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South Park: The Stick of Truth – PlayStation 3 Review

March 12, 2014 Leave a comment

SouthPark ST Box

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 3 (also available on Xbox 360)
Genre: Role-playing Game
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB: M (Mature)
Release Date: March 4, 2014

Review By: Angelina Sandoval

After having played a number of games that make use of the South Park license, I had officially given up on that one game that would be true to the characters created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Then South Park: The Stick of Truth was announced and everything surrounding this role-playing game, including the fact that the Comedy Central show’s two creative forces would be directly involved, made this title well worth the wait. As it turns out, The Stick of Truth not only turns out to be one of the best South Park games available thus far but it is also one of the funniest games you will play this year.

MEET SOME FRIENDS OF MINE

As Eric Cartman explains in the beginning of the game, a make-believe world (that somewhat resembles a bastardized version of Tolkien’s Middle Earth) is tossed in a war between the forces of good and those that want to claim the ultimate treasure of them all … the Stick of Truth. So, as you can see, it is a good day for you – the new kid in town – to be forced to go out and make friends with fellow fourth graders that are playing this massive citywide child’s game.

SouthPark ST Screen1

After designing your own voiceless character, you come to meet your first real friend by saving a boy everyone knows as Butters. From there, your new friend introduces you to Cartman and, of course, the game. From there you are given the choice between being called a douche or a douche as well get to pick your character class whether you’d like to be a fighter, a thief, a mage or maybe a Jew. Strangely enough, choosing the Jew class doesn’t really add much except that Cartman won’t like you as much as he would if you were a mage or a fighter.

The town of South Park is then open to you as you are given quests by not only Cartman but also by the various resident of the Colorado town whether it’s Mister Lu Kim who runs City Wok or other familiar faces scattered throughout. In fact, one of the things that make The Stick of Truth the ultimate South Park game is the fact that it incorporates not only the main characters but also the entire town.

SouthPark ST Screen2

As a matter of fact, South Park itself is a character in itself and if you’re a fan of the show you will be happy to see all the familiar haunts such as the City Wok, Jimbo’s Guns, the Bijou Theater, Stark’s Pond and South Park Elementary just to name a few key locales. Better yet, thanks to the in-game map, we finally get a better idea of where things are geographically speaking. For example, did you know that Stan, Kyle and Cartman are actually neighbors?

RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!

Like most role-playing games, you start the game at Level 1 as you level up by completing quests and surviving various battles that occur the minute you accept to take a part in the game. Of course, you are given a crash course in combat, learning not only about the strengths of your opponents as well as their different attacks but also learn the intricacies of turn-based combat that everyone within the game finds quite lame.

SouthPark ST Screen3

In fact, combat is The Stick of Truth’s biggest disappointment as it is not only bogged down by its repetitive old-school nature but also by the turn-wheel mechanics that make selecting your attacks and special abilities somewhat of a nuisance. Sure, you can upgrade your equipment, armor and your choice of weapons but in the end you will find that you’d much rather avoid combat than get locked into battle with the “elves” or even those damn Mongolian kids.

Still it’s something of a rare treat to be siding with a number of South Park’s recognizable characters in combat. Having Butters by your side swinging his little hammer or gently patting you on your back to heal you is downright adorable but it’s also a blast to summon the likes of Mister Lui Kim (in his Chinese battle garb he wore when he tried to fight off the Mongolian horde in that one episode) or Stan’s hilarious father who teaches you the mystical art of – well – farting. Think of flatulence as a special spell much like the Shouts in Skyrim.

HOWDY-HO, EVERYONE!

The game is filled to the brim with Easter eggs that will have you busy whether it is trying to locate every Chinpokomon as well as a variety of side quests … many of which are available at specific times. The story is well written and what began as an elaborate child’s game turns into something even bigger that threatens the town itself whether it is battling against Crab People, alien visitors or a conspiracy involving tacos. Oh yeah, even Mr. Hanky makes an appearance. Thankfully you will have a number of companions that will aid you in saving the town and the world that includes everyone from Tweek to Kenny (who really is the fairest Princess) even if you have to go through (or inside) Mister Slave.

SouthPark ST Screen5

Delightfully enough, The Stick of Truth looks exactly like you’re playing an episode from the show itself – which, in itself, is not a difficult task to accomplish considering the fact that the show was purposely made to look crappy. It’s also great to see numerous nods to episodes from the show that pop up throughout your exploration of the town itself. There are sight gags aplenty as well, many of them of the mature variety that are true to many of the characters themselves. For example, if you happen to be in Eric’s house take a quick side trip to Mrs. Cartman’s room and you’ll get what I’m saying.

Even better, though, is the fact that the voice acting found throughout the game come directly from the talents of the voice actors themselves and I’m not talking the usual sound clips found in other South Park games. Matt Stone and Trey Parker provide some truly hilarious dialogue that won’t fail to crack you up or put a smile on you face all throughout the game. Then there’s the music that is classic South Park as well as some memorable tunes that can be heard over the radio such as “Taco-Flavored Kisses,” Finger Bang” and a song about too many minorities in the water park just to name a few songs heard.

SouthPark ST Screen4

South Park: The Stick of Truth will be remembered for not only making brilliant use of the show’s license but also bringing us one truly hilarious role-playing game that would fit nicely with the show’s current season. Sure, combat is not as satisfying as eating a bag of Cheesy Poofs but the story and the ability to explore one of the best little town’s in Colorado definitely makes it worth the price of admission alone. South Park fans, you do not want to miss out on this game … I am super cereal.

