Rating: Hilariously addictive and pleasingly accessible.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is easily one of the funniest games of all the ones that spring to mind. Yes, we are fans of the TV show, but in many franchises something gets lost in translation when they venture into video game territory. The Fractured But Whole, however, could not have done a better job at switching over to the gaming platform.
The children of South Park begin a new adventure following on immediately after the events of The Stick Of Truth, this time in a satirical reflection (in classic South Park humour) of the explosion in popularity of comic book heroes and their associated movie universes.
…this time in a satirical reflection (in classic South Park humour) of the explosion in popularity of comic book heroes
The stand out feature of TFBW (yes, I’m abbreviating now) is that it is essentially a 25 hour long episode of the hit TV show. The signature graphic and animation styles are the same, they nailed the voice acting, even the injection of inappropriate and close-to-the-knuckle humour is on point. The game has even been kept HUD free to keep the screen free of anything that might detract from the classic South park feel. Now, this has effected gameplay slightly, specifically in the navigation sense, but we found that a few hours in, once we’d learned the layout, this didn’t bother us in the slightest.
TFBW has a turn based approach, which a lot of games in the genre can learn a lot from.
So, this is all well and good but it is a game not a TV show after all so what about the gameplay? Well, they’ve kind of nailed that too. Firstly, theres the character progression system. You start off with very limited, but very different, play-style options, but as you progress through the story you unlock different options with different attacks and are able to begin combining classes to taylor your powers to your own advantage. This goes for your team too. Gradually you get to unlock new allies to fight alongside and can choose those whose attacks supplement your own. The spacing between the progression is well timed too. Whilst playing, there wasn’t a single time where we were slugging through to get to the next unlock, it felt fresh and fluid the whole time.
Then there’s the combat itself. TFBW has a turn based approach, which other games in the genre can learn a lot from. The different types of attack options available to both you and your enemies really make you think about tactics in each battle situation. Especially about halfway through the game when you start getting real time events thrown at you and the dynamics completely change.
All in all, South Park: The Fractured But Whole has taken what the franchise does well and combined it with lessons learned from The Stick Of Truth to create this must play title (so long as you’re not easily offended…obviously….)