South Park: The Fractured But Whole

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is the sequel to the 2014 RPG, The Stick of Truth, which was the first title in a new series of South Park games that have both been developed by Obsidian Entertainment and South Park Digital Studios. As you can probably assume, South Park takes the same writers from the TV show and brings them together to create an interesting amalgamation of the South Park TV show with an RPG element. Filled to the brim with South Park humor and comedy gold, The Fractured But Whole is simply another South Park game that gives fans of the show an excuse to enter the town of South Park one more time with their favorite characters.

Surprisingly, The Fractured But Whole does have a story and a pretty darn good one, although it can get a little bit silly at times. The story this time around follows on from The Stick of Truth almost directly, by having the player take control of the New Kid once again at the end of The Stick of Truth. During this time, all of the kids in the town are playing their fantasy RPG game, all the while Cartman has decided to take up his superhero persona, The Coon; quickly resulting in many of the other kids taking part in the same ploy. Why have they taken up the mantra of superheroes you may ask? It’s all down to one reason: to find a cat and gain the $100 reward that’s available. The story may sound silly and completely ridiculous, but the hilarity of all of the characters and their development as superheroes the deeper you get into the game really makes the story shine, even if you look at it on paper and realize just how silly it really is.

When it comes to the general game play loop, it is both very similar to the first game and completely different in some regards. When not in combat, you do what you originally did and roam around the town of South Park, looking for fights, completing missions, and looting different items for one reason or another which will be touched upon in a moment. The big thing that did change this time around, however is the combat. In The Stick of Truth, the game used a turn-based battle system that had players pick and choose each attack for each character in their party, with the winner being whoever killed the other team’s party first. With this in mind, the game’s combat became pretty easy relatively quickly and that killed some of the charm for the game. Obviously, you could always change the difficulty, but that’s not the point – the game play shouldn’t have become as easy as it did that quickly.

With The Fractured But Whole, however, that isn’t quite the same. Instead, this time around the combat is more of a grid-based strategy RPG, but on a much smaller scale. To keep things nice and simple, the developers have made sure that the grid-based combat only tends to range between 12-30 individual squares, with each one a character being able to move to. At the start of each battle, all characters get thrown onto the grid and each character takes it in turns to move somewhere on that grid, and then pick from a variety of different abilities or use items. Different abilities can be used offensively or defensively depending on the character and their class and the winner of the battle is whoever knocks out the other one’s team first. Due to the fact the combat is more strategy-based this time, you have to keep in mind where you place your characters and requires a bit more of a thinking process from the player, meaning that even the normal difficulty isn’t a complete cakewalk.

Just like in any good RPG, players have the option of creating their party however they choose. How it works is you can pick and choose from 3 different party members (excluding yourself) and bring them into battle with you, with each one having their own special abilities. The New Kid (main character), however, has the option of choosing between different classes at any point in the game. To begin with, you only have 3 different classes to pick and choose from, but as time goes on in the game you are going to unlock new classes and with each respective class you’re going to have new abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

A big part of the game that they’ve changed, other than the combat is how you improve your character when it comes to looting items. Instead of finding items with better stats and equipping them, you now can create your character from a myriad of different cosmetic items that makes no difference to their power rating. To change or improve their power rating, you’ll need to equip these new items called artifacts, which will improve certain stats and general bonuses, depending on the one’s equipped. Artifacts can be both bought and crafted with craft-able materials that players will find throughout the world.

While it is nice that you can create your own superhero and make them look however you choose now; the funky loot system from the original game was always a nice and kooky extra that was easy to enjoy and it’s somewhat disappointing to see it gone.

Something some players aren’t going to appreciate when it comes to this game is going to be completely dependent on the fact on whether or not you enjoy South Park. More specifically, though, on whether or not you’re okay with toilet humor. South Park has always been known for its grotesque, childish, toilet humor that can be absolutely hilarious to some people and incredibly dumb to others. By any chance you’ve ever watched an episode of South Park and wondered how anyone could ever enjoy this show, the game isn’t going to change those feelings for you.

Aesthetically speaking, the game looks incredible. It has the same exact style of the TV show, right down to the visuals and the animations. Everything about this game makes you think you’re watching the South Park TV show, and that’s what makes the visuals all the more impressive if you’re a fan of the series.

Overall, South Park: The Fractured But Whole made some big changes in certain areas, such as the combat and the character improvement system, but for the most part, the changes have made the game more of a challenge, something the original game needed. Once again, the visuals are spot on, but the humor could really be a hit and miss for some people, especially if they despise toilet humor of any kind because this game has it in spades.

When it comes South Park: The Fractured But Whole , the name pretty much implies the sort of game you’re getting yourself in for from the very onset. By any chance you’re someone that finds South Park’s humor funny and would like to enjoy an SRPG that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you’ve got a game you could easily lose hours into without a second thought.