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South Park: The Stick of Truth Preview

Telkom Do Gaming was lucky enough to be invited to a preview event held at Microsoft South Africa for the upcoming Ubisoft title, South Park: The Stick of Truth.

What turned out to be a fantastic event was helped out enormously by the fact that South Park: The Stick of Truth is bolstered by the original South Park humour, a bunch of lovable characters and a role-playing feel that makes the game rival many of the top RPGs that are out there.

The first thing that struck me about the game was how solid it actually felt. I think many gamers were expecting it to focus on the toilet-humour and trash-talk that is typical of South Park and while that stuff is definitely still there, it is backed up by some solid RPG mechanics that could push the game to become something special.

Obviously since reviewers were only allowed to play code, there was a time limit on it, which led to some disappointed gamers just wanting more. Interestingly, after watching a run-through on the game, I felt eager to get my hands on it to try it myself.

The hands-on went really well and there weren’t any negative issues to speak of. Players kick off the game by creating their character the way they want to make it which is then coupled with a solid RPG backing. In the early stages, players will get to choose a class between fighter, mage, thief or Jew. Each class has their own positives and negatives and is led by a turn-based combat system when getting into trouble.

Players initiate their turns by picking a skill or attack, then using it on a chosen enemy and then dealing out damage. Players are tasked with hitting a button when the weapon gleams in order to make a successful attack. On the flipside, when defending, players will be tasked to push a button when the shield icon beneath your character appears. Defending will allow the user to take less damage, but still damage nonetheless. There are a number of side quests to do as well as going along the main quest which is obviously hilarious and quite compelling in itself.

The game takes place predominantly within the limits of South Park where the kids are caught up in live-action role-playing. The player takes on the role of a new kid joining the town and joining in on the game and making friends with the characters that players will know from the shows. The protagonist is silent which apparently better allows the player to identify with their character. When the developers say that the game takes place within South Park, it’s not untrue as players can go pretty much anywhere that you will know from the television series. Venturing into Cartman’s mom’s bedroom to find the Antonio Banderas life-size blowup doll, or heading toward City Wok to buy some Kung Pao chicken for Cartman are the smallest of things that can be done in the game.

To be quite honest and almost blatantly unfair, I wasn’t expecting too much from a game such as this. Sure it has the characters, the voices and the humour but to have such a compelling plot as well as a number of well-defined RPG mechanics in the game make it something special.

Players level up during the game by doing quests, winning fights and generally earning experience, and will be able to buy items to fight with as well as different potions and other trinkets to help you along you way. It ultimately feels like you are playing out an episode of the show which is probably exactly what the developers had aimed for and from what we have seen, they haven’t yet put a foot wrong. Being a huge fan of the series, there is something compelling about finding a random Chinpokomon hidden behind a tree or hearing Mr. Mackay try his utmost to keep order in detention.

South Park: The Stick of Truth will be available in South Africa on 7 March and will be available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.