Written by Gregg Dietz & Edited by Ryan Copper
There is a saying that reads; “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” I think at this point, Matt Stone, Trey Parker and the writers of South Park would easily disagree. The Fractured But Whole provides its’ most offensive humor, while touching on more modern issues. As the show makes you uncomfortable while making you laugh, it easily makes some of the most insightful commentary on society as a whole. I wrote a review on The Stick of Truth back in 2014 and one thing that I found interesting was how inclusive it was to people who hadn’t watched the show since “Bigger, Longer and Uncut” had come out. For Fractured But Whole, it’s not nearly as inclusive.
The story picks up the very next day, following the event of Stick of Truth. Instead of a parody of fantasy based characters, this time it's a parody of superheroes. As the story unfolds, fans of the show will recognize a lot of the characters and places from the show but nothing new, and brings me to a point. A lot of the jokes this time feel like references to the show instead of using said references to make inclusive jokes. This isn’t so bad for me because i haven’t stopped watching the show since its debut in 1996. I just can’t imagine a lot of the jokes landed with folks. I hope i'm wrong in this assessment because the game is very funny. The funniest moments in the game are when the jokes are current and inclusive. Whether touching upon PC culture, gender identity or how the police treat the African American community, the game does not hold its punches, much like the show.
The gameplay consists of two parts: exploration and combat sequences. When walking around South Park, it looks and feels just like the show, something the first game did as well. However, the combat is different here. Instead of stationary, turn-based combat a la Final Fantasy, It's tactical turn-based combat; meaning as you engage the enemy, you must think about your position on the battlefield. It is much more simplistic than other tactical rpgs, but I argue that this is to make it less of a turnoff for fans who might not find it as fun.
Overall, I found the overall experience well worth my time. If you plan on checking this out, I would recommend doing as many side quests as you can, because that's where most of your laughs will come from. This game, much like the show, is not for the faint of heart -- if you are easily offended, just stay away. But if you are a fan of poignant satire or just a fan of South Park, I highly recommend playing this from start to finish. I give South Park: The Fractured But Whole an 8 outta 10.
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