October 24, 2017

South Park:The Fractured But Whole - Review

After being an avid follower of South Park for many many years, remembering back to the days where my parents told me off for staying up late to catch the latest episode it was safe to say that I was definitely keen on the release of The Fractured But Whole.

Then periodically over the last year or so, news would surface of a delay to the game which drove my excitement and eagerness to get my hands on it more and more. Finally after so much anticipation, I was able to get stuck into this instalment.

If I flash back to the The Stick Of Truth, it was such a fantastic game for me. It combined things I really enjoyed for example; role playing games, the crassness of an animated favourite. I was surprised that they had pushed the boundaries once again to have components of game to be edited out because it was just too extreme for the review board. It had subtle and not so subtle nods to the show and the plethora of characters that it had created.

And thankfully, they had continued that storyline into this game. I really liked the continuity they created to TSOT where you start out the beginning of The Fractured But Whole basically tying up the loose ends and the game then transform into this new storyline. If you're not familiar with The Coon and friends storyline that really came into fruition when The Dark Knight films first came out, the basic premise is that Cartman is the superhero character, The Coon and he has rustled together a group of other heroes.

Parker and Stone have not disappointed with the underlying themes as we are currently in an age where it seems like every week a new superhero-esque style show is launching. This ties into this nicely as Cartman is trying to get his own Netflix cinematic universe for Coon and friends created.

The character creation section of TFBW has definitely been improved. I'm sure everyone will focus on fact that to determine your starting difficulty you have select your skin colour. The controversy obviously then is centred around the darker your skin colour, the more difficult the game is.  But there  is the constant evolution of your characters skill sheet throughout the game that also add another element of fun. You have to choose your religion, sex etc.

The class selection comes up three times as you're in the basic stages of the game for example if you wanted to be a speedster, brutalist or a blaster each with their own attacks and traits. This has definitely increased the re-playability of the game because you could change so much each time to change outcomes.

In my opinion there have definitely been some significant improvements from the last game. The mechanics of the game play have been worked on tirelessly and the strategy behind the character you select to enter certain challenges becomes pertinent in your decisions. I found I was spending quite some time on my character and the skills and attacks I had to attribute to pass through and overcome problems.

It was also evident that they had really focused on the cutscenes, character building and the combat functions, but there are definitely some large areas of opportunity. As I mentioned earlier, being an avid fan I really expected some boundaries to be pushed in the game especially after what I went through in the Stick of Truth. But I just didn't see it this time around. Around every corner I was waiting for some vulgar mission to jump out at me where I might have to go through some disgusting method to solve a problem.

It was so incredibly tame this time around that part of me didn't want to continue. For the most part I enjoyed the story, characters, gameplay and cut scenes but I think my expectations had been set so high with the delays and the previous game that it just didn't live up to it.

This instalment seems directed toward the younger audience of South Park who have grown up on the more recent characters and storylines, rather than the OG followers who have 10+ years invested in the show who want to see that come out in this game. I still played the game to completion and loved every second, I just thought it could be so much more and the censors seemed to have got there hands on this again and forced this one to be a bit more tame.

Thanks to Ubisoft for supplying the game for review

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