South Park has been on the air for over 20 years. During that time, it’s grown from pure toilet humour to hilarious commentary on society, the media, politics and everything in between. The new game South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a solid mix of both styles. It’s a South Park fan’s dream come true. The only thing holding it back from reaching true levels of greatness is the uninspired nature of the town itself.
As the sequel to 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole can feel overly familiar at times. It’s the same suburban streets, same houses and same landmarks as last time. Some are updated to suit the events of the story, while other locations look like they were pulled straight from the previous game. I can understand the desire to want to recreate the town of South Park as accurately as possible, but it often feels like a lazy design choice. That’s my only gripe with the game. The rest is awesome.
Gone is the Game of Thrones-esque fantasy theme of the Stick of Truth; replaced with a Marvel/DC comics parody that sees the South Park kids take on superhero identities for the sole purpose of building a successful franchise and making a lot of money (see the blackboard image below). The story begins with your hero on a quest to find a missing cat. Events quickly escalate into absurdity. Saying more would spoil the surprises ahead, but you can be sure Ubisoft worked with show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker to milk the 20 years of content for everything that it’s worth.
Once again, you play as the new kid who goes by the nickname Douche Bag. The new kid is a custom character based on your preferences (Be sure to stick around for the skin tone gag). The superpowers are based on a class system. In the beginning, you can choose from 3 classes, each a blatant rip-off of famous superheros. Brutalist – think Fantastic Four’s The Thing while Blaster is X-Men’s Cyclops and Speedster is obviously The Flash. As the game progresses, you will unlock more classes, stronger attacks and improved farting abilities, because everything in-game involves farts of some kind.
The new attack grid adds much-needed depth to the turn-based combat system. Player positioning now becomes part of your strategy. Before an attack, you have the option to move your hero to a more advantageous section of the grid, affecting the success of your attack or reducing the potential damage of an attacking enemy. The combat is fun and strategic, yet simple enough that casual gamers can quickly dive in.
What you have here is more than just F-bombs and fart jokes; it’s a 20-hour episode of South Park and the ultimate fan service for audiences who have been around since the beginning. On top of that, it’s also a deep and rewarding game. More variety in the game’s settings would have been appreciated, but it’s something that can be easily overlooked when you’re laughing at every new encounter.
South Park the Fractured But Whole is available now on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It will set you back a little more than tree-fiddy. If you’re unsure about the game, why not download the free trial?