It’s time once again to “head on down to South Park and have yourself a time”. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have poured their creative minds into this next installment of the franchise, The Fractured but Whole presents an authentic recreation of the famous tv show complete with comedic writing and the voice acting we know and love which makes you feel like a part of a series of extended episodes or a new movie.
The game follows the same play style as the stick of truth with its RPG theme and its familiar turn-based combat with a few subtle changes, However, while the stick of truth was laden with references from the shows 15-year history, the fractured but whole presents as a far more generic experience with less inside jokes and throwback memories with these being replaced with copious amounts of fart jokes and shock (homoerotic) humour. While this makes the game more open to newbies to the series it leaves the hardcore fans somewhat empty, with a desire to go back to the stick of truth and see our old friends lemmywinks or the underpants gnomes one more time.
It starts with cartman’s cat going missing, but soon Cartman’s alter ego the Coon, and his superhero pals find that they the only hope to rid South Park of its dark underbelly of crime. and like the stick of truth you have to gain ‘Coonstagram’ a fun take on Instagram followers and become smothered in social media fame.
Creating your characters superhero alter ego, complete with a backstory provided by Cartman, and kryptonite (like old people). You will also be asked to choose your difficulty based on skin colour (but have no fear as this does not affect combat, just every other aspect of your characters life). From here you will explore the town of south park, interact with objects (including a mini-game to poop in people’s toilets), complete quests for fame, and of course, engage in turn-based RPG combat.
The player’s party, have their own unique powers that can be utilised, provides variety, and a challenge to keep you entertained. And while enemies (like Shitty ninjas, who were a notable highlight) can attack and ambush you at any point of the game, I liked that you have the choice to wiggle around enough to hit them first to give you the ‘combat advantage’ and giving you the first turn in the combat phase. Combat takes a significant (and upgraded) step forward by adding a combat grid to highlight different squares depending on the character and their power ability.
The voice acting is flawless and the graphics are beautifully animated in the famous South Park style but I found the text and icons used on the map to be a bit on the small side. The dialogue is entertaining throughout, it remains unique and funny, and is one of the main highlights of the game. Every battle and quest is full of banter and is customised based on your superhero background and the crew you have in your party.
The Superhero setting and the rivalry between all of the superheroes is wonderful and I especially liked how there are modern references to today’s online and social media’s effect on children. And while the game presents a slick RPG experience, dynamic combat, and plenty to explore and do, the focus on more generic fart jokes and lack of depth of South Park history jokes leaves the game feeling more generic, and less South Park specific.