South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Farts are not something you normally want to smell. Somehow, Ubisoft is attempting to change that. At this year's Gamescom, the developer strapped a mask to my face so that I could smell these foul odors while I played the hilarious South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
About a week ago, Ubisoft unveiled the Nosulus Rift, a spoof mask that mocks the Oculus Rift. While it is more of a gag item that the developer is bringing to events rather than a consumer product, it nonetheless left an impression. With it, fans at Gamescom have been sniffing an artificially pungent smell while they play a game that is no stranger to fart jokes. While not actually practical in any way, the mask is hilarious just as a gag, even if I had to pull it off midway through because of the lingering smell of old farts.
This sequel to Stick of Truth sees Cartman and friends create their own superhero team, Coon and Friends, lampooning Marvel's Civil War and the world of superheroes as a whole. The hands-on demo I played showed off an early portion of the game; the same section that was shown hands-off at E3. This is where the kids group at Cartman's house to plan and form their superhero team. Walking around Cartman's home, you find several items, some of which are for crafting later in the game. These are all goofy objects, including the crappacino enema.
When I stepped into the bathroom at Cartman's, I was introduced to what the game calls "Total A** Control," which means you have complete and direct control of your butt, in many ways. When I sat my character down on the toilet, I could widen the butt cheeks by pulling the analog sticks in separate directions, to create a large fart. No, I'm not making this up. With the Nosulus Rift strapped on, these controllable farts are sent directly to my nostrils, creating a putrid and silly result.
Following a scene in Cartman's basement, you choose your superhero class which can also be switched later on. These include the Brutalist, a close ranged brawler, the Blaster, who deals heavy damage at any range, and the Speedster, which gives you the ability to bend space and time. The nine other classes unlock as you progress, including the Elementalist, Gadgeteer, Mystic, Cyborg, Psychic, Assassin, Commander, Netherborn, and Karate Kid.
For the demo, I played as the Speedster. Following this selection, I'm transported to the larger world of South Park. I can walk around freely, and I was told that while I couldn't enter buildings right now, many would be explorable in the full game.
On my way to meet my fellow superhero comrades, I call another member of the team, Human Kite. Together, we perform "fartkour," which is pretty much parkour powered by fart clouds. With this trick, I'm able to reach a rooftop where I find loot, and this technique can often be used to find secrets and items.
As for combat, The Fractured But Whole's battle system remains turn-based like its predecessor, but adds a bevy of tactical gameplay. You take turns directing each party member, and they can move from tile to tile on the board. Each have their own abilities, including a special attack that unleashes when a gauge at the top corner of the screen is full. For example, The Speedster's special and incredibly powerful move is called the Multiverse Strike, which releases a flurry of vicious punches.
As for normal attacks, he can use quantum physics to punch a foe from a distance, use resonance to play two turns in a row but sit out the next, or supersonic dash, which has a domino effect on a row of enemies ahead of you, injuring and knocking them all back.
All characters move around the board a fair bit during play, creating a dynamic battle that can change at any moment. Burritos can be used to replenish life, and other teammates such as the Human Kite have the ability to heal allies. Status effects can occur as well, such as chilled, which immobilizes you for a couple of turns.
Of course, South Park hilarity ensues during these fights. During a battle on a street, one the kids screams, "Car!" and they all periodically run to the sidewalk as a vehicle zooms by. The tactical gameplay itself is incredibly fun, with a focus on tactical movement, where changing your position can have different consequences. The animations are flashy and entertaining, especially the special attacks, though they sometimes come across overpowered as they can kill off enemies in one shot. I look forward to seeing what the other classes have to offer.
The Nosulus Rift might not be something I'd want to use on a regular basis, but it's a funny, amusing addition that Ubisoft has concocted. South Park: The Fractured But Whole left me in stitches, and it's my favorite game I've played at Gamescom 2016 thus far.