South Park: The Fractured But Whole Review (Xbox One)

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Developer: Ubisoft San Francisco
Publisher: Ubisoft

Main Review

Review Context: When I heard South Park: The Stick of Truth was written by the creators, I played and enjoyed the game. I thought the chances of a sequel were slim with how long the development was for The Stick of Truth. They proved me wrong, and I was excited for the sequel after learning it would be spoofing the superhero genre, mainly Marvel.

Date of Playthrough: December 11, 2017

 

Graphics

With the success of Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine, they went with the “if it ain’t broke…” approach. Like its predecessor, the visuals do a superb job of looking like the show. So much that you’ll have a hard time telling if you’re watching a cut scene or gameplay. I agree with most, saying that it feels like you’re watching a long episode because the style it points on. Given that Trey Parker (co-creator) had to map out the town’s layout, shows that the crew (Ubisoft San Francisco) made sure not to mess up the aesthetics of the game. However, the problem of slowdowns and freezes do remain though less sporadic. What is different is having the game run at 60 frames per second, making the movement of the characters feel more fluid.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Controls

With RPGs having you do some hardcore multitasking, the game does well having the gameplay go at your speed so you don’t freak out during the combat. Most of the attacks are either OTEs (Quick Time Events) or just pushing the button that’s displayed. I did have moments when the game didn’t register my command and ended up with a weak attack because of it. The moment that cranks the button display to eleven is when you have to use the bathroom. The combination goes from simple to almost impossible. There was a command that had me rotate the left stick in a clockwise motion, with the right stick counter-clockwise, while pressing the Y and X button. Aside from that, the controls work well and will not scare away newbies to the genre. I feel most people who play the game are fans of the show, but not gaming, so it’s smart to have the controls pick up and play after a few battles. The tutorials do a good/hilarious job easing players into the gameplay mechanic.

Design

The solo player adventure in South Park: The Fractured But Whole begins immediately after the events of South Park: The Stick of Truth. I am disappointed that you couldn’t import your character from the previous game, having your character OP’ed (maxed out) as you battle enemies, only to have your powers removed once the genre changed from mid-evil times to comic book superheroes. With this, you create a new hero, and while creating the hero, you’ll come across the game difficulty which is represented by your character’s skin tone. Some found this uneasy, while I applauded it, as South Park is not scared of talking about taboo subject matters. I’ve also read that if you create a female character, dialogue will change for the story.

What sets this game apart is the amount of references to the show for the past three seasons. The Stick of Truth was for the most part a standalone episode, while this takes place in the previous season. If you haven’t caught up, there will be lots of inside jokes that’ll go over your head. While most have stayed the same with what you can do, the biggest change has been to the battle system.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Gone is the Paper Mario-like system and in a fresh new design. First your party is on the map with a certain amount of moves you can make, then you start your attack. The new system adds more of a risk/reward scheme. For example, if your team is in the same lane the enemy can do an attack that can damage all your party members. The same can be said if you want to heal your party. You still have the ability to block attacks for less damage and can confront enemies for extra damage when you’re in free range mode. You can also craft food for more damage, armor, or health. The crafting is surprisingly easy, to help you increase your ranking by winning battles and having followers on “Coonstagram” by taking selfies. I found myself having more fun with the battle mechanics in this game, as it felt more like an RPG, though your mileage may vary on how many toilet jokes you can handle. Then again, it’s South Park.

Sound

With Trey Parker and Matt Stone voicing the many characters of the show, it does give it the true feeling of being in the show. The game does make fun of your character being a mute. The game does have a soundtrack that sounds similar to movies of DC/Marvel, with the sound effects on par. There is some retro music you hear when you have to “do your duty,” along with a weird but funny bebop music when Mr. Mackie gives your character “the talk.”

Similar Games Liked:
South Park: The Stick of Truth (PS3)
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Old Door (GCN)
Project X Zone (3DS)

Similar Game Disliked:
DragonBall Z: The Legacy of Goku (GBA)

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