The lights are on
South Park: The Stick of Truth is easily one of the best licensed games around. It plays out like a turn-based RPG, where all the weapons and abilities have a childish sheen. It feels like playing one massive episode.
The game starts you off as the New Kid who has just moved to South Park. Upon exiting your house, you first stumble across Butters being beat up. After helping him out, you're taken to the Grand Wizard of the KKK (Kingdom of Kupa Keep), who turns out to be none other than Cartman. This is a tutorial section, at the end of which the titular stick of truth is stolen by the enemy Elven faction. Throughout the game you are tasked with running the stick down, though revealing anything other than that would be a spoiler because of the largest flaw of the game: it's short. As in I platinumed the game on PS3 in just 2 days while going to school and working short.
Weapons and armor run the gamut of silly to downright deadly, and have weapon strap-ons and patches that mod your equipment for extra armor, hp regen, extra damage, etc. It is very easy to inflict multiple status effects at the same time and deal massive damage to your opponents in this game, making maybe only the hardest difficulty actually difficult. Your abilities have the same silliness, though look more painful from the start. The level cap is set at 15, so you can gain a max of 14 new ability points for your 5 different skills, of which each has 4 upgrades. By making friends, you can gain perk points to unlock useful passive skills such as increased damage to and less damage from enemies inflicted with status effects. Finally, you learn 4 different "magic" attacks throughout the game, though they are mostly only useful in the open world.
Actual combat is timing-based, and if you can't get your timing down the game becomes much, much more difficult. Launching perfect attacks and blocks by timing your button presses correctly can massively increase your damage done while decreasing the damage you take. Normal attacks offer quick, successive shots while power attacks offer one big hit for roughly 80% of the damage your normal attack does. Normal attacks break shields, which block 100% damage for a certain number of hits, while power attacks go through armor, which blocks a certain amount of damage per hit. Eventually you can use magic in battle, but outside stunning enemies for a trophy it's a useless feature.
You can influence the start of combat during the first half of the game by using your ranged weapon and magic on enemies before hitting them with your melee weapon. It is important to note that you can be devastated in combat if you don't hit your opponent in the open world, as otherwise they all attack first. Shooting your enemy stuns them for their first turn, and using magic poisons them. Both can be used against all the enemies in an open world group to give you a free turn of attacks and poison damage, that is until a little after halfway through the game when they stop being affected by both.
South Park features a lot of trophies/achievements, most of which are MISSABLE. Map segments that become inaccessible make some equipment, friends, and chinkpokomon unobtainable, along with the trophies for collecting all of each of them. Also, several story segments require you to do something such as wear the Ginger Freckles when fighting the hallway monitor boss that if you miss will have to wait until another playthrough. At the risk of spoilers, if you want to trophy hunt I recommend you look them up and keep a list handy nearby.
Finally, there's the map. It is small. As in about the size you would expect South Park to be small, which is pretty dang small. The Lost Forest takes you to another realm that's shown in a nice retro fashion, but there really isn't much to do. Aside from the collectibles and a few side quests there isn't much outside the main story, which runs pretty short. This gives the game absolutely zero replay value. There are very few things that change if you side with the KKK or the Elves, and the things that do are inconsequential. In fact once I get a chance I'm selling the game back to Gamestop and I've only had it for 2 days!
So in the end this game is a fun one-off. The gameplay, plot, and humor are all great, but the playtime is short and the lack of meaningful and repeatable side activities destroys all replayability. I suggest you borrow or rent this game, as purchasing it is unfortunately a waste of money.
I really like the game, but i think the Thief class is a bit weak.