South Park The Fractured But Whole Review – A Whole New, But Filled Adventure
South Park is a cartoon first and a video game second. It tackles in a satiric matter some of the most criticizes subjects of today’s society. South Park: The Fractured But Whole takes some of the best moments from the series and brings them to life in a funky video game adaptation.
“We are at war, but the only way to win this war is to be as understanding, non-biased and politically correct as possible.” – PC Principal (South Park)
From the get-go, you are prompt to create a character. There is an interesting list of options at your disposal. Male or female, the character you will end up designing is the one you will be playing. Fear not! Later in the game, if you are not satisfied with some of your features, you can change them as fast as it takes to get a haircut.
When you are done and about to complete your hero, you are asked to choose a skin color that ranges from white to black. As it turns out, the darker your skin color is, the more difficult the game will be. It is important to note, however, that the skin color you choose does not affect the combat difficulty, but other elements found in the game instead, such as your relationship with others. Once you have your character ready, you go outside to play with your friends.
Cartman appears as The Coon from the future to inform you that Scrambles the cat has been kidnapped and there is a 100$ reward, a good amount to get their Super Hero franchise kickstarted. The kids then change from playing the Stick of Truth to Super Heroes. Although they are all playing the same game, they are separated in two ‘franchises’ because some of them don’t believe in Cartman’s franchise plans. On one side you have the Coon and Friends, on the other, Freedom Pals. After declining you at first, The Coon finally agrees to let you join his team, but you need a background.
Choose your first class and then, The Coon gives you a backstory – see it as an opportunity to learn about your newly acquired powers. You start off with one class, but as you progress through the game, you get to unlock more.
A New Combat System, No More Mana!
Unlike The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole has new fighting mechanics. In this iteration, you get a little more freedom of movement. This means that positioning yourself properly can change the entire tide of a battle. For example, using knockbacks pushes enemies away from you, but at the same time, it gives your allies a free hit opportunity if they land on them. Knocking back towards another enemy damages both – a great way to hit two birds with one stone.
Combat isn’t limited to melee attacks and knockback effects; the game also has a variety of interesting range moves and debuffs. Abilities can have different range and while some heal or deal damage, certain apply effects. Such effects include bleeding, grossing out, shocking, freezing, charming and burning. It is also possible to heal allies and apply protective shields. As for attacks, melee and range are pretty much what you have access to. You can knockback, but certain moves also attract. Use them carefully as you put yourself in the best position possible to avoid maximum damage from harm.
Like most RPG, there are items and consumables you can use and craft. There isn’t anything fancy, but overall, you can craft items that heal, revive, and remove special conditions. Summon consumables can also be crafted, but only a certain amount of times. Use them wisely!
Unlike the past title, there are no weapons. The Fractured But Whole instead has a DNA tree where you set up various “trinkets” that boost your stats. The higher your overall modifier is, the stronger you are. However, the main DNA trinket, which you unlock later in the game, provides you with a massive boost of damage. You can easily gain an extra 20-25 percent more damage just by setting that one up. Trinkets can be found hidden in the city, can be purchased from shops, and can be crafted.
Keep in mind that not all fights require you to defeat all enemies. Some of them require you to take down the leader. Others don’t even ask you to kill anyone. Just make sure you read the encounter’s objective.
The City of South Park: A River By Day, A Jungle By Night
The city of South Park hasn’t changed much from the past game. There are a few new buildings here and there, but overall, it respects the series to the T. Visually, it is an immaculate replica of what you would see on the show. If you are familiar with South Park, you would know that the city is one hell of a cluster. The people seem nice and all, but when they group together under certain circumstances, chaos will rain.
The Fractured But Whole demonstrates the contrast clearly during the day and night shifts. When the sun is up, our Hero is tasked with some basic missions such as going to see Mr Mackee for some counseling or even trying to solve the relationship issues between Tweek and Craig. There are missions that are more story-oriented, but the interesting ones happen when the sun is down.
At night, the city of South Park turns into a completely different place. The pace changes, the people turn into careless and selfish idiots, and evil reigns over. The vibe reminds me of the episode when President Obama won and everyone was “free” in the streets. I would like to highlight something though. On the first night, you are asked to find information, thus leading to Classi. You end up looking for her at the Strip Club. The weird part is how everyone is so cool with children lurking in such a club at night and no one is doing anything about it. It only demonstrates how it is easy for youth to access mature content nowadays and how some priorities aren’t in order.
But How Powerful?
Exploring the city is a fun activity in South Park The Fractured But Whole. There are tons of side missions and mini puzzles to complete. For example, you are tasked to gather all of Big Gay Al’s furry cats, retrieve Yaoi arts of Tweek and Craig, find all the costumes and more. To achieve this, you must use your strength to go through some enemies, your wits to solve certain puzzles, and your incredible butt power to help you along the way.
Being the Hero, you have various powers that change depending on the different class you pick. There are many to choose from, such as Brutalist, Gadgeteer, Cyborg, Elementalist, Martial Artist, Speedster, Blaster, Psychic, Assassin, and Plantmancer. In addition to the class, which helps you in battle, and to convince certain people to take selfies with you, you can use your farting abilities.
Farting on enemies in the game can give you a preventive strike over an opponent by grossing them out, but that’s not all. You can also bend time and space. Once you have been through certain hardships, Morgan Freeman, yes…Morgan Freeman, will show you the ways to unlock your potential.
Ultimately, you will have the ability to freeze time, time skip, and more (I won’t go as far as to spoil the game for you). Time skip can be used outside of battles to go back a few seconds in Time. In battle, however, it skips someone’s turn. Use it wisely since it takes a little bit of time to ‘reload’. Freezing time allows you to go through deadly traps in order to defuse them. In battle, use it to get a few free hits on enemies. Honestly, it is better to keep the Time Skip ready.
Using your fart powers in combination with your class attacks can make a useful difference. Adding proper character positioning and team balancing will give you the advantage you might be looking for.
New But Inspired Adventure!
South Park is a fun adventure filled with racism, aggressive insults, a just the right amount of nudity – although it wasn’t really required to be quite honest, and a colorful array of characters. The new fighting mechanics are less boring and a lot more intuitive. It drives you to take advantage of your surroundings and positioning to deal as much damage as possible and kite your enemies into a trap. It adds a new character that has nothing to do with the canon series but fits the setting nonetheless.
The main story by itself is basic – find Scrambles – but there is so much going on in that city that it intertwines different narratives into one another. The highlight of the game isn’t how the game looks, or the combat system. No. The highlight lies in the voice acting. As a South Park show feels, The Fractured But Whole is as free in its way to express itself. A special wow to Randy’s voice acting and script.