Oh my god, they killed it!
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is an RPG set in the South Park Universe, it was developed by Ubisoft San Francisco with the help of South Park Digital Studios and published by Ubisoft. It was released on October 17th 2017 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, being the sequel to the Stick of Truth. The game has received a lot of help from the creators of the hit TV show, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, using source material to keep the game true to the show’s controversial and comical universe.
[Reviewed on PC]
Graphics-wise, it’s actually staying true to the cartoon style of the show, everything looking almost exactly like it does on the show. This makes it seem like it is actually an interactive episode of South Park, which is a good thing in my book. One thing to notice is that the game runs on the Snowdrop engine, the same engine that powered The Division, showing how flexible the engine is, but makes the optimization deceitful. This means that TFBW it is a bit more demanding of lower end systems and most mid-tier laptops with a dedicated GPU. This is surprising given the visual fidelity of the game, it really doesn’t look like it should demand a whole lot from your system, but somehow it does.
The audio is not deeply memorable, but it does not have a great soundtrack, something that I would call significant in other games. But it is inspired off superhero films, and more acts like a filler to make fights a bit more alive. Voice acting gets a good point out of it due to it being genuine and staying true to the show. Whereas many other video game developers either opt-in to get the best in the business or try to find their best sound-alikes, South Park is blessed with it’s recognizable (and affordable) cast that are pertinent to the impact of the show. Eric Cartman wouldn’t be the same without his trademark Cartman voice.
The plot is set exactly one day after the Stick of Truth ends, where we take control of New Kid once again, this time dropping the fantasy theme for a more modern super-hero plot, where Cartman and his friends decide to search for a missing cat so they can get 100$ to kick-start their own franchise. This takes them through different conflict plotlines and sub-plots in between, such as the Civil War -inspired conflict between Coon and Friends (Cartman, Kyle,Clyde, Jimmy and Craig) and the Freedom Pals (Timmy, Kenny, Stan, Tweek, Token) or against Professor Chaos (Butters). Character-Wise, pretty much all the characters are from the show, the kids taking obvious Marvel insipred super-hero personas and, well, other iconic characters such as Randy, Mr Mackney, the PC Principal, Father Maxi, Jesus and the list goes on. I mean, we even have the obvious Morgan Freeman running a taco shop. The plot is pretty interesting, however I wouldn’t really call it ground-breaking. However it has its funny moments, which are a lot, and well, some are sexual, some are offensive and some are just fart jokes. The dialouge is really good, especially since it is amplified by the original voice actors and the small chit-chat and occasional information from the bystanders is pretty interesting. Overall, the story plot does not take itself too serious and it is a welcome comedic break from all the gritty “important” stories from other games released this year.
TFBW takes a 2.5D style in combat, allowing for more freedom in your engagements compared to the previous game. New Kid will progressively have access to all 10 classes as we progress through the game, being able to equip abilities from all these classes, 4 at a time, giving the player more freedom in customizing his skills. The companion system is back, allowing you to pick additional 3 companions to help you during the fight, each having unique abilities according to his archetype. For example, Kyle the Human Kite is a support, being able to heal his allies, while Super Craig is a tank which can taunt enemies. Another element that’s returning is turn-based combat, instead this time it takes place on a grid thanks to the 2.5 D system, the characters being able to move freely around the grid. Attacks also affect different areas of the grid. Because of this, the combat is really well done, being a part that is heavily improved from the first game. One downgrade from the first game is the fact that your gear no longer affects your gear level, instead the system is now based on artifacts, which increases your Might, one part which offers more freedom in how you look, but tones down on the RPG element of the game.
South Park TFBW is a really, really interesting game. t is a welcome comedic break from other games released like Halo, Gears, Assasin’s Creed, adding nuance to Ubisoft’s lineup of games. It is an okay RPG, but what makes this game fun is the South Park aspect, seeing the kids act as superheroes with improvised costumes, made-up lairs, red building bricks as lava and much more. Combined with the crude but a bit toned down humor of south park to make this sequel censor-free, it is a more unique game and a somewhat easy to learn RPG that makes it stand out more than other game released this year
I do recommend it, even though I didn’t have as much fun with it, it should be in your backlog list as one of those games to be played when you are really bored. It is available now for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, but I do not see it as a $60 buy due to some of its flaws and how it is made more for South Park fans rather than the average gamer. I’m not saying you won’t enjoy it if you are not into South Park, but if you love the show, this should be a pick up for you!