Are you easily offended? If your answer is yes then it’s very likely that you have turned your back on Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s popular creation. South Park is not going to be the taste we all enjoy, especially if that taste in your mouth is a ported fart. In this particular case, it’s a fart that you can take with you wherever you go, which makes it the loud and proud type. Welcome to your next interactive episode of South Park, while dropping bombs in your loo.
Time for a Coonstagram selfie
South Park: The Fractured But Whole picks up right after events in The Stick of Truth. While all the kids are still focussed on the theme of the first game, Cartman is at it again. This time the theme has switched over to superheroes with one main objective – find a missing cat to claim $100 reward. To do this Coon, Cartman’s superhero alter-ego, starts up a superhero media franchise to become the biggest and best superhero group in the world. Plans are in place to create their own comics, movies, a series (on Netflix no less) as well as the importance of social media at the forefront. They call this ‘Coonstagram’. In fact, you, ‘The New Kid’ also known as The Amazing Butthole, will have to get accustomed to taking selfies with others. As is expected with all superheroes they have a tragic story. Cartman “discovers” that your tragic story took place the day you walked in on your mom and dad having sex, which later branches out to the most obscene and hilarious outcome. And so your derailed story starts.
There is not a moment in the game that they’re not taking a jab at some form of DC or Marvel superhero.
Players are in essence taking part in another episode of South Park. The artwork looks as if it has been copied and pasted straight out of the animated series we’ve all come to love on TV. Kyle, Kenny, Butters, Wendy, Craig, Jimmy, Token Black, Timmy and many more make an appearance in the game. The kids all come with their own special names and abilities. Kyle is known as ‘The Human Kite’ that helps you access areas out of reach. Fastpass Jimmy lets you fast travel between points and Mysterion Kenny is the deep-voiced ‘Batman-like’ hero in the game – instead of bats, he befriends rats. There is not a moment in the game that they’re not taking a jab at some form of DC or Marvel superhero and it’s a joy to see it all unfold in front of your eyes. The Amazing Butthole also starts off with unique superpowers, which you decide on.
Faster than a speeding fart
At first, you only have access to three powers, namely: Speedster, Brutalist and Blaster. As you progress through the story you’ll gain access to seven other powers, which I won’t mention. It’s important to get a grasp on the various powers and abilities as most your game will be spent fighting battles. As with Stick of Truth, you have another turn-based RPG that has you moving on a grid, like playing a game of chess. Each power comes with a set of moves that dictate what your character is capable of. The Speedster class allows you to move a vast number of spaces at a time, but doesn’t pack the punch you might need and Brutalist comes with a powerful set of abilities, but movement is limited. You have to make some tough decisions, but keep in mind that your party includes up to three other members to help you get a nice balance.
Thanks to a timeline you can see whose turn is next and adds a big strategic element to each fight. You’ll often find the party outnumbered and it helps you decide whether you should heal the entire party, destroy the weaker opponents first or go straight for the main foe – either way, it’s always important to grow your Ultimate meter. Once the meter is filled up (by landing attacks and absorbing attacks on you) it allows you to perform your most powerful move, though you have to keep all party members in mind when performing the move as they are all very different with their own advantages. If you need more help you’ll find it in summons. In total there are four summons to be found and can each be used once per battle. Yes, of course with South Park being what it is one summon is Moses healing your entire party and another is Cheese Gerald providing some dodgy fire. Combine that with the ability to add a bleed, grossout or shock status effect to your attacks that land and you have a very traditional RPG-like game that’ll please fans craving that old style of RPG games. If that’s not enough The New Kid can manipulate time with his farts by glitching the system or pausing time, among other effects. Items play a huge role in battles too and this is where the time spent adventuring around the town of South park plays an important part.
Flying pink elephants everywhere
References to South Park are everywhere to be found. Whether it’s meeting Mr. Hankey when taking part in one of the many toilet mini-games or if you bump into Towelie while getting high on his own supply at Medical Fried Chicken, there’s something wacky to discover around each corner. Enter a house and inside you’ll find cupboards, boxes, shelves and just about anything filled with items to pick up. Sometimes your friends can aid you in your fart abilities to launch a hamster to mess with wires or use farts to destroy the pile of LEGO “lava” – anything to get to important items. These goods can generally be combined to craft important items such as new superhero clothing or consumable food items in battle. Should you get really lucky you can pick up or craft Artifacts. These help you improve your brawn, brains, spunk, health and move stats, over and above your XP level upgrades. Get even luckier and your artifacts will grant your entire team important status effects.
Whether you’re a fan or new to the series, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is going to press a few buttons and see how you deal with it all throughout the game.
Scattered throughout the town are various side missions. By completing these you are rewarded with XP, but also rare artifacts that later add to your advantage in tougher battles. There is more to it though – you’ll get to know who you really are by completing it all. By the time I was done, for example, I found out that I was a Pacific Islander Chinese person, who is an asexual transgender boy (the cause of Rednecks waiting to beat me up outside the building thereafter), lawful kid of quacker beliefs and my power source being ‘heart’. My kryptonite? Raisins Girls.
Whether you’re a fan or new to the series, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is going to press a few buttons and see how you deal with it all throughout the game. It’s going to upset some people, but those who can look past the obvious mocking of society will end up witnessing and taking part in a Flappy Bird-like mini-game that has a gay frog riding a unicorn that farts rainbows in its effort to get to heaven and meet Jesus. If that’s not enough to get you interested then I doubt anything will change your mind, for the rest – it’s South Park gold, covered in fart.