Game Review: South Park: The Stick of Truth

Stick of truth Very few shows can lay claim to the type of legacy South Park has. Even after 17 seasons, creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker still find ways to keep the adventures of the residents of a quiet mountain town in Colorado relevant. Since its announcement, there has been some question as to whether or not developer Obsidian Entertainment could bring what makes the show so good to the interactive world.


The Stick of Truth begins with the player assuming the role of a new kid in South Park. After customizing your appearance you are thrust headfirst into a city wide role playing game, similar to 2013’s “Black Friday” episodes. The kids of South Park have divided into two factions, the humans led by Cartman, and the Elves led by Kyle. In true South Park fashion, things escalate quickly in hilarious ways that involve Zombies, Taco Bell, and Aliens. The game’s story can stretch as long as 14 hours, and as short as 9 or 10 hours. It’s a very well written story full of over the top moments and satire on video game tropes, and it pulls no punches. The real star however is all the lore and easter eggs outside of the story. Given that this game marks the first time South Park has ever been mapped out, I spent the first few hours of gameplay simply exploring the city and meeting familiar characters from the show. Every collectable or piece of inventory junk is a reference to something in the show and as a fan, being able to explore the world looking for Chimpokomon or fighting to save the City Wok from Mongolians was a true blast. That said, the jokes do get repetitive over multiple playthroughs, and the charm can quickly wear off.

The core gameplay of The Stick of Truth will be very familiar to anyone who has played games like Paper Mario in the past. You always have a “buddy” following you around the game world, and once unlocked, you can switch buddies at any time. Movement through the game world is done in the signature 2D animation of the show, and combat is handled through timed button presses and a circular wheel that allows you to select what you wish to do. There’s a surprising amount of depth in the combat system, however the game doesn’t do a very good job of explaining it. You are left on your own to figure out what types of enemies are weak to what attacks, and how the in game buffs and debuffs to character stats work. Similarly, weapon mods, called stickers, which impact combat don’t get an explanation at all. I spent the first four or so hours of the game thinking they were collectable junk. The game also doesn’t do much to differentiate between classes. The four available class options — Fighter, Mage, Thief, and Jew — all play essentially the same and there is no penalty for breaking your role’s intended play style. There’s nothing to stop a warrior from only using a magic staff or a mage from only using melee combat. Combined with the clunky inventory interface, the actual RPG part of The Stick of Truth is easily the weakest part of the game.


The Stick of Truth is an aesthetically interesting creature. Sticking very closely to the crude 2D look and animation style of the show, it’s certainly not bad to look at; however, it isn’t going to win any awards either. One nice thing about the game’s look is that there is very little visual clutter while walking around the city, and transition between movement and some of the in-game cutscenes is fairly smooth. The game looks and feels like an episode of the TV show, something fans will definitely appreciate.


Much like the rest of the game, the sound design in The Stick of Truth is just another component of this treasure chest for fans. The character voices are well done, the lip synching is spot on, and background music from in-game radios or in shops are all classics from the show including, “Kyles Moms a B—-” and “Jesus, Baby.” One nice touch was the inclusion of the guitar slide the show uses when it returns from commercials plays whenever you load a save. The combat music is nothing to write home about, but everything here does its job very well and really adds on to the feeling that you are just playing through an episode of the show.


South Park: The Stick of Truth is a hard game to recommend. If you are a fan of the show, it’s an absolute must play. It’s a treasure chest full of fun with Easter Eggs, gags from the show, and a chance to play with some of the most recognizable fourth graders on TV. If you are an RPG fan however, be warned, there are certainly better things you could be playing.

7.5/10 (Good)