I wouldn’t describe myself as a hardcore South Park fan. I watched the show through the 90’s during my teen years and enjoyed. Over the last ten or so years I have watched the occasional episode, and although I have outgrown some of the humour I still find it enjoyable. In the video game realm however, South Park had always struggled to find its place, that was until 2014 when Ubisoft released the much-anticipated RPG title, The Stick of Truth. It was a huge success, sticking true to the show, playing as a turn based, somewhat shallow RPG, Stick of Truth was a thoroughly enjoyable and humorous adventure. Now we are greeted with a direct sequel, The Fractured but Whole.
Stick of Truth had gamers fill the shoes of The New Kid, a child that had just moved to South Park. In an attempt to find friends and acceptance the new kid joins in a play act game, The Stick of Truth. Kids were at war to control the all-powerful Stick of Truth to rule South Park, in a game based on medieval Tolkien inspired fantasy. Well, it seems that The Stick of Truth has run its race and this time around the children have moved onto The Fractured but Whole. Cartman, has decided that super heroes are the new mainstay and his alliance, Coon and friends sets about to discover the mystery of the towns increase of missing Cats.
You reprise your role as The New Kid and have the choice of three differing superhero back stories/types. I took on the role of a blaster, who has the ability of using fire attacks. The brief background of my character saw me realise my abilities during a home invasion, which acts as a tutorial to your new abilities, and the end result is me walking into my parents’ bedroom to witness them having sex. Chances are, if your reading this you know the type of humour you’re in for, toilet humour, mixed with sexist and racist overtones that manages to never quite go too far.
The game world is reasonably large with plenty of things to do and places to explore. Exploration takes place on a 2.5 D map that is littered with characters from the show, famous personalities and a reasonable dose of puzzles to solve. These puzzles are all quite simple, some requiring fetching items and other needing the aid of one of your allies. There are twelve allies you unlock along the way and each can also aid you in combat.
The combat is again turn based, but this time Ubisoft has added a grid system which gives the combat a new layer of strategy. During combat you have different type of attacks that can be used, all the while building up your progression bar to allow you to unleash your Ultimate attack. Opponents also have these types of attacks, using the grid can help to avoid some of these. Whilst the combat is reasonably enjoyable, I did grow tired of some of the attacks and jokes that accompany them. The difficulty is also reasonably low, if you are after a hefty challenge you will feel cheated.
Like Stick of Truth, The Fractured but Whole seems to use the gameplay as a vehicle to keep a gamer involved to showcase a well told story. The actual gameplay is not particularly deep, although enjoyable. The story however is quite fantastic. I found myself laughing throughout, with most jokes keeping me entertained and even at times moving me emotionally.
The Fractured but Whole looks exactly like an episode of the cartoon. The township and the characters are faithfully recreated to perfection. Obviously, the cartoon isn’t exactly ground breaking in visuals but it is crafted well here. Likewise, the animation is the same, with the characters shuffling around without moving their legs. The characters are also voiced by their cartoon voice acting counterparts.
If you don’t like South Park or live your life as a left wing, politically correct thinking human you will not enjoy The Fractured but Whole. Fans of the show and Stick of Truth will have a blast, and will appreciate the additions to the combat system form the prequel. I did find that I had outgrown some of the humour here but still laughed along the way in what was an enjoyable sequel to a game that I was already a fan of.