Farcry 4 Review

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I can sum up this review in 7 words: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. For the fourth game in the Far Cry series, Ubisoft have undoubtedly played it safe. Whilst this leads to a predictable game with similar scenarios to the last instalment, it can’t really be considered a bad thing when the experience was so great in the first place.

This time around you’re exploring Kyrat, a fictional place that’s based on the Himalayas. As you go to return your mother’s ashes to her place of birth, you find yourself swept up in a civil war, helping liberate the country from warlords and drugs barons. Taking a similar leaf out of 2 and 3, the idea of the reluctant hero, an everyday guy who gets dragged into something they weren’t expecting, is played well here, with the history and lineage of the player’s character leading to a good story that’s intrigues as it plays out.

FC4_Screen_Himalayas_Sniper_Merc_GC_140813_10amCET_1407889594The mass of quests, treasure and ‘collectomania’ factor are all still fully implemented in Far Cry 4, and it felt more than ever that there was always something constantly to do. With events always happening, I found it difficult when I first started playing to actually get anywhere with the main quests, as it always felt like someone needed rescuing, or a convoy needed attacking. Once I learned that these merely added to the flavour of the game and didn’t come with any real consequences, I was able to carry on missions, ignoring them if I needed to. This game really is a time sink on a level of Skyrim, where that ‘one last mission’ turns into a string of things that leave you bleary-eyed in the early hours of the morning.

So why am I not fully convinced? The problem with Far Cry 4 isn’t the game itself, more of a feeling that I’ve done all this before. Ubisoft really hit on something special with the third instalment, and it seems as if they’re acutely aware of this. Had this been a substantial DLC pack, I think this would have blown minds. But as a standalone product, it doesn’t really iterate from the previous game. The environment is too similar to the Rook Islands of 3, and whilst hunting Honey Badgers is insanely fun and the fortresses provide a tougher challenge, I spent a lot of my play time feeling an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.

FC4_Screen_KYRAT_Lake_GC_140813_10amCET_1407889614But if so many people loved the third game, why change it too much? The Far Cry experience itself was already fantastic. The perfect level of combat, exploration and craziness was achieved in the third game, and Ubisoft are seemingly keen to repeat the success, even if that means essentially putting out the same game with a different skin.

Far Cry 3 completely nailed the feeling of exploration in an interesting jungle setting, and 4 does the same. There are small improvements to be found throughout, with special attention given to the traversal of terrain. The new grappling hook mechanic helps with the increased verticality present, and the Microlight is a great way to travel when large distances need to be covered. These little tweaks and refinements do add up, making for a game with less frustrating moments when trying to explore every single part of the map.

FC4_Screen_ShangriLa_Hunter_GC_140813_10amCET_1407889640In the moments where the game does stray from its predecessor, the game becomes properly interesting. I have no intention of spoiling anything for you here, but it feels like these pieces are some of the breakout moments, changing the pace of the gameplay and taking you out of familiar territory. I kept playing assuming that this level of familiarity and repetition from 3 was a simple tool for setting up something major to happen, but it never arrived. I was waiting for the plot twist that was never around the corner, and so left feeling slightly cheated. The series is known for going down obscure and awesome paths (Blood Dragon, anyone?), and it would have been great to have seen it here.

FC4_Screen_KYRAT_Sniper_GC_140813_10amCET_1407889621Ultimately, I’ve never been this disappointed in a game I can’t put down. I’m absolutely loving my time in Kyrat, enjoying the varied missions and widespread activities and quests, but I’ve done it all before. The leap from 2 to 3 in the franchise was a substantial one, cementing Far Cry as a force to be reckoned with in the console world. Here it feels that they’ve taken a year off, resting on their laurels.

But for all its laziness, Far Cry 4 is still a brilliant game. One which shouldn’t be judged by those that came before it. If you’ve never played a game in the series, this is the definitive way to experience Far Cry. If you played 3 and loved it, then think of this as a refined expansion pack to quench your thirst. Although I fear there isn’t enough here to convert any non-believers to the cause, this is unquestionably good, solid fan service. Just don’t underestimate those Honey Badgers.

Score: 8/10

Far Cry 4 PvP Details and Trailer

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Far Cry 4’s Multi is looking like it’s shaping up nicely, check out the video below and details.

The PvP mode consists of:

·         5v5 round-based matches.

·         Asymmetrical gameplay where the players take on each faction. The team with the best overall performance on both wins the match.

·         20 minutes average match length.

·         10 maps at launch.

·         3 modes:

o    Outpost – the Golden Path works to establish an outpost in the region while the Rakshasa has to get rid of them and secure the outpost for Pagan Min.

o    Propaganda – the Golden Path has to destroy three Pagan Min installations while the Rakshasa protects them.

o    Demon Mask – both sides have to find the mask and return it to their home base.

Cliff Martinez on Far Cry Soundtrack

28207Today, Ubisoft® announced that it partnered with Film Composer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Cliff Martinez to compose the original game soundtrack for its upcoming open-world, first-