After playing for a few hours, I can almost see why this game was delayed a bit until this year. Writing about The Fractured but Whole is nearly as effortless a task as was writing about The Stick of Truth because thus far, this game is really good and funny. Fans of South Park will not be disappointed.
To really get a great understanding of the game, it does help that you have been a fan of the show, played Stick of Truth (SoT) since this game picks up from there as well as watched last week’s episode, Franchise Prequel; which sets you up nicely for this game.
As ‘the New Kid” (or “Douchebag”), as you will be called, Cartman in his alter ego the Coon comes to warn of an impending doom to his timeline which really is nothing more than a ploy to move everyone from playing as wizards and knights to playing super heroes. The goal for the South Park kids is to stop the Freedom Pals from getting a super hero franchise first. After creating your character (in which changing your race and gender causes NPCs to react to you in different ways), you go through a brief fighting tutorial, you are given your backstory (and it’s really twisted) and off you go.
While it’s probably one of the most solid RPGs out there, it’s still clever that most of this game’s premise is still based around kids playing make believe. You get this early on when facing cousin Kyle who accuses you of cheating, stealing turns, healing, etc. Also, don’t be surprised when some of your most heated battles are interrupted as the kids stop to move out of the way of oncoming cars.
Again, as with SoT, the game feels like a long form version of the show and you can really feel that there is a lot of material here which the South Park creators could never get away with on television. Even still, with a few jokes, you still feel like they are skirting the line. There are still quite a few things in the game which nod to some iconic things in the South Park franchise as a whole, regardless of whether they are major or minor to the long running series. You may also run across a few things that might require looking at a wiki to find out what they are. But again, if you are a fan, you will be happy to see how much is stuffed into the game, even after a short play session.
What makes this game work so well aren’t just the jokes, but the questionable reality that everybody seems to be in on at some point. There are red lava areas that you can’t cross, which are nothing more than just Lego blocks, but no one else will seem to attempt to cross either. It’s as if the whole town is on the jokes in this game, which plays into the show as well. Of course, there are some very questionable jokes; but let’s be real, it wouldn’t be South Park without them. The moment you see priests pulling anal bead rosaries out of their arses, you will never be the same.
As far as combat is concerned, it feels a bit fresher than it did in SoT. Being in the right position is important to get the right hits in, as well as avoiding damage. However, one downside thus far is that unless you have a character whose power set is angled a certain way, you will miss hitting your foes. With that, it’s wise to know what kind of team you are assembling before you fight. Luckily, you can exchange your battle buddies in and out before you start combat. Also, there seems to be a deeper crafting system here than there was before, and it’s needed because your character will collect tons of items through your journey.
The only other downside may be that, like SoT, you may feel like you are spending more time traveling through the town just to find stuff to do; but the the exploration is worth it for all of the sight gags, as well as the TV and radio audio from past episodes that you will hear. Luckily, there are fast travel points that you can use to move from one end of town to the other once you find them.
The bottom line is, if you were a fan of Stick of Truth, then getting the sequel is a no-brainer. Also, as a bonus, depending on your region, some copies contain codes that allows you to get get SoT as well. That means if somehow you missed out on that, you can play through that and then move right into the Fractured But Whole. For 60 dollars, this is a can’t miss package.
4 Coonstagrams out of 5