South Park: The Fractured But Whole – Review

South Park: The Fractured But Whole continues the story of the new kid. The game picks up the day after the events in Stick of Truth so you will want to have played that before going through Fractured But Whole. Right now if you purchase South Park: The Fractured But Whole you will receive Stick of Truth for free so that you can be fully caught up on what is taking place in the city of South Park. The kids are playing super heroes this time around and are trying to come up with a plan to expand their franchise and make millions of dollars. One of the first steps in their plan is to get a series started on Netflix. One of the ways they will do this is getting a $100 reward for finding a missing cat. While determining the course their new franchises will take there is a big disagreement in the group and half of them leave to go do their own thing. It basically turns out to be a Marvel vs. DC Comics type of thing.

If you have played Stick of Truth you will notice that South Park Digital Studios and Ubisoft changed things up for Fractured But Whole. For starters the combat has been changed to more of a strategy-RPG grid system. When it becomes your turn there are only a certain amount of areas that you can move to. You have to decide whether it is in your best interest to unleash an attack in that moment or simply go forward as much as you can and then end your turn without doing anything else so you can push the grid forward for your next turn. There is also only one person allowed per square so if Cartman is in the square directly in front of an enemy you won’t be able to be there either. Depending on your load out that won’t matter though as there are long range attacks in the game so you don’t have to be in your opponent’s face the whole time. The combat has a nice layer of strategy to it as I mentioned above but there is also the possibility of healing or giving a party member a buff so they can become stronger or once the meter fills up, unleashing a super attack that should do a significant amount of damage on your enemies. If you aren’t familiar with strategy-RPGs this might trip you up at first but once you get used to how this system works you will discover how to use it to your advantage. In addition to your normal combat maneuvers you also have your farts that can help change the outcome of a fight. There are four “TimeFarts” you will learn over the course of going through the game. The one that I found the most useful while in combat was the “TimeFart Glitch” where it essentially cancelled an enemy’s turn. You need to be quick if you want to use it though because once your enemy begins his turn it is too late. Utilizing this power definitely helped me out in battles where I was on the brink of being knocked out, especially against overpowering bosses. There are summons in the game as well that you will unlock by helping certain South Park residents so you will want to be on the lookout for those as well.

In Stick of Truth part of the leveling up process was changing outfits. The outfits that you would find later in the game made you more powerful than what you wore in the beginning. This isn’t the case in Fractured But Whole and it was a change I was glad to see. I was happy to see it primarily because I was able to wear an Assassin’s Creed outfit that I got off of Ubisoft Club for the whole game. Instead of stats being tied to clothing this time around there are artifacts that you will either craft or find around South Park. As your character levels up more slots will be unlocked for different artifacts. The higher the number an artifact has the better. Once I beat the game my Might number was sitting at 811. As you progress through the game different missions will recommend you are at a certain level before you attempt them. One example of this was I needed to help Mosquito get his dad’s credit card back from the girls at Raisins. The game recommended my might be at least 500 before attempting that mission. When I first got that mission I was around 300 so I waited until I found the right artifacts that would put me over 500 so I could go do that mission. As you are exploring South Park you are going to want to explore everywhere. Go into houses and look in cabinets and whatever else you can find to find various items that will be added to your inventory. You need these items to craft other items, whether it be an artifact that will make you stronger or a consumable item like a taco that will give you health in battle. You will want to visit the artifacts menu often as you get more items in the game to make sure you are on top of everything and that you are as powerful as you can be. When equipping different artifacts though you will want to be careful about how it affects your team. There are some artifacts that while they might raise your might, they will also harm your team. There were a few instances where I decided not to equip a more powerful artifact until I found something better that would get me that same increase in power but wouldn’t damage my squad.

As you progress in the game you will be able to select different classes. One of my favorite classes was definitely the Assassin class as not only did it give me some nice regular combat moves, the super move always did a tremendous amount of damage against my enemies. You can mix and match your loadout as well which I really appreciated. I could pick a move from the Assassin’s class that would make my enemies bleed and then fill another slot with a perk from the Psychic class that would cause my enemies to get confused and turn on each other. You’ll have to play around with the different combinations to see what works best for you. I really enjoyed the freedom this system gave me and how I could always change things up if something wasn’t working for me.

As you are making your way through the game it is also important to raise your social media influence. You do this by taking selfies with as many people as possible, which will get them to follow you on Coonstagram. Not everyone is enthusiastic about taking a selfie at first and some will ask you to help them out of a jam before they agree to become one of your social media followers. Doing these side missions will help you out in a number of way, including gathering materials like I mentioned above that will help you craft items that will help you to get strong and be more proficient in combat. It all ties together rather nicely. When you have a few free moments be sure to check out the Coonostagram app from time to time to see some of the interactions between all of the kids. Some of them will definitely give you a chuckle and will include a plethora of hashtags such as #coonstapic, #hot, #coonstagood, #selfie, #TweekBros, #bored, and many more.

Anyone who has played Stick of Truth or even watched a South Park episode will know what to expect here in terms of the game’s presentation and signature style. With that said the episode of South Park that aired last week is a prequel to Fractured But Whole so you will definitely want to try and watch it before starting the game. It isn’t required obviously but it will give you a good understanding of what is taking place in South Park with your friends and why it is happening. There are definitely instances where they toe the line with the things they have you do and then, of course, there is literal toilet humor. There is actually an achievement for using every available toilet in South Park and achieving the highest mastery level for each. Essentially you need to go to a bunch of your friend’s houses and some businesses and utilize the facilities with style. It is something that really only South Park could do. If you are an achievement hunter then you will be happy to hear that the list is better than it was in Stick of Truth. There is really only one missable achievement and you can make sure you don’t miss it almost immediately. There is an achievement called “The Token Experience” where you need to create a black character and complete the game on Mastermind difficulty. So, if you want to get all of the achievements in one playthrough, make sure you choose those options when the game prompts you. As far as all of the other achievements are concerned nothing is missable so you don’t have to worry about that like you did in Stick of Truth.

The references to some recent seasons and to Stick of Truth itself also made me happy and had me chuckling. I won’t spoil anything here but there was one instance where someone was complaining about Stan’s costume and how his costume in Stick of Truth looked better. His response was for them to give him a break because he didn’t have as much time to make this new game. There were some other instances where a location that did one thing in Stick of Truth might be doing something different in Fractured But Whole, using a reference from the last season. Longtime South Park fans should get a kick out of all of these references but one of the cool things about how they did Fractured But Whole is how they leaned in to some more recent events so you don’t have to have seen all of the episodes to enjoy the game and references it makes.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a tremendous amount of fun but it isn’t for everyone, much like the show itself. If you don’t enjoy the type of humor that South Park is known for then this game won’t change your mind. If you do enjoy the show though, or even if you haven’t seen the show but enjoyed Stick of Truth, I highly recommend you pick up this game. It picks up the day after the events of Stick of Truth and this time the kids are playing super heroes while trying to make millions of dollars. I definitely enjoyed the game and look forward to spending some more time in South Park.

Score: 8.5/10
Originally posted on Gaming Target

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