'South Park: The Fractured But Whole' Breaks Wind, Barriers for Raunchy Fun, Challenges
“South Park: The Fractured But Whole” is all about one thing – farts.
Wrapped up in all those farts is a game that blends “South Park” humor and comedic material with a solid RPG style of character building and turn-based combat. It all seems very authentic to the source material, and the game combines these elements for a fun and strategic walk through South Park, Colorado.
The action blends directly from the previous title, “South Park: The Stick of Truth,” as the boys and girls are playing in a medieval fantasy world with their new friend, New Kid. You, as New Kid, have special powers and abilities you don’t understand but use them to win the day.
The new adventure begins as Cartman, as the Coon, transitions the game into a superhero story, in an effort to right a wrong in the past. Kyle, Stan, Butters, Tweek, Craig, and everyone else don their superhero persona to join in the action. Kenny, as Mysterio, has a speaking role, sounding like Rorschach, from “The Watchmen.”
As the plot unfolds, the bad guys change, creating level upon level of intrigue and drama, as the two hero groups, Coon and Friends and Freedom Pals, vie for franchise supremacy where it counts – in the box office, television rights, and on social media.
New Kid joins in the fun, choosing a class and abilities that are reminiscent of current comic book hero genres. Powers, both offensive and defensive, are tied into each class.
Much like the leveling system in “Destiny,” the level of your character has only a little to do with how strong you become. Power is achieved through the finding and use of artifacts. The higher your level, the more artifacts you can stack, increasing strength, health, or team benefits.
There are only eight artifacts slots you can earn through leveling, and they are broken down into epic, major, and minor slots. You should mix and match throughout the game to find the artifacts that more closely match and benefit your style of play.
Combat is turn-based and played out on a grid in a street in South Park. Each character can move, attack, or use a special ability each turn. Attacks follow specific patterns on the grid based on what it can do. Movement becomes important in lining up attacks or moving out of the way of area where an enemy is about to attack.
It is very strategic, and planning your opponents’ potential next move is just as important as figuring out your own. Much like chess, think about where you want to be in relation to the bad guy on the other side not just for this turn but in subsequent turns.
For most of the battles, the fighting ends when one side is completely defeated. Occasionally, a battle is briefly delayed as a car comes down the street. Remember, this is all pretend!
An inspection mode helps solve some environmental puzzles, allowing New Kid to get to items more easily or those that were just out of reach. There are quick-time events to get through some scenes with as much haste and hilarity as possible.
Unlike the improvised weapons from “South Park: The Stick of Truth,” the characters do seem to actually possess super powers, if only while in costume. Eventually, the New Kid will be able to multi-class, which will allow players to mix and match powers from different classes.
My character ended up with super speed, elemental, assassin and plant-based abilities. If you think it seems overpowered, the enemies get very strong as the game progresses.
Quests are scattered throughout South Park, and the player can freely walk the streets. A FastPass system can be established with drop-off locations situated through the city. But walking around will help reveal more quests, more friends, and possible loot locations that can’t be seen using the FastPass.
Venture into every building. Talk to every person you meet. In addition to getting more followers on Coonstagram, a riff on Instagram, you will be able to find components for crafting, consumable health items, or missing critical things to help complete quests.
As the game progresses, the farting powers of the New Kid become more sophisticated and stronger. Fueled by the recipes of Freeman’s Taco delights, those gaseous bombs help the New Kid reach places previously blocked, prevent attacks from occurring, or change the fabric of time and space.
The story blends comic book lore, satire on current affairs, and the usual “South Park” hijinks. Together, they form a plot line that would not be believed in any other location than South Park. Nearly all the familiar characters from the television series make an appearance in one form or another.
The twist and turns play out like an extended episode from the show, but as New Kid, you can choose the path of the action by choosing which quests will be done and which will be cast aside.
There is a lot of offensive language and mature situations. This is not a game for kids, but it is right in line with what Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been doing with their characters for years when not under the umbrella of the television censors.
Overall, “South Park: The Fractured But Whole” is a wonderful romp through the sleepy, but always interesting, Colorado town and its unique residents. Just when you think the action can’t get any more outlandish, the game rises to a new level of ridiculousness.
However, it all fits together inside this world, and the gameplay will challenge strategic minds without overshadowing the funny story.
There is a Season Pass available that adds costumes and perks, game tips, new combat challenges, and two new story missions, including new combat buddies, new superhero costumes and perks. Some of the content will be free on Day One. Other elements will become available starting in December and continue into 2018.
“South Park: The Fractured But Whole” isn’t breaking new ground, but it is breaking wind to provide a richly humorous game with an excellent character building system, challenging turn-based combat, and raunchy fun from the show’s more R-rated potential.
Come for the twisting story. Stay for the fart-based action.
“South Park: The Fractured But Whole” will be available on Oct. 17 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. The game is rated M for Mature due to blood and gore, mature humor, nudity, sexual content, strong language, use of drugs, and violence. This post was done using a provided preview digital download for the PlayStation4.