and an interactive version of Stan's house, featuring a highly customizable avatar and detailed interactions with the environment (as well as Randy, clad in his underwear, playing Guitar Hero). The creators were reportedly incredibly impressed at Obsidian's recreation of the show's every last detail, right down to the texture of the construction paper. Upon seeing the presentation, Matt Stone favorably commented, "It's like playing the show!"
Obsidian was granted access to 15 years' worth of Maya assets that were used in the making of the series; specific sequences (such as the show's distinctive walking animations) were reverse engineered and integrated into the game. The game runs on the Dungeon Siege III engine, which had to be heavily retrofitted to display the desired two-dimensional graphics.
The gameplay features turn-based combat similar to the Paper Mario and Final Fantasy games. However, fighting also has a timing component to it, with well-timed successive inputs resulting in larger combos or more successful defending. The game also features a "buddy" system, which allows the player to summon other characters to help in battle, such as Jesus and Mr. Slave. Most battles will involve the player and his party against a group of enemies. Players will also control all members of their party so that they can remain in control throughout combat. The all weapons, armor, and gear look as if they were created or found by children. Obsidian says one can expect to see weapons such as rolling pins and wooden swords, and armor such as football helmets and pasta strainers. The combat of the game is described as, in essence, "kids being kids" (i.e. "little bastards"), with lots of "juvenile violence" with "unsafe toys" - including flaming tennis balls, gardening implements and ninja stars.
The game allows you to create your own character and choosing different classes; Fighter, Mage, Thief and Jew; A paladin/monk type class invented by Cartman. The game also gives Quests, they're grounded within the South Park canon, with one example being retrieving Kung Pao chicken from City Wok for Cartman. The way to City Wok may be imagined into something else, but the emphasis remains on making the player feel as if they are in the South Park universe. In this capacity, Stone and Parker have taken a direct role in the direction of the game's plot and general atmosphere. Currently disclosed items include "health and mana potions" such as sodas and speed-augmenting items such as Tweek's coffee. Weapons include hammers, bow and arrows, crutches, baseball bats, staffs, dodgeballs, golf clubs, swords, shovels, sickles, and etc. Items can be picked up from fallen enemies, bought, and taken from other things. Although few details have been released, it appears that there will be multiple collectables throughout South Park. The two that have been confirmed so far include dirty magazines and Chinpokomon dolls. Some never-before-seen Chinpokomon toys that were cut from the show is also featured in the game.
The game was first announced in the Game Informer magazine South Park special, and its digital version. Later, the debut trailer was revealed at E3 2011. At the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards, a parody of The Hobbit featuring Cartman was showcased at the beginning of the event. A preorder bonus was announced also which included the following:
- The Necromancer Sorcerer costume bestows bonus fire damage upon those who wear it.
- Ranger Elf costume offers bonus weapon damage.
- Rogue Assassin costume will net you bonus gold.
- The Holy Defender costume will boost your defense.
The other pre-order bonus is Super Samurai Spaceman Pack, which comes with a different three costumes.
- The Superhero costume will buff you at the start of combat.
- The Samurai costume buffs you when you defeat an enemy.
- The Spaceman costume will give you an emergency shield.
You get the Ultimate Fellowship Pack when you pre order at selected retailers. You get the Super Samurai Spaceman Pack at other retailers. Pre-ordering on Ubishop gets you both.
When THQ was still in existence the preorder pack was the Good Times With Weapons pack based on the episode with the same name. It Included:
- The Bulrog Chicken Attack, summon the devastating ninja powers of Bulrog and turn your feeble enemies into chickens!
- Cartman's Kick-Ass Sai, the ultimate weapon of destruction, penetrate even the most evil of villains!
- Samurai Costume. Show off your brute muscle with this bad-ass getup.
Before the game came out, three episodes of the show were aired as a prequel to the game. The episodes were "Black Friday", "A Song of Ass and Fire", and "Titties and Dragons". IGN's Max Nicholson said the episode "felt like a sneak peek" for the game, and if nothing else, was "good marketing" in light of the numerous delays to the release of the game.
In the game, the player gets to perform two abortions as well as a anal probe mini game that the player gets to play. Due to this, the game was censored in Europe, Middle East, and African regions.
PEGI rated the uncut version of the game PEGI 18. However, the game's publisher Ubisoft submitted a second revision of the game to PEGI with several scenes removed. The censored version also received a PEGI 18 rating and this censored release was distributed in several European countries.
|GameRankings|| (PC) 87.06%|
|Metacritic|| (PS3) 86/100|
|Computer and Video Games||9/10|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||8.5/10|
South Park: The Stick of Truth received positive reviews from critics. Aggregating review website GameRankings provides an average rating of 87% based on 26 reviews for the Microsoft Windows version, 85% based on 15 reviews for the PlayStation version, and 84% based on 29 reviews for the Xbox 360 version. Metacritic provides a score of 85 out of 100 from 45 critics for the Microsoft Windows version, 85 out of 100 from 28 critics for the PlayStation 3 version, and 82 out of 100 from 31 critics for the Xbox 360 version.
The game was considered a successful adaptation of licensed material to a video game, with critics describing it as one of, if not the most faithful video game adaptation ever, such that moving the player character was like walking on the set of the show. GamesRadar said that The Stick of Truth was to South Park as Batman: Arkham Asylum was to the Batman franchise, in terms of reverence to the source material while breaking new ground in video games, and Computer and Video Games noted that the game contained so many references to the show's history that it made Batman: Arkham City appear sparse. Destructoid said that the ability to walk around the detailed town provided a sense of wonderment similar to exploring The Simpsons' home town in Virtual Springfield. The visual translation was highlighted as a significant component of game's success, appearing indistinguishable from an episode of the show, and providing a consistent aesthetic that remained true to the series while being original to gaming. Some reviewers noted that the art style was occasionally detrimental, obscuring objects and prompts, and repetitive use of animations grew stale over the course of the game. Computer and Video Games said that Obsidian had built a game world that seemed like it had always existed.
- ↑ South Park: The Stick of Truth for PC. GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ South Park: The Stick of Truth for PlayStation 3. GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ South Park: The Stick of Truth for Xbox 360. GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ South Park: The Stick of Truth for PlayStation 3 Reviews. Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ South Park: The Stick of Truth for PC Reviews. Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ South Park: The Stick of Truth for Xbox 360 Reviews. Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ Elliot, Matthew (March 4, 2014). Review: South Park - The Stick of Truth is shameless, hilarious and surprisingly complex. Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ South Park: The Stick Of Truth review. Edge (March 4, 2014). Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ Carsillo, Ray (March 4, 2014). EGM Review: South Park: The Stick of Truth. Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ Ryckert, Dan (March 4, 2014). A Funny And Faithful Adaptation - South Park: The Stick of Truth. Game Informer. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ VanOrd, Kevin (March 4, 2014). South Park: The Stick of Truth Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ Cooper, Hollander (March 4, 2014). South Park: The Stick of Truth Review. GamesRadar. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ Damiani, Michael (March 4, 2014). South Park: The Stick of Truth - Review. GameTrailers. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ Liebl, Matt (March 4, 2014). South Park: The Stick of Truth Review: Come on down and meet some friends of mine. GameZone. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ McCaffrey, Ryan (March 4, 2014). South Park: The Stick of Truth Review. IGN. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ Sterling, Jim (March 4, 2014). South Park: The Stick of Truth Review - A Storm of Swear Words. The Escapist. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ Williamson, Steven (March 4, 2014). South Park: The Stick of Truth Review - a side-splitting RPG with real character. PlayStation Universe. Retrieved on March 4, 2014
- ↑ Hannley, Steve (4 March 2014). Review: South Park: The Stick of Truth. Hardcore Gamer. Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved on 5 March 2014
- ↑ Game Critics Awards 2012 Winners. Game Critics Awards. Retrieved on 7 March 2014