I was a kid when the South Park started airing two decades ago. In the meantime, I grew up, but I didn’t stop finding the kids from the SP block and their humor incredibly funny. It’s the combination of mischievous and shocking writing with likable, but equally offensive characters that keep the franchise going. The new title for PS4, Xbox One, and PC called South Park Fractured But Whole (try reading the last two words as one…get it?) is another excellent episode of the show packed in the form of a video game.
The Coon Is Back!
Those of you who carefully follow the TV series might remember the coon. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of the South Park, created this character for season 13. The weird combination of a raccoon and Batman is back and is once again played by Cartman. The Coon wants to gather a team of superheroes, which is a change compared to the elves and wizards we got to control in The Stick of Truth.
Each of the characters has an alter ego, such as Super Craig or The Human Kite (Kyle). From the beginning, you notice that the game reminds of its predecessor. Considering that it is also an RPG, it’s only natural that you need to begin by selecting a profession. After that, you will choose one of three classes, including a Blaster for increased fire damage, Brutalist who is perfect for close-range fighting, and Speedster, which provides you with speed-related abilities.
It’s a Classic RPG with a South Park Twist
The game fells nothing short of RPG classics, but it also fails to offer anything more. Each superhero brings a combination of unique advantages and drawbacks to the playing field. For example, The Human Kite is the one you need if you want to heal other team members. Aside from the Coon’s cast of superheroes, there are also Freedom Pals. They were on a joint mission before they had an argument and went separate ways.
The cast of Freedom Pals includes Wonder Tweek, Tupperware (Token), and Toolshed (Stan). Of course, Coon & Friends needs to be more successful than them. The first objective they need to complete is to find a cat went missing in their neighborhood. Naturally, the only reason Cartman accepted this mission is the $100 prize for getting the cat back. But if you ask him, it’s the first step the gang of superheroes needs to make to become a successful superhero franchise, just like Marvel’s cast.
Are You Cool Enough to Be a Member of Coon & Friends?
You will assume the role of the new kid on the block. Before joining the Cartman’s gang, you need to show that you are cool enough to become a member. You will do that by getting enough followers on Coonstagram, the in-game social network. Completing a couple of missions turns out to be the best way to increase your fan base. The ranking on Coonstagram reflects on your in-game ranking and makes you a better brawler.
You can freely explore the town in South Park Fractured But Whole, but it’s the battles that make the core of the game. The developers decided to follow a standard RPG turn-based concept. The entire battlefield is divided, and you move on an isometric grid. Your position will directly determine what moves you can perform and to whom you can inflict damage. Although this is a step forward from the previous game, it’s still not even close to serious games from the genre.
Collect and Use Artifacts as Boosts
The difficulty level increases as you progress through the game. In the later stages, it will be much harder to take down your enemies. That is why you will need to take advantage of artifacts which provide various boosts to your team, such as raising the level of your Might or enhancing your defensive skills.
Do you remember the training for new abilities that you had to undergo in the previous game? The Fractured But Whole throws that feature out because a lot of players complained that it was a time-waster. Instead, all new elements added to the gameplay mechanics are explained onscreen.
Explore the South Park
As already mentioned, players can freely move around the South Park town. It’s just incredibly exciting to visit famous show locations, such as the local school. Everywhere you go, you can find useful resources. Collecting them enables crafting tools and items that you need to fulfill an objective. Costumes are among the available resources, but there are also valuable artifacts that can help you on the battlefield, such as antidotes.
While you are exploring the neighborhood, you will encounter side missions and challenges that you can complete aside from the main quest. The problem is that most of the tasks are mind-numbingly easy. Yes, I know that South Park is a cartoon, but it’s one that’s more watched by adults than children. Unfortunately, even the kids can complete the in-game puzzles.
Fractured But Not Whole Puzzles
For example, numerous puzzles require you find a hidden path. Detecting it is anything but creative, considering that it usually involves noticing a flashing object and shooting it. There is also an in-game currency, but there is no need to worry since there are no microtransactions. In fact, the importance of cash is non-existent. Gathering resources and crafting items is how you can get the best items and having a money stash will rarely come as useful.
Fractured But Weird Humor and Fun
If this game isn’t a South Park release, it wouldn’t be near as fun. Fortunately, the characters and their humor are the selling point of this RPG title. As usual, Cartman and the gang aren’t afraid to poke the bear called real-world problems. If you visit the church, beware of the priest as he might have a crush on you. Oh, and when you are creating your character, notice how choosing a darker skin color influences the difficulty settings.
There is not much doubt here – if you are a fan of the series, Fractured But Whole is worth taking a look. The RPG elements are fun enough to keep your attention as you get the storyline moving and keep laughing at the offensive jokes you are used to from the creators. However, if you are not a fan of the show and its crude humor, it’s probably best to stay away from the game.