Last night, during a private event here at E3, THQ and Obsidian Entertainment gave us a first look at the South Park game that could very well make a difference to fans, South Park: The Stick of Truth. In the game, you play a “new kid” who’s moved into town, and shuffled off by his parents (so they can engage in, ahem, other activities) to make new friends.
It isn’t long before you run into familiar favorites like Cartman and Butters, who are engaging in a Lord of the Rings style game, deeming you cool enough to join. It’s a long journey, though, as you start out on the level of “douchebag” and have to work your way up to level 2 – nicely named “butthole."
Where The Stick of Truth makes a difference over previous South Park games is with the involvement of the show’s creators. As you saw in Microsoft’s press conference yesterday, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are heavily involved with the project, not only providing input on the art style but every piece of the game’s dialogue and scripting. That makes a huge difference compared to games of the past as their input is valued and appreciated, and you can see that with every bit of action that unfolds on the screen.
The art style is exquisite yet crude. Obsidian Entertainment has managed to nail down the hilariously bad walking animations of the show, where characters jitter around while they walk. The South Park world itself, however, is quite good, as you can visit a number of locales straight from the show, scattered throughout. (Trey and Matt actually stated how much effort it took to do this, since they never had to do it for the show.)
Some of the locations are great too, including a home base that includes a Pool of Vision (kiddie pool, which someone urinates in midway through the demo) and a huge tent where Cartman sits atop his “throne” (a messed up leisure chair).
The game retains a classic role-playing spirit, though. Along with visiting locations and talking to people, you’ll also take part in battles, where you’ll fight enemies in turn-based fashion, using a number of spectacular spells. One involves your “new kid” waving a sparkler; another has Cartman unleashing a thunderous fart; and one even has Mr. Slave run in and…well, “absorb” your enemy with his, ahem, butt. We’re serious. This style of attacks makes The Stick of Truth stand out over other RPG’s.
Finally, the game features a wondrous customization engine, with a variety of tools and hats to create your ideal South Park character. And it’s awesome. You could spend hours recreating yourself in this universe, and it never gets old.
South Park: The Stick of Truth could very well be the South Park game that truly justifies the license’s place in video games. We simply can’t wait to see more. Look for a more in-depth preview later on, with a release to follow on March 5, 2013.