Developers: Ubisoft San Francisco
Category: Role-playing video game
Format Played: PlayStation 4
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Official Release: October 17th, 2017
Copy supplied by publisher
South Park: Fractured But Whole is easily the most ridiculous and disgusting video game I’ve ever played – and I loved every hilarious minute. When I heard that Ubisoft and South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were teaming up again, I had a feeling fans were in for a treat – and boy was I right. Stick of Truth was an excellent game, however Fractured But Whole features a much deeper story mode, more involved side quests and completely new combat mechanics.
The story begins as Stick of Truth ends, introducing your character, the ‘New Kid’, and then quickly jumping into a superhero-themed storyline surrounding Coon and friends and a $100 reward for a missing cat. Using the reward, Coon and friends hope to launch their movie franchise plan, but after numerous disagreements, the group becomes divided. This marks the beginning of your character’s journey from unknown to all-powerful.
Fractured But Whole does an excellent job improving the flow of the game, which can be directly attributed to the attention given to side quests. In Stick of Truth, the majority of quests felt like an afterthought, with almost no relevance to the story. This time around the quests are more difficult and fit with the storyline. One of my favorite quests had to be collecting all the Yaoi Art. While the reason for collecting them was completely ridiculous, it was one of the most difficult and entertaining quests. Why Craig’s dad is collecting the art is beyond me; I’ll just chalk that one up to South Park being South Park.
While the side quests improve the overall flow, it’s the overhaul to the combat mechanics that really impressed me. The ability to select and control four characters during battle is a big upgrade, as it makes trying to find the perfect team of superheroes fun, but also challenging. I found myself using Call Girl (Wendy Testaburger), Captain Diabetes (Scott Malkinson) and Mysterion (Kenny McCormick) more than anyone else. Call Girl is strong and has incredible range, Captain Diabetes is fast and can give himself protection, and Mysterion is strong and practically immortal. Honorable mentions go out to Human Kite and Tupperware.
I was also impressed with the new grid-based battlefield – it makes for a more entertaining and challenging experience. It kind of reminded me of playing Final Fantasy Tactics mixed with a bit of Tactic Orge. Being able to move characters around, rather than staying stationary, allows for increased levels of strategy. However, it’s worth noting that even on the hardest difficulty, I never felt like I was going to lose. There are a few times when the game hits you with a challenging twist, but for the most part it’s easy sailing.
I thought ‘Coonstagram’ was a cool new feature, but as the game progressed, it became evident that getting more followers was practically irrelevant. I really wish they added a few more features. I have similar issues with the superhero-assisted quests. At first they were entertaining, but quickly become repetitive and because they were so easy, it felt like doing a 10-piece puzzle. I wish they had made these scenarios as difficult as the toilet missions. That said, both additions make the experience better overall; I’m just nitpicking.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is also plagued by glitches and overly long loading times. I know that I got an early copy and those glitches have likely been corrected by this point, but the thought of that didn’t make them any less annoying at the time – especially when you have to restart the game because it freezes during a loading screen or during a boss battle (both of which happened).
At the end of the day, if you’re not a fan of South Park, The Fractured But Whole probably isn’t for you. That being said, if you’re still reading at this point, I’m guessing you’re likely a fan. So with that in mind, I would highly recommend playing The Fractured But Whole. It’s one of the most creatively hilarious and entertaining stories that you’ll ever play, despite the annoying glitches. Let’s be honest, we all know the Matt and Trey and funny guys, but with the help of Ubisoft, South Park: The Fractured But Whole exceeded my expectations. I guess only one question remains: when should we expect a third game?