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'South Park: The Stick of Truth' review: New Obsidian developed game is a sweet RPG

12:27 PM, Mar 4, 2014   |    comments
A scene from the role-playing game 'South Park: The Stick of Truth.'(Photo: Ubisoft)
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(USA TODAY) -- Mastery of the sword or bow and arrow are critical to surviving most fantasy-themed role-playing video games. But in the case of South Park: The Stick of Truth, true power comes from within ... your digestive system.

Ubisoft's new RPG based on the irreverent Comedy Central cartoon is every bit as raunchy, shocking and hilarious as the TV series. It's a good video game, too, with a wide selection of insane gear and weapons along with South Park's crazy cast.

The story of The Stick of Truth follows the new kid whose family has just moved to South Park. His parents want him to make friends, leading him to Cartman and his band of cohorts. The kids are playing a fantasy game focused on The Stick of Truth. "For whomever controls the stick, controls the universe," Cartman explains after dubbing the new kid "Sir Douchebag."

South Park fans are well aware the show is best known for its crude humor, injecting some satire within every episode. The video game is no different, starting with the four classes players can choose from: Fighter, Mage ("like a wizard, only not as cool"), Thief and Jew.

Players start small with a basic sword, ranged weapon and clothing that mimics armor. But the greatest power a player yields comes directly from your rump. As a "Dragonborn," the new kid can attack foes using a variety of weaponized farts, from the straightforward Dragonshout to the Cup-A-Spell, allowing players to hit opponents at a distance.

The game starts with the new kid joining lead wizard Cartman and his group - which includes Butters as a paladin and Kenny as a princess - in Kupa Keep to battle an army of elves led by Kyle and Stan. Eventually, the groups join forces to stop Clyde, who was kicked out of Kupa Keep and retaliates by stealing the Stick of Truth.

Players will roam South Park embarking on missions and engaging in turn-based battles. In combat, players have their melee and ranged weapons along with the fart-based attacks that use Mana. Players also get special attacks. For example, The Fighter has Assault and Battery, where a well-timed strike of a baseball with bat deals massive damage. There's also the Roshambo, which starts as a simple Rock, Paper, Scissors duel and ends with a kick to the groin. These attacks use Power Points, which players can replenish - along with health and mana - by consuming energy drinks, burritos and the classic Cheesy Poofs.

There are sections where players will use a variety of tools to explore the world, such as an alien probe shooting out of the new kid's bum.

As players gain experience and level up, they enhance these special abilities. They also make friends and add them to their social network, which unlocks perks such as added damage on melee attacks or better potions.

What makes The Stick of Truth awesome is the writing. It's hilarious. It pulls no punches, and it stays true to the series. Players collect items such as a life size Antonio Banderas doll or the book "The Poop That Took A Pee," or make friends with everyone from Stan, Kyle and Cartman to the Prince of Canada and Al Gore.

Combat starts out with kids dressed as elves before moving on to bigger prey such as aliens and Nazi Zombie Rats. Some of the later stages in The Stick of Truth feature some of the funniest and most outrageous sequences in the series.

As fantasy role-playing quests featuring a group of potty-mouthed fourth graders go, South Park: The Stick of Truth is epic. It's also ends quickly. I finished a playthrough of the campaign in about 8 hours, which seems small compared to other RPGs that can often taken dozens of hours to wrap. There are still some tasks you can complete after the main story is done, such as collecting Chinpokomon or helping South Park citizens such as the owner of City Wok, whose restaurant is taken over by Mongolians.

The Stick of Truth is like playing through an extended episode of South Park, paying homage to the TV show while delivering an entertaining and memorable role-playing adventure.

Publisher: Ubisoft

Developer: Obisidian Entertainment

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Price: $59.99

Rating: M for Mature

Release Date: March 4

Score: 3.5 out of 4

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