Back in 2013, Ubisoft released the best licensed South Park title in the history of gaming. Heck, South Park: The Stick of Truth was arguably one of the best licensed games ever. The title delivered an authentic, true-to-the-show experience and carried with it the primary ingredient that makes South Park so great: unbridled, unapologetic and unrelenting comedy.
The game’s success resulted in a surprising decision from Ubisoft, the creation of a sequel in South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Releasing last week, The Fractured But Whole does a fabulous job of delivering the same authentic South Park experience we’ve come to expect and so much more.
Everything from the game’s combat to its progression pillars, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a triumphant example of an experience video games seem to never have enough of. Comedy is a refreshing genre in video games, particularly when you consider nearly all others are tied to a serious tone. Developers rarely step into the light-hearted spotlight and showcase their comedy skills. Thus, it is a sight for sore eyes to witness a game that is truly funny.
Make no mistake, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is absolutely hilarious. Like many of the hilarious episodes from the TV show, The Fractured But Whole delivers the same humorous tone everywhere you go. Whether you are in a primary mission cutscene or you are just venturing around town, there are always laughs to be had.
I love how this game takes aim at the superhero movie genre and makes light of it all. It is such a used segment of the film industry these days, so it was fun to see superhero beasts like Marvel receive a few jabs from South Park‘s crudest characters. I particularly like the “Captain America: Civil War” parody of Coon & Friends versus Freedom Pals.
Timmy playing the role of Professor X delivers some hilarious moments. One in particular is when he penetrates Cartman’s mind and talks a bunch of trash to him while both factions are feuding. It was a perfect fit to have him play the role of Professor X, and is just one example of South Park‘s razor sharp wit.
Of course, Cartman is a standout among the complete cast of personalities. Whenever he is around, you know there are going to be major laughs. With him being the ringleader of Coon & Friends, players must follow his lead as they progress through The Fractured But Whole‘s main narrative.
Humor is also found within the game’s combat experiences. You can be fighting another set of enemies in the middle of a street and suddenly, a car driving by will result in a break in combat. It’s moments like these that provide the game with a charmingly grounded feel. This reminds you that while the game is taking you on an overly dramatic adventure, this is still South Park.
Focusing more on the game’s combat system, the tactical, turn-based system is made even stronger when movement is added to the equation. Battlefields vary in size, which means your gameplay strategies will also change. Depending on the size of each combat grid, you’ll have to carefully consider when and how you move each character.
Strategy is all over combat in The Fractured But Whole. Gamers must contemplate which enemies to target first and the same is true for the type of attack they use. So many factors go into your decision-making and these include aspects like an enemy’s health, grid position, ally health, ally attacks, attack cooldowns and more.
Combat is made even more intricate when players have to consider the benefits of attacking versus healing an ally. Ensuring your squad doesn’t diminish is important. However, deciding to sacrifice a character can be a good decision if it means finishing off a powerful enemy.
Consumables do add another timing element to combat, as there are ideal times to utilize them and moments where they should be holstered. Character attacks provide a nice variety, both from a damage perspective as well as area effect. Some do vertical damage against multiple enemies while others provide a horizontal barrage.
Character super attacks are charged up as you play through each battle. Quickly tapping “X” after being attacked before your recovery meter runs out will bolster your super attack. The same is true of landing attacks on enemies. Each character has a super attack animation when activated and they are fun to watch, even though the animations remain the same. Overall, combat is a wonderfully fun feature that Ubisoft has effectively improved.
Progression is rewarding as you complete side quests and main quests throughout the town. Both types showcase fun and interesting gameplay and narratives. Gamers can also find collectibles and artifacts as they explore the town. Environmental puzzles do a nice job of providing a boost to difficulty in some areas.
As gamers level up their character, new artifact slots become available, which helps boost your Might. Might is something that increases your overall stats, something that is most important in combat. Players can find new artifacts as they complete missions, search South Park and simply over the course of casual gameplay.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is filled with all kinds of rewarding benefits for those who explore. Its gameplay is just as hilarious as the first game, and then some. Combat has been evolved far beyond the system we saw in 2013. Not only is this one of the funniest games I’ve seen in years, but it is an exceptional RPG.
Gaming needs more experiences like South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Those who are looking for a strong RPG, an authentic South Park experience or a reason to smile should absolutely not miss South Park: The Fractured But Whole. The game is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Ubisoft provided We Write Things with a PS4 code of South Park: The Fractured But Whole for the purposes of this review.