GAME FRONTLINE RATING

Gameplay: 8.0
Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9.0
Appeal: 9.0
Overall: 9.0

Review copy provided by Ubisoft

Categories: Feature Review, PS3 Review

Ubisoft Reveals Watch Dogs Launch Date

WatchDogs Promo

Watch Dogs will be available worldwide on May 27, 2014 for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. The Wii U version will be available at a later date.

In Watch Dogs, players assume the role of Aiden Pearce, a new type of vigilante hero who, with the help of his smartphone, will use his ability to hack into Chicago’s central operating system (ctOS) to control almost every element of the city.

Our Take: We finally get a release date for a game we have been dying to get our hands on since we got a close look at it during last year’s E3. This is definitely one of those games that will make 2014 a very good year for gaming.

Fist Full Of Micro Reviews – March 2014

We hate resorting to Micro Reviews but the ending of 2013 and the beginning of January had myself and my review crew very busy designing a few features that will make a debut really soon but – in the meantime – we have a fist full of Micro Reviews that celebrate the beginning of a new generation of gaming that is just barely showing us all of its full potential.

While we can go into how powerful Sony’s console is and why it outsold Microsoft’s Xbox One, we are of the opinion that what we are seeing so far is just the tip of a virtual iceberg that will not fail to surprise. Already there is the announcement that Sony will bring us 100 games this year as well as the introduction of its impressive PlayStation Now service. On top of that, the Xbox One has a number of features that go well beyond exclusive titles such as Titanfall.

Oh yeah, this is but the beginning and the year is young so let’s get right to the Micro Reviews, shall we?

Killzone: Shadow Fall (PlayStation 4)

Killzone SF Box

The Killzone franchise has certainly developed quite a following since its introduction on the PS3 so having Shadow Fall be among the PlayStation 4’s initial launch lineup is a pleasant surprise and even more so since the game was built specifically to show of the new console’s amazing graphics capabilities. What we get is a first-person shooter that delivers an immersive, action-packed and gorgeous-looking game that brings to mind the Half Life series in the best possible way. On top of that, the multiplayer component comes together nicely to keep you playing this one long after you finish the single-player campaign.

OVERALL GRADE: A

Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One)

DeadRising 3 Box

Capcom’s quirky zombie-slaying game hasn’t really changed all that much since we were first introduced to photographer Frank West on the Xbox 360. This third installment of the Dead Rising series is no different as you play new character, Nick Ramos, who finds himself in the infected zone of Los Perdidos. The Xbox One is able to produce some decent graphics that allow even more walking dead on the screen at once and it really is impressive but then again its all running at 720p and 30fps. However, you won’t find any features here that revolutionize the series enough to make it a refreshing new start on a new console. Still, with all zany missions, plenty of weapons and vehicles, Dead Rising 3 is still loads of fun to play.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PlayStation 4)

AssassinCreed BF PS4 Box

After the lackluster performance of Assassin’s Creed III, the fourth installment set its sights on the high seas as you assume the role of Edward Kenway, a young pirate who just so happens to get caught up in the world of the assassins and the Templars. Not only do you get to command the Jackdaw but also you can set sail to explore an open world filled with exotic islands ripe with booty and fight off Spanish galleons and English fleets with cannon fire. There are also the many missions and side missions to jump into that are true to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Sure, the game was released on the PlayStation 3 as well but the game looks especially enticing on the PlayStation 4.

OVERALL GRADE: A+

Call of Duty: Ghosts (PlayStation 4)

Call of Duty Ghosts PS4

Nobody found it as a surprise when Activision announced a new Call of Duty game and it was even less of a surprise that a next-gen version of the game would coincide with the release date of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. While not adding anything new to this series even on two new consoles, Ghosts manages to be the same entertaining thrill ride we have come to know from past Call of Duty games and that’s alright for dedicated fans. Anyone else will find this more of the same but with better graphics and, of course, a fantastic multiplayer portion that is reason enough to keep playing and even more so with a few key additions.

OVERALL GRADE: B

KNACK (PlayStation 4)

Knack Box

Knack is a game that we had been looking forward to playing since it was announced and who wouldn’t have been excited over a PlayStation 4 launch title that looks that original. What we get instead is dull and repetitive combat combined with a frustrating difficulty setting and so-so level design with a world that offers very little to interact with throughout this disappointing title.

OVERALL GRADE: D

Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One)

Forza Motorsport5 XOne

The Forza Motorsport series has always done a brilliant job of making us fall in love with the world of racing and it this fifth game in the series continues to celebrate all things vehicular. While there aren’t more new roads or even more cars than the fourth game, Forza Motorsport 5 is still an improvement that will have you happily jumping back behind the wheel and even more so on the Xbox One. Frankly speaking, this game is what will make you happy you bought Microsoft’s new console.

OVERALL GRADE: A

Battlefield 4 (PlayStation 4)

Battlefield 4 PS4

The fourth installment of the Battlefield series doesn’t even attempt to do anything particularly new except provide fans with what it is best known for … a completely absorbing, challenging and addictive multiplayer option that makes this worth the purchase price. Thanks to a few updates, the online multiplayer has improved greatly but, sadly, the single-player campaign isn’t anything to write home about once again since there isn’t much of a story here.

OVERALL GRADE: B

Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition (Xbox One)

TombRaiderDefinitiveEd XOne

When Tomb Raider was released a while back, it didn’t really need to be remade seeing as the game was not only brilliantly entertaining but also easy on the eyes just like its protagonist. Still, this Definitive Edition not only brings us all the DLC but the game was build from the ground up visually to make this an even more graphically-stunning game. If you haven’t bought it the first time, buying it now is highly recommended. We count this among one of the best Tomb Raider games available as well as one hell of a great survival title.

OVERALL GRADE: A+

Categories: Monthly Editorial