After a *bit* of a delay, Ubisoft San Francisco has finally released South Park: The Fractured But Whole for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4! A direct sequel to the hilariously fun of 2014’s The Stick of Truth, with all the characters you love and love to hate.
You know what you’re in for, right?
Picking up right where TSoT finished, the game quickly shifts from the theme of a sword & sorcery Lord of the Ringsish storyline to a SuperHero Movie Multi-Phase Franchise ordeal that splits the kids in South Park into two groups. I won’t go into story details simply because Matt Parker & Trey Stone have crafted this game to be essentially another movie-level quality event. Why spoil it?
This time around, Matt & Trey seemed to have dialed back on the shock & awe that permeated the first game. Not saying this game is kid friendly, but it’s more grounded in reality (Um, I wouldn’t have said that about the lenghty demo I played at E3!! -Editor Moody) — whatever the hell that means in the town of South Park. It gets insane, for sure, with less dead zombie babies and Mr. Slave being summonsed from.. ya’know. Don’t let your little ones play this, unless you’re the cool Uncle/Aunt.
The combat system has been improved with a grid-like battle plan ala Final Fantasy Tactics. It’s still essentially turn-by-turn battles, albeit with only one default speed; so, fights become a bit of a slog to grind through. Boss fights can get to be a bit of a chore with some taking up to 20-minutes of nail-biting insanity. I found myself both equally as angry as I found myself laughing at the absurdity of it all.
Level progression has also been improved with crafting of items found and combined to raise your stats. DNA strands found in the game also grant you new skills and abilities allowing for some unique character classes. The game itself is more or less a game of fetch. You meet someone, told to find something, you go looking for it, find it, have a fight or two, return item and do it all again. But hey–a South Park fetch quest is better than any other RPG fetch quest.
The Fractured But Whole (make sure you say that as fast as you can) looks and sounds wonderful. It’s damn near seemless from gameplay to cutscenes, thanks to the simplicity of the South Park design. Reports of bugs are typical these days with games, with mssed lines of dialogue being the one I encountered the most. With an estimated 15-hours of gameplay for the main quest and up to an additional 10-hours of sidequest material, this game is worthy of your time, money, and anal passage. 3.75/5 Bibles.