Sometimes a game just slips under the radar. Whatever the reason for this occurring, be it bad marketing, classification problems or a strange concept, some games just fail to find their audience. Here at Player2.net.au we want to highlight these rough gems and that is where “In Case You Missed It” comes in. Some games just deserve a second chance.
In Case You Missed It – South Park: The Stick of Truth
Licensed properties, especially when based on a TV show, have always had massive issues when translated to the world of video games. South park was no exception with some average games (South Park Tower Defence) and some terrible ones (South Park 64) getting released. It never looked like anyone was ever going to be able to capture the unique feel and humour of the famous cartoon. That was of course until Matt Stone and Trey Parker took a hand in things and The Stick of Truth came along.
The Stick of Truth was something of a revelation when it was released. It managed to capture the look and feel of the show perfectly while being an entertaining game in its own right. Using a traditional turn based RPG as its blueprint the game saw players taking control of a new kid in South Park, looking to make friends with Cartman, Butters, Kyle and Stan by playing a LARP game with them. Of course in typical South Park fashion things don’t stay so simple for long with Aliens, The Government, Al Gore and pesky Canadians all causing trouble for the new kid (lovingly dubbed Sir Douchebag by Cartman).
What is clear with this game is that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had a huge amount to do with the script and feel of the game. Even during its troubled development (The game was caught up in the THQ collapse and was in limbo until Ubisoft picked it up) Trey and Matt stood by they game assuring fans that this would be the best possible game they could make for their show. Their involvement really shines through and fans of the show were treated to a host of in jokes, nods to past episodes and their own particular brand of offbeat, often crude, always biting humour.
The gameplay, while not super deep, was certainly engaging with an entertaining combat system being the highlight. Feeling very similar to the combat found in Super Mario RPG, attacks could be boosted with well-timed button presses or joystick movements. This adds a level of interactivity and satisfaction that is quite often missing from turn based combat. The remainder of the game was simply exploring the city of South Park and later Canada (in 8 bit glory) and solving some simple puzzles and side quests. What elevates this above similar games is the fact this is a town so many people know intimately making the explorations all the more enjoying.
Of course it wouldn’t be a true South Park experience without some controversy. This came due to the game being refused classification in Australia due to some Alien Probe scenes. Despite similar content being show in the TV show it was deemed that these scenes were inappropriate for sale in Australia. This didn’t stop the South Park crew as they simply replaced these scenes in the Australia version with text explaining what Australians were missing upon the picture of a crying Koala. This was arguably funnier than the original banned scenes so it wasn’t any great loss for the Aussies.
Upon release The Stick of Truth was greeted warmly by critics and show fans however it seemed to stall a little in the sales department. It was released shortly before the Xbox One and PS4 so many people simply let it pass them by as they were waiting for bigger and better things. This is a giant shame and fans of the show should defiantly take the time to pick up the game and play through it, they will certainly not regret it. The Stick of Truth can be found for cheap on the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well as being on sale on Steam on a regular basis. If you have never liked South Park this game will not change your mind but if you have ever enjoyed your time in a small inbred mountain town in Colorado then the game is one you cannot afford to put off for any longer.