The South Park game isn't a dodgy TV cash-in: who knew?
LET'S be very frank. The majority of games based on cartoon TV franchises are rubbish. All too often they are ill-conceived action games that feature poor controls, below average visuals and extremely shallow gameplay.
South Park: The Stick Of Truth bucks this trend with aplomb. For a start the game is a very demanding, deep role-playing adventure that sees you as a "new kid" and moving to the South Park region.
As a part of your introduction to the area you join Cartman's fantasy role-playing game club. Next, after a hilarious intro sequence that sets the tone for the rest of the game, it is off to explore the town many of you have watched on TV for years.
As you do this you meet the other inhabitants of the region, gather important quest items, develop your abilities and make plenty of friends.
The Stick Of Truth is the most authentic South Park game to see the light of day. The voiceovers are superb and the animation looks like it could have been plucked from an episode.
You get to chose a character class, and then it is off to do Cartman's bidding, as you face the other factions in the town. The many quests you are given in the game open up the world of South Park very gradually.
While you will be always meeting new friends during the game, it does take a while for you to have met many of the more central characters. The game is very combat heavy, and the turn-based battle system is easy to use.
The system lets you use potions and inventory items before sel-ecting your magical or physical attack. There are also one-off special attacks that can be quite devastating. Many of these are also quite comical.
In keeping with RPG tradition there is also scope for character and skill development. You can choose from a variety of enhancements to help you level up in a way that best suits your play style.
Indeed aside from the enjoyable combat and regular exploration and questing, the Stick Of Truth really brings to the table that wacky irreverent sense of humour fans of the series love.
These tongue-in-cheek moments are exactly what you'd expect from the minds behind the TV show and the game delivers such a delightfully authentic and often politically incorrect experience. There is also plenty of swearing, but in the context of the action none of it is gratuitous.
The Stick Of Truth is not perfect though. After completing a major combat-oriented quest the game froze and had to be reloaded. This was infuriating.
Also at times you will find it is possible to get stuck in the scenery and your movement is stifled by backgrounds that look like they should be completely navigable.
South Park: The Stick Of Truth
Format: Xbox 360