South Park first came on the air when I was in middle school and I was hooked from the very beginning. I can’t tell you how many times I watched my three VHS box collection of the first season. It’s been over twenty years and ever since then I have been raised on a diet of crude jokes, biting social commentary, and Scott Tenorman chili. I have played the terrible N64 licensed games and I have played (and loved) 2014’s Stick of Truth. Stick of Truth turned out to be my favorite game of the year (fun fact you get it for free when you buy The Fractured But Whole). It was a clever, fun, turn based game full of ins to the show perfect for a long time fans. I’m kinda of happy to say that not much has changed with the sequel.
The Fractured but Whole literally picks up where the Stick of Truth left off with most kids still playing Lord of the Rings when Cartman decides to abruptly switch gears and focuses on his super hero alter ego The Coon. You still play as the new kid, newly inducted into the ranks of The Coon & Friends. Once Cartman gives you your very tragic, horrible back story you can pick your preferred super power then it’s off to get your character sheet filled out. This means meeting with Mr. Mackey to discuss gender, picking your weakness with The Mosquito and so on. Part of the main story serves to launch the expanded universe of The Coon and Friends. To launch the franchise you are tasked with getting followers on Coonstagram (a meta joke at the expense of Watch Dogs?) the games version of social media. You can walk around South Park asking its residents to take a selfie with you and follow you. Some will do it right away, others not until you get a certain follower count and some like Randy need you to do a favor for them first. All the writing and quests are true to the South Park sense of humor .
The game play is still turned based but now characters move around on a grid to get in or out of attack range. This being pretend super heroes the weapons are gone, replaced with powers that you choose at the start of the game. To start you can choose from just three classes Speedster, Brutalist and Blaster but further in the game more options open up to you and you can swap out powers to better fit how you play. Each class offers different powers and range of attacks. For my first class I picked Blaster, which offers ranged attacks with some elemental damage. Each attack has a different range and area of effect. Some are pretty straight forward while others can be trickier to pull off. I think this adds a great bit of depth to the combat as you now have to plan ahead of time where you want to end up versus where the enemies will end up. Some enemies have special attacks that require a turn or two to set up but telegraph ahead of time where they will land, like a sixth grader peeing in a balloon in order to throw it at you. Just like the last game you eventually have a roster of friends to choose from to aid you in battle, each with their own move set and abilities. Some like Jimmy and Kyle can heal you while others like Cartman cause bleeding. Your “fart powers” are back but now cause time effects. This serves to skip enemy turns as well as helping you solve puzzles when not in combat. You also unlock special combo moves with certain characters to again help you solve puzzles and obtain new bits of gear or items. To replace the sticker upgrades from last game it’s now important to find and equip different relics. These relics effect stats like health and power. Each relic has an assigned power, this power level helps you judge the difficulty of enemies and missions. Leveling up your character doesn’t increase your power it just unlocks more slots to equip more relics.
The Fractured but Whole had seen a few delays which isn’t unheard of considering the Stick of Truth went through it’s own share of delays. I can’t really see where the extra time went though because aside from the adjustments in the combat system and story, the game looks and runs just like the original from 2014. It would have been nice to see the extra time go towards a bit more padding in actual game play. In the end my biggest complaint with the game is that it isn’t on the Nintendo Switch. Given the success of Mario+Rabbids it seems like a no brainer to bring this type of game over to the new console. South Park The Fractured But Whole is a perfect game in short bursts but long game sessions revealed the lack out other things to do in the game. That said I still loved this game and I wait anxiously to see what genre spoof the next game (hopefully there is a next game) will take on. If you are a fan of the series or just a fan of turn based RPGs pick up this game.