South Park: The Stick of Truth – Preview
Being the new kid in town proves tough, especially if Eric Cartman decides to take an interest in you.
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Friday 15 June 2012
I don’t know if it’s a reflection of this year’s E3 show, or an indicator of my place within the geek spectrum, but seeing Trey Parker and Matt Stone wander on to the stage during Microsoft’s press briefing was one of this year’s highlights for me.
Why were they there? To introduce South Park: The Stick of Truth, the biggest South Park undertaking since 1999’s South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut movie, and a game which looks to have much going for it, even down to the ‘crappy’ look of the series (their words, not ours).
With Trey & Matt taking care of writing and voicing duties it’s no surprise that – assuming you “get” South Park in the first place – The Stick of Truth is a laugh a minute. From Cartman’s retort to Kyle when he suggests he could be the town’s saviour: ‘Jews can’t be saviours, remember?’ To Mr. Slave’s, let us dub it “tight squeeze” special attack.
Then consider the fact it’s being developed by Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights 2), so suggesting that we can expect a rich experience from both battle sequences and character development – though here’s hoping without New Vegas’ well publicised glitches.
During my behind closed doors look at the game, it was interesting to witness a game more reminiscent of the mid-range entries to the Final Fantasy series (from say numbers VI to X) with combat very much turn-based and the ability to summon special characters into the fray – the afore mentioned Mr. Slave for example – to inflict extra damage.
That’s not to say that combat is an exact copy of that of Final Fantasy, boss characters in South Park for example will have the opportunity to resurrect fallen members of their gang for example – something which the leader of the Vampire kids demonstrated with alarming regularity – while fights simply look different, representing scraps as opposed to mystical encounters.
Apparently that’s because Trey wanted a big part of the game to be ‘kids whacking other kids’– more schoolyard in the playground dust-ups than epic clashes. We wouldn’t rule out slightly more flashy encounters however, especially considering the rich heritage of the series which includes such giants as Mecha-Streisand, Professor Chaos, Satan and the “Super Best Friends”.
The demonstration opened with the new kid in town, i.e. you, moving in and setting out on a path to find new friends. With no-one willing to talk to him he’s taken under the wing of the ever unpopular Butters who advises him to ‘seek out the Wizard King.’ Yep, you’ve guessed it: one Eric Cartman.
With his fat ass sat atop a throne Cartman welcomes you into his “Kingdom” – consisting of Clyde and a kid with the ‘power of diabetes’ – and bids you go out on your first quest: to go out and order him some Kung Po chicken.
Cartman even allows you to tell him your name, so enabling to type in whatever moniker you’d like. In true Cartman style though he opts not to refer to you as whatever you type, but instead christens you ‘Douchebag’ – a level you can graduate from (I believe the next rank is ‘Butthole’) and so begins what is essentially the game’s experience system.
Players will be able to fully customise the look and accessories of the new kid to be either as close to their own visage or as random – facial hair, eye patches – as they want, while there are even character classes to choose from with cleric, mage, fighter and thief all mentioned.
Weapons are similarly outlandish with the “Vibroblade” (something borrowed from Catman’s mum) and a whole series or sticks, swords, throwing weapons and so on unveiled.
Worth the wait? The Stick of Truth certainly seems to have any South Park fan’s checklist thoroughly covered, from the input of Trey of Matt to the spot on animation which basically puts you in your own episode.
There are pitfalls: Obsidian can’t skimp on the combat (though that seems well covered), and also need to be wary of the over-repetition of jokes (whether those made during combat, or recurring themes within the plot). Get both of those right and I fully expect that ‘going down to South Park’ will have never been better.
For: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
When? Autumn 2012
Life & Style blogs
Other popular areas include Didsbury, Clifton in Bristol, central Cambridge and West Bridgford
Doctors are allowed to have personal beliefs, just as long as these beliefs do not interfere with th...
BBC journalist Justin Webb talks about his experiences of the advances in preventing heart attacks a...
Tim Cook gets a Senate grilling: Apple tax-avoidance schemes deemed 'highly questionable'
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
Meet David Karp, the 26-year-old high school dropout worth $275m after selling Tumblr to Yahoo
Game on: Xbox 720 and PS4 go head to head with Microsoft set to launch console today
Virtually Stephen Fry: Star launches (possibly) the world's most self-regarding app
- 1 'He was lucky he didn't die' - George Michael fell out of speeding car onto M1 motorway, according to eye witness
- 2 Austerity has hardened the nation's heart
- 3 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 4 X marks the spot: The find that could rewrite Australian history
- 5 'It was just like the movie Twister': Man survives Oklahoma tornado by taking refuge in horse stall
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
Negotiable: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BI Specialist - Contract - 6 Months -...
Negotiable: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BI, SAP BO, SAP EPM, SAP EIM, Contrac...
£50000 - £56000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE SAP ...
Negotiable: Orgtel: Change Manager, Hampshire, Telecomms, SC Cleared, £200 per...