South Park: The Fractured but Whole [Hands-on Preview]

I’m not a fan of the South Park TV series. It never really struck the right chords with me, but when Ubisoft released South Park: The Stick of Truth, I had a blast. I described it as “racist, sexist, silly and painfully self-aware”.

Ubisoft’s follow up to that incredibly successful game is based around a group of superheroes named Coon and Friends, made up of the kids of South Park, bought together by The Coon. (AKA Cartman dressed as a Raccoon.) Coon and Friends don’t really have the most noble of intentions with their hero escapades; they’re really just in it for a multi-billion dollar super hero franchise. It all kind of goes astray when the group splits because of a disagreement and they start a “Civil War”. I recently had a chance to check out the new game, and let’s just say I went above and beyond for you guys.

A massive part of the marketing for the new game involves a knock-off Oculus device called the Nosulus Rift. The Nosulus Rift is meant to increase your immersion by giving you the ability to smell what’s happening in the game. And of course, because this is South Park, Ubisoft used their powers for evil.

In the short 15 minutes of pre-alpha that I got to play, I was subjected to the foulest smelling stench I think I’ve encountered in a while. I didn’t even put the Nosulus Rift on and I could smell the offensive odor clinging to the air. I was asked to sign a release form, which is the most intimidating way to start of a hands-on for a game. “Here, sign this. We don’t want to get sued.”

After I was subjected (see: deceived) to physical toilet and fart humour twice, I made the conscious decision not to breathe in when I anticipated the worst was about to come – fat lot of good it did me. The smell of the farts got up your nose no matter how hard you tried not to breathe. It left a taste in the back of my mouth that even vodka and lemonade in-between the sessions couldn’t fix.

When my sense of smell wasn’t being assaulted by the aroma of fermented boiled eggs that sat in the sun for a week, I could actually enjoy the game. One thing I really liked about The Stick of Truth was the combat and class system. In The Fractured but Whole you choose what super power you’d like (I chose Speedster), which meant I had powers relating to great speed. The turn-based combat system is back again, but this time you’ve got the ability to move into range of an enemy to inflict more damage. The rest? It’s definitely a case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Coon and Friends

Coon and Friends

Cartman spins a tale about how you discovered your powers, but as always, it has a truly South Park twist on it. After you (The New Kid) hear the panicked noises of your mother, you discover there are intruders appearing from the bathroom. A fight breaks out and you defeat your opponents, which is impressive because it was like three adults versus one kid. But the noises you heard earlier continue. Curiously, you open your parents’ bedroom door and your life is changed forever, because (as Cartman puts it), you see your dad fuck your mom. This life-defining moment puts you on your quest to discover more about your powers. …yup, it’s a South Park game all right.

It looks exactly like a South Park episode, it sounds exactly like a South Park episode and it’s written exactly like a South Park episode. The kids are obscenely rude and foul-mouthed, the adults are unhinged and the inspiration is clearly a blatant rip-off of the DC/Marvel cinematic universe. I’m totally digging this silly RPG-style game, which is something I didn’t think I’d say about anything in the South Park series.

But man… that smell. That smell will stick to my soul like gum to your shoe.

10/10 Ubisoft, well played.

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