Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buy it if you're a SP fan, but savour it., 29 April 2014
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This review is from: South Park: The Stick of Truth (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
No doubt anyone thinking of buying this will already suspect that you need to admire South Park humour and the series to fully (and some might say even partially) appreciate this game, and that is entirely true; the humour is not a by product of the plot but essentially is the plot. If you hate the humour then this is definitely not the game for you because there aren't a couple of gags spread sporadically through the game; it absolutely depends on the gags and, as most people say, it should basically be considered as a long episode of the game.

If you do like South Park then this is a fantastic game. It doesn't pretend to be a fantastic RPG or to stand alone as genre defining game; I'm sure even Parker and Stone will admit to that. However, it does achieve a hell of a lot and I'll mention the good and bad points....starting with the good as these far outweigh the bad.

1. TIME. Other reviews state that the game can be completed in around 10-12 hours, if you rush this you can easily complete it in a couple of long sittings or a weekend. So if you really want to enjoy this game it should be savoured; it takes place over 3 days and 2 nights so each stage can be used as a good yardstick to know how far you are from the end. It is highly addictive so it's difficult not to apply the "just five more minutes" tactic, but patience is a virtue to aid the enjoyment. There are plenty of quests and side quests and a lot can be missed by not exploring everything properly and several times. With proper exploring and patience you can eke this out to 15 hours or longer, because there are different outcomes and classes along the way you can also try multiple classes and actions. Considering it is around £30 now I think that is good value for money alone, it's not something I will be storing away and never play again.

2. CUSTOMISATION/COLLECTIBLES. I see a lot of the gameplay as a nod to Final Fantasy and the ilk, you can customise, level up and try various items, combinations, outfits and weaponry. It's worth getting a lot of practice and exploring the different combinations rather than using the same method for each fight. You customise your own character along the way and there are plenty of items to purchase, find, steal or earn. There are plenty of collectibles to find too, some in areas you may not think to look.

3. GUIDES. I strongly recommend not reading any guides unless you are absolutely stuck, I suspect people that finished this game quickly and got all the collectibles used online guides and there are areas where you only have one chance to get items. I think it spoils the game to use guides to save time and the sense of achievement is worth it. I did use the guides when I was stuck with a certain fighting technique and to get some of the collectibles and I wish I hadn't as a bit of patience and strategy would have worked much better.

4. CHARACTERS. Being a sad South Park fan I have to admit that it was great when a favourite character appears, sadly there are some noticeable omissions and some tiny bit parts are accounted for as well. This game, unlike the others in the SP series, is really true to the show and it's great to interact and have commentary from the characters; a lot of them were probably after thoughts to weave into the game but were superbly done.

5. CONTROLS. The game handles really well, the controls are easy to master (bar a particular fight technique which I won't go into) and you can skip cut scenes you've seen before and fast travel to areas to avoid endless walking. Like FF the fight controls are turn based, which gives plenty of time for planning and enables you to strategically plan ahead. It's very user friendly to navigate and learn. There is one magic fighting technique which should have been worked on but on the whole it's fine. Like good RPGS you get summons, magic, combat and various specialities to master and experiment with.

The bad points?

1. CENSORSHIP. Yes, the European version is censored, however I don't think this detracts too much from the game. Being European we also suffered this on the DVD release of Season 14 and when you find out what is missed it isn't actually that big a deal. The people who whine and moan about it do so purely on principle, I agree with that but it isn't so heavily censored that you miss anything of great significance.

2. FIGHTING. As I said earlier, there is one fighting technique that was incredibly ridiculous to master. I still don't think I truly understood how it worked but got through on luck. There were a couple of moments that edged scarily close to the classic gamer frustration of "why do I bother!!" but suddenly it clicks. It felt like a bug to me as I wasn't doing anything different for it to suddenly succeed but it was really annoying, and you can't get progress until you master it. Although it was terrible, and the biggest downside for me, it doesn't impede the overall enjoyment to a great extent.

3. CANADA. I love the Canadians in SP, so was really looking forward to going there in the game, however, a good joke was overplayed a little upon going there and it wasn't what I expected. It was a funny gag but I was looking forward to exploring Canada properly.

If you are a South Park fan you are bound to love this game, or at least most of it. The biggest bad point is basically if you don't love South Park or that kind of humour then you will hate this game. Yes, it is one for the fans but even if you know little of South Park but find it quite funny it should still be enjoyable. Think of the bad points as tax you pay for the parts you do enjoy.

You will notice the bad reviews on here are short and tell you absolutely nothing (to date). This seems to be people who dwell on the censorship or expected a genre defining game rather than South Park spinoff. One in particular offers absolutely no justification for hating it other than his own word, which is crazy. All you need to know is whether you like SP or not. If you don't love it then avoid this at all costs as you are likely easily offended too.

If there are future updates and mini games that makes the purchase even more essential but what is most essential is that if you are worried about the time length remember the stages of the game (3 days and 2 nights) and try short bursts and lots of experimenting and exploration. The game will easily last quite a while that way.
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