What To Expect From South Park: The Fractured But Whole


A new game set in the
South Park universe is out. Here’s what to expect. South Park: The Fractured But Whole arrives
three years after The Stick of Truth, which was also set in a world where
the battle system is imaginary. These are turn-based RPGs. You walk around town, talk to your favorite
characters and get into lots of fights. This time around, the kids have cynically
ditched their swords and spells in favor of a more lucrative genre: superheroes. You team up with Cartman, Kyle, Craig and
a bunch of other kids who go to school by day and fight crime by night. It’s never really clear how much of this
superhero game is happening in the South Park world and how much is pretend,
but that’s the point. The Fractured But Whole’s best jokes take
advantage of its ambiguous reality. You can’t cross those red Lego bricks,
because the kids say they’re lava. If your character walks on them,
you’ll combust into flames. You can only move a certain number of spots
during combat, unless a car is coming. “Kneel before—“ “Car. ” “Uh, car.” And everyone has to quickly relocate. “Get out of the street, freakin’ kids.” If you played Stick of Truth expect
more of the same. More fart jokes, more video game meta gags,
more shock humor, more fan service and more ridiculous premises. Fractured But Whole’s combat system takes
the turn-based battles of Stick of Truth and adds a dash of strategy games like
Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics. Rather than stand in one place and attack,
you and your party will now fight enemies on a grid-based battlefield. It’s consistently fun, if easy. The small battlefields and limited ability
options don’t leave you with many interesting decisions in combat, but the writing and animation
make up for any mechanical shallowness. Every battle is full of banter based
on the situation and your party makeup. Characters like Wendy and Stan have fun interactions. Even lesser-known characters like Clyde
have amusing exchanges with enemies. South Park remains a kaleidoscope of tones. The game is refreshingly flexible in letting
players identify their gender and sexuality, and takes a swipe at racist cops but also
features a sidequest in which you must hit sex workers to get them to turn on their pimp,
and it features the series’ long-running gag about Cartman’s raccoon-powered alter-ego
that shares its name with a racial slur. It is at times poignant and hilarious, and
at times tries a bit too hard to be provocative. Its charms are impossible to deny. “Yes, Officer. Somebody appears to have put
lava in front of my door.” But it holds your hand too much. There are quest pop-ups and helpful hints
everywhere, as if the developers were a bit too concerned with making sure nobody would
get stuck, lost or frustrated in any way. If you’re a fan of South Park and want more
of the first game, you’ll probably enjoy The Fractured But Whole. If you don’t care for South Park’s brand of shock humor, stay away.

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