They say that patience is a virtue. Sometimes it even gets rewarded. South
Park: The Fractured But Whole is one of the most postponed games in recent
memory, and unless something goes terribly wrong again we’ll finally get to play it
Let’s take a look at what Cartman and co. are cooking up for us in this sequel to
2014’s SP: The Stick of Truth.
Three years ago the kids of South park played a city-wide fantasy LARP, and you, the
New Kid, had to fit in somehow. But that was a long time ago, in the distant past of
yesterday, if we stick to the internal timeline of the game. Nobody cares about your
past achievements. New things are all the rage now, get with the program. What
things? Why, superheroes of course!
The kids are trying to create their own superhero franchise, complete with Netflix
deals and all that jazz. Of course it devolves into a Marvel’s Civil War pastiche,
fought between Marvel-like Coon and Friends and DC-ridiculing Freedom Pals.
The player character gets to participate in the fun, of course. The obligatory
superhero origin story is narrated by Cartman, and it reportedly involves the new
kid witnessing parents getting to know each other in the Biblical sense. And that’s
probably the most tame thing about this game, if reports are to believed.
A welcome change is enabling both sexes at chargen, an option lacking in the
More actual classes
In keeping with the superhero theme going for it, the new South Park will introduce
a class system based around 12 superhero archetypes, such as speedster or brawler.
Each of the classes will come with a unique selection of special abilities,
including over-the-top supers which will likely rival the ones from Injustice 2.
It’s been stated that switching between archetypes is going to be possible, as well
as mixing and matching them to some uncertain extent. Some classes will allegedly be
unavailable at character creation require unlocking during playthrough.
Tied to the new class system is loot, which is said to be plentiful and meaningful,
for a change. Details remain hidden so far, though.
The first game was fairly static in terms of its battle system. It was reminiscent
of early RPGs, with characters standing in front of each other, spamming abilities
from their positions. It’s all in the past now, too.
The Fractured Butt Whole combat system is going to be somewhat
similar to the one we know from The Banner Saga, or a very simplified (and probably
more openly fair) XCOM reboot. All of it will happen on a grid allowing characters
to move around and position themselves in a way than enables their abilities to have
the best effect without exposing oneself to enemy attacks. Although positioning
might not be as essential and large-scale as in the previous game, it will likely
introduce some welcome complexity to a previously fairly straightforward game.
Environments and exploration
In terms of presentation, South park: The Fractured But Whole isn’t going to differ much from what Obsidian-developed sequel achieved.
It still will look like a long and interactive episode of the TV show, down to the
jerky paper-cut-out animation.
One big improvement is going to involve visiting hard-to-get places. Using the New
Kids epic farting abilities (also familiar from the previous game) and Kyle’s alter
ego Human Kite, you’ll be able to reach the rooftops for loot and secrets. This also
mean a change from the buddy mechanic. Instead of teaming up with one character or
another, the game will pick the one which will be helpful in a given situation, as a
sort of helpful cameo.
Expectedly crude and irreverent
It wouldn’t be a South Park, if the writing didn’t take comedic shots at just about
anything. In this case the primary target is the superhero movie genre, but we can
expect many things above and beyond it. After a recent demo there’ve been reports of
an interactive lapdance sequence coupled with farting on (the player’s) demand,
collecting bodily fluids and generally casually earning the “M for Mature”
There is no guarantee that South Park: The Fractured But Whole
won’t be pushed back even more, of course, but what is known so far looks like a
very entertaining game, making well-deserved fun of the staple genre of 21st century
cinema. Familiar, iconic visual style, writing and voicework done by the masterminds
of the franchise, and gameplay design expanding on the basis created for the
prequel. I may be a sequel long in the making, but it has all the trapping of a
sequel we deserve.
SouthPark: The Fractured But Whole launches on October 17 this year.
Unless it doesn’t.