With the fall of the mighty THQ and the purchasing of South Park: The Stick Of Truth by Ubisoft, all of us have been questioning what may or may not change in the final product. Especially since Ubisoft has it's hearts with the French and the Canadians and the minds behind South Park love to tear them apart. With questions like that and a huge interest in the game, I took a seat and watched what Obsidian had to show us at E3 after the great publisher swap. Granted, some of these might not be additions or substitutions due to the swap, but it was all shown during the demo I was graced with.
First and foremost, there is quite a bit of fart jokes. Much akin to the running gags with Terrance and Phillip on the show. The big difference is that it is all tied to the main character's, Douche-bag, abilities and fighting styles. In fact he even has a power that is dubbed his Dragon Shout, Skyrim peoples know what this is, and that allows him to unleash a non-stop or intermittent fart blast that can destroy parts of the environment and background enemies. From the demo it was used quite a bit, some in comic form but mostly in destroying walls form.
Now why am I talking about destroying enemies and environments when this is supposed to be a turn based RPG? Well it still is a turn based RPG, but as you move about you run into blockades and random enemies that can be taken care of outside of the main combat system. Think along the lines of a side scrolling beat-em-up and you can understand what I am getting at. Not only do you use your "Dragon Shout" but Douche-bag can also use a few of his basic spells to manipulate the environment. This includes throwing "knock out" farts as well as throwing said farts through flames to throw fire balls. There was also a sling shot, but it works just as you would assume.
When you are not "side scrolling" or watching another hilarious cut scene, you are in combat in a traditional turn-based manner. Getting into these combats, including a bit on how they played out, looked quite a bit like how Chrono Trigger handled them back in the day. You could see the "random" encounter on the screen and have to engage them to move into the turn based combat. Also worth mentioning again, in the combat is the use of trigger buttons that, as I mentioned in previous articles, work exactly like what we got used to in Mario RPG.
What was also damn cool was the fact that while the traditional attacks and magics, like water blast and fireball, are in the game, Obsidian has tailored them to be as a fourth grader in a LARP would use them. For instance, Water Blast consisted of a hand pumped Super Soaker blasting water at the enemy while Chain Lightning employed a puddle of water spilled over the target's area and then a cattle prod thrown down. There are supposedly over 80 different attacks like this in the game, but that was not heard directly from Obsidian or Ubisoft.
As this is a game "about being the coolest kid in the land," what else would you expect other than "Facebook" being the hub for all of the events and communication in the game. Part of what is kept in track is all of the main missions and side missions in the game. At one point they showed Douche-bag saving a girl who later joined him in the form of a "Facebook" friend. This was briefly gone over, but it is safe to assume that this will be the tracking for all of the things that you may do while on the hunt for the Stick Of Truth.
Finally, and this is a bit of the really new, there are at least three different factions in the game and Douche-bag gets to select one of them at some point. In the demo I saw, we began fighting on the side of Cartman (Humans) and then were given the option to jump ship to Kyle (High Elves) after beating down Cartman. The third came in at the end of the demo where Craig informs us that he has take the Stick and has branched his own group. Craig's group being the more demonic and "evil" looking of the three.
Much like many South Park fans out there, Holiday 2013 feels too far away. Hells, even you turn-based RPG fans who can handle the amazing humor of South Park should be looking forward to this game. Just remember, the whole phenomenon started with crappy animation and fart jokes and with Matt and Trey penning and voicing everything it is sure to be as amazing as the show.