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We live in a time when games are largely inoffensive and try to blend into the background to a degree. I guess someone forgot to tell the folks at Ubisoft and South Park Digital Studios because South Park: The Fractured But Whole blows that premise out of the water in spectacular fashion.
Those easily offended should look away now — South Park: The Fractured But Whole is lewd, crude and oh so glorious. If you’ve played the previous game, The Stick of Truth, you know what you’re in for here. The same is true if you’ve watched the wildly popular TV series, too.
The Stick of Truth was at its heart a very basic RPG, with very little depth anywhere. It was mostly the story that kept you going and combat was just a diversion. This time around it’s a little more fleshed out, with isometric battlefields and an artifact system that boosts specific abilities, but it’s no Skyrim or Witcher in that respect.
But that’s fine because the story and atmosphere of the town of South Park (easily a character in its own right) take centre stage. As soon as the obligatory tutorials are over, I imagine most people, like me, will spend the next couple of hours exploring every nook and cranny of the town and soaking up the sights.
And the sights you see are spectacular — violent sixth graders, rabid priests, junkies, hillbillies and even Morgan Freeman — but that’s only scratching the surface of what is within.
Graphically the game plays like an episode of the TV series, which means it won’t be winning any awards for graphical fidelity, but it looks tremendous. The way the characters and environment is animated is absolutely spot on, and you can see it was a labour of love for Ubisoft and the creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s development studio.
The minigames in this game revolve around visiting every toilet in town and, well, let’s just say ‘‘using the facilites’’, with various difficulty levels.
Let’s be honest — you’re either going to love this game or despise it.
For me, South Park: The Fractured But Whole oozes charm. There are few licensed games that have this level of care put into them.
Once again, the fan service is through the roof, but the game remains accessible to people not overly familiar with the South Park universe.
Utterly essential if you enjoy juvenile (and occasionally very deep) humour.
South Park The Fractured But Whole
For: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: (R16) ★★★★+
- by Simon Bishop