Name: South Park: The Fractured but Whole
Developer: Ubisoft San Francisco
Released: 17, October 2017
Platforms: PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose
First, I’d like to start with a confession. I never played the first game, I only watched let’s plays of it. And I’ve watched a seriously low amount of South Park during my time on earth. So some of the references in the game has probably been lost on me. That being said, I really looked forward to giving South Park: The Fractured but Whole (yes, fractured butthole) a try!
The game starts out where the last one ended. You are on the toilet when mom tells you some of your friends are at the door and want you to come out and play. Turns out Cartman is tired of playing “Lord of the Rings” and now wants to go back to playing superheroes. And it doesn’t take long before you join “Coon and friends”. One of the two superhero franchises in South Park. The other one being “Freedom Pals”. They’re basically Marvel vs DC Comics.
The whole premise of the game is the fact that all cats in town have been kidnapped! And there’s a $100 reward for one of them, just enough for Coon and Friends to get their franchise going. However, Freedom Pals wants that reward as well. Obviously I won’t say too much about the ending. But I need to address the problem about it being way too tedious, it was quite easy to foresee, and I honestly got a bit bored during the last mission.
Of course, there are side missions too. And many of them are needed to do to complete your character sheet, which is a cool way to make side-missions meaningful. Speaking of the character sheet, there’s loads of cool ways to make the character your own. You can choose between several genders, for example cis, trans, gender-fluid and genderless. Tha same goes for sexuality, straight, gay, pan or asexual (and probably more that I didn’t discover). Kudos for that, South Park!
As the game uses Ubisoft San Francisco’s Snowdrop engine the developers has been able to use sprites from the TV series. That being said, I feel like the TV series has way more details and more continuity in how thing looks and how the background changes. I’m not saying it’s bad, but as someone who doesn’t really like the style in the show, the game falls a bit short when it’s not even as good as the show’s graphics.
South Park: the Fractured but Whole’s strongest side is it’s gameplay. It’s an open world, although with some closed doors which are closed until a certain point in the story. And if you already know the layout of South Park you will instantly know how to get pretty much anywhere. I’ll also give the game credit for filling the town with several collectibles, especially the one collectible which is a nod to Life is Strange: Before the Storm.
The fights in game are initiated by either hitting, or be hit by, your opponent. Here the gameplay goes over to a turn-based tactical mode. Usually you are joined by four of your companions and it’s time to get whacking! However some of the opponents, most often bosses, really need to be observed to find out how they can be beaten before you can do any proper damage, which takes the whole tactical part of the game to a new level.
I am very unsure whether or not the game is worth replaying. On one side you can choose different classes the second time around, to get another type of fighting-gameplay. However, when you know who the villain is the story sort of loses the little intensity it has. And since it takes 15+ hours to complete the game per playthrough, I don’t find it worth another go, myself. Also, since the game doesn’t stop, i.e. you can play the rest of the side-missions after the main story’s conclusion, you don’t necessarily feel the need to play the main story again.
I played the game with an Xbox One controller because I found the keyboard + mouse combination rather difficult to control with. I’m honestly not sure what was wrong with keyboard-controlling, other than that I found it really clunky and difficult to get to grips with. With a controller however, things worked like a charm. Except when I were in combat and tried to cancel whatever action I was about to do, sometimes I needed to hold the RB down for a long time, and sometimes it cancelled everything with just a quick tap.
Although I enjoyed my 15-hour campaign, I still don’t find farting funny. And I am extremely tired of the same five jokes going on repeat(…) That being said I am surprised by how fun the gameplay was, and I can see why people have been looking forward to the game. The story was also quite good, at least until the beginning of the end. I’m still not hooked on South Park and it’s residents though, but it was definitely a nice try.
+ Cool side-missions
+ True to the show
+ Not just “boy or girl”
– A bit boring in the long run
– I didn’t like the humor
Replay value: 5/10