e3 2016

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Delving Further Into The Fractured But Whole
by Jeff Marchiafava on Jun 14, 2016 at 12:03 PM
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft San Francisco
Release:
Rating: Mature
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Ubisoft got plenty of laughs with its stage demo of South Park: The Fractured But Whole during its press conference yesterday, but there's more to the super-hero-spoofing RPG than fart jokes. Here are some of the big changes and improvements we learned about from our extended hands-off demo.

A Story Ripe For The Mocking
While The Stick Of Truth lampooned many of the tropes of fantasy RPGs, Ubisoft and South Park Digital Studios are turning their focus to the world of super heroes for the sequel. The basic plot of The Fractured But Whole should be instantly familiar to fans of Marvel's Civil War storyline. Taking place directly after the events of The Stick of Truth, Cartman and his gang of friends start their own make-believe super-hero squad, Coon And Friends.  However, a squabble over the rollout for their myriad planned movies and Netflix shows leads to a bitter rift amongst the team. Cartman stays and continues to lead Coon And Friends, while Timmy (a.k.a. Iron Maiden), Super Craig, and a few others leave and form the Freedom Pals. You'll fight your former teammates at various times throughout the story and recruit more kids to join your side. The focus on super heroes is giving Ubisoft plenty of ammunition for jokes, as well as unique combat attacks and abilities. Players can choose between a dozen different super hero archetypes for their player character, including assassin, psychic, cyborg, and the most dreaded of all: karate kid. You can even mix and match these classes to come up with completely unique archetypes.

Combat Is Getting More Tactical
While the heart of The Fractured But Whole's combat is still turn-based, Ubisoft is adding a layer of tactical strategy to combat. Players can now move around the battlefield via square grids, and your location affects what kind of attacks you can perform and who you can target. You can also perform environmental attacks, and knock enemies into one another for extra damage. Ubisoft is injecting more humor into fights this time around; an early fight sequence is fully narrated by Cartman (think of it as an irreverent take on Bastion) as he reveals your tragic backstory – you were irrevocably scarred by witnessing your mom and dad humping. Another battle that takes place in the street in town is momentarily broken up by a passing car – despite the high-stakes battle, the kids all agree upon a momentary timeout and run to the sidewalk as the car drives by, just as any group of kids would. These little touches elicit genuine chuckles, as did a plethora of callbacks that fans of the show are sure to appreciate.

The Fractured But Whole Is Deep
Ubisoft is stating that The Fractured But Whole will contain more than twice the amount of content than its predecessor, all of which is written, voiced, and directed by series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Additionally, players will be collecting loot and an even wider variety of items that can be used to create equipment via the new robust crafting system. Some early recipes we saw included a health-replenishing burrito and a cappuccino enema. The loot system gives players even more reason to explore all the nooks and crannies of the environments, leading to lots of random jokes and Easter eggs.

There Are Still Plenty Of Fart Jokes
We said that there's more to The Fractured But Whole than fart jokes, but holy lord are there still plenty of fart jokes. Ubisoft has implemented a system that it calls Total Ass Control, which allows players to poop and fart on command, and gives you total control of your ***. Ubisoft also showed off a "fartkour" mechanic, which involves your character teaming up with Human Kite to launch the two boys to out-of-reach platforms. If that's not a true gaming innovation, I don't know what is. 

For more on The Fractured But Whole, check out the new trailer from yesterday's announcement.