South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a love letter for South Park fans from its beloved creators.
Be warned… spoilers may occur.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a clever game… a dumb clever game. Fresh off the events of the first game, the kids are on a mission to create their own superhero franchise and make a ton of money, because who doesn’t want an awesome movie franchise and loads of cash?
The game kicks off with Cartman narrating a typical troubled hero and basic plot of the game, when he finds a missing cat poster for a $100 reward. This becomes the catalyst for events to take place, and the kids to gain their franchise capital.
You still play as the new kid, starting the game still in the time of fantasy and Stick of Truth. You have been summoned to Cartman’s house. This serves as the initial tutorial. You must then fight your way through the armies of elves with your fellow knights to reach the Stick of Truth. This is where the game takes its superhero turn, with Cartman’s news of the missing cat.
This is definitely an improvement of the first game. The movement of the character is a lot faster than its predecessor.
As for the town of South Park it is its own character. It is rich and busting with life; it truly feels alive. And being able to explore the homes of familiar faces adds depth to experience in general. The town encourages exploration, and the best part is that there is no extra fluff pieces to pick up and create busy work.
During pieces of the game I would completely forget I was playing a game, feeling rather that I had been transported into an episode of South Park. The way in which the creators are able to take you from a game experience to being in an episode is brilliantly smooth. The storytelling is pure South Park, and it is evident that the creators are behind this and are telling a story they want to tell.
(Did anyone else notice the bust stop was branded with the words DLC?)
I am normally not a fan of turn based combat. However, South Park: The Fractured But Whole definitely swayed my opinion.
On the whole the combat learning curve is not steep. Once you figure out the button prompts it is actually very simple, even on heroic mode. Although being not overly complicated and with foes fairly simple, I kept finding myself itching for more fight scenarios and sixth graders to crush.
Now having briefly played Stick of Truth, the combat system in The Fractured But Whole is a ball park improvement. The combat is fluid, the powers are well animated and the polish is really well thought out. You can feel there is impact and damage being done. It’s not perfect though, and I will touch on that later on.
The simplicity of the combat mechanics definitely swayed my stance on turn based combat, the strategy, matching up your team mates combining strengths. I cannot say if other turn based combat is structured like this, but if it were, I would be playing a lot more similar games. Add a steeper learning curve and this system would be a diamond.
During the game there were very few bugs, which is surprising for a title coming from Ubisoft.
However a Ubisoft game would not be a Ubisoft game without any issues, and during the last quarter of South Park: The Fractured But Whole, your character is rewarded all the hero abilities in the game. Upon unlocking every ability I did notice a few hiccups and clipping issues with my character and his moves.
Now having not had all the powers throughout the game I cannot determine if this is an end game bug or a bug that belongs to one of the powers throughout the game.
The buddy matches you make throughout the game are funny at first, but after some time, their repetitive animations and dialogue that you cannot skip through are well… repetitive.
A lot of the dialogue also gets repetitive, but that is what happens in an RPG: the characters don’t progress unless you do.
What I love about South Park: The Fractured But Whole is how it pokes fun at other games and itself for typical game tropes like the store, side quests for NPC’s and just about everything a game can do that deserves to be ripped on. For instance NPC’s that are always standing around in games doing the same animations and dialogue, will repeat lines such as “Feel like I’ve been waiting for this bus for 3 years”.
The game concludes just as an episode would, and that is ultimately its whole point: to be playing an interactive episode of South Park. But with awesome super powers and mega farts.
On the whole (heh, get it), South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a load of fun and even warranted a second play through. And although it has Ubisoft behind it, this game is well worth its praise.
For a review of the awesome Wolfenstein 2, click here.