When Ubisoft and the creators of South Park first teamed up to create a video game, the result was surprisingly fun to play. The sequel, South Park: The Fractured but Whole, is even better. The simplistic gameplay and humorous story were both improved on without taking away any of the charm that the Stick of Truth had.
For the most part, the gameplay is very similar to that of the Stick of Truth, but with a few enhancements. The main character is still the new kid. This time, the new kid is the latest super hero going through initiation in Cartman’s group, Coon and Friends. The kids eventually start calling the new kid “Butt Lord” since the source of power is from reality altering farts. Each of the kids have their own alter-egos as well. Cartman tasks the new kid with going around and gaining followers on ‘Coonstagram’ in order to get money to fund a series of movies and Netflix shows that are a close parallel to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The new kid gets followers by taking selfies with them. Cartman’s idea is that if Coon and Friends can get more followers than their rivals, The Freedom Pals, they can fund their theatric franchises.
In South Park: the Fractured but Whole, the kids are investigating the disappearance of cats around town. The $100 reward for finding one named Scrambles will fund the kids movie franchises.
The fictional small mountain town is more or less the same as it was in Stick of Truth. There is a fast travel system that features Jimmy as his super hero alter-ego, Fastpass, instead of Timmy. Many of the locations featured in the show are here as well. Memorable spots like City Wok, South Park Elementary, and Stark’s Pond are there for the band of fourth graders to explore. Oh, and Cartman’s house is still the base of operations for the group of troublesome kids; the only difference is this time they hang out in the basement and not the backyard. Cartman’s basement looks like a very shoddy Batcave, which is what you would expect from a 9 year old.
The gear in South Park: The Fractured but Whole has no impact on gameplay. The clothing is all cosmetic whereas in Stick of Truth it boosted character stats. While the apparel doesn’t it effect game play, it adds unique character customization because you can wear a costume that makes sense for your class choices. The character enhancements in Fractured but Whole come from the Artifacts that can be equipped. These trinkets can be found or crafted and usually consist of a few random items cobbled together by children with vivid imaginations. They increase party health, make status effects more potent, or increase critical damage to name a few buffs they provide. Also, as the new kid gains new classes, more combat abilities are added and they can be swapped out at any time.
The combat system in Stick of Truth, in my opinion, left a lot to be desired. In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, the whole system was scrapped and a new one was put in it’s place. The battle’s now feature up to 4 characters at a time, including the new kid. A grid system was also introduced where abilities can be used in a wide variety or patterns. Some attacks can only be used left or right, some are in a X pattern, and others are deployed in an area of effect to name a few. Some of the abilities featured damage over time effects and others have knockback. I found there were a few kids that had AoE attacks, and i favored them the most as they had the most versatility in combat.
The dialogue in South Park: The Fractured but Whole is as good as any episodes of the show have been. The one large difference is the level of swearing in the game is off the charts. When walking around town, the New Kid can slap or fart on just about everyone. In return, these people usually drop F-bombs at the New Kid, or draw comparisons between Mr. Hankey and the New Kid. There is a lot of swearing in this game.The story line is basically straightforward, but there are occasions where it becomes a bit convoluted. One example where the story comes a bit unraveled is when Cartman goes over the New Kid’s origin story which is added upon and changed slightly every time the New Kid adds a new class to the character sheet. The origin story changes a few times throughout the game, but always has some key themes. Thematically, this make sense as the story is being told by a group of 9 year olds with vivid imaginations.
It is worth noting that on the Switch version, there are some crippling bugs found in the code. There is one mission where the new kid has to help Wendy at the cell phone store, and as they enter the store the game locks in a load screen. I also encountered one file corrupting bug that completely wiped out 16 hours of progress. I went into a building, with my level 8 character and came out as a level 1 character. Luckily, I had made a backup save file so I only had to replay about two hours. At that point, I decided to make more additional save files for a total of four. I ran into the same bug again, but the redundant save files made eliminated the issue. If you buy this game, I highly recommend making several back up files until Ubisoft patches the bug. From what I have read, Ubisoft is aware of the bug and plans to patch it with their next update.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole is an enjoyable game that is good for gameplay and for laughs alike. If you are a fan of the show, I highly recommend getting this game, Mmkay. If you plan on getting it for the Nintendo Switch, you may want to wait until the latest patch is released though. This game will have you laughing the entire time you play it. I give it a 8 out of 10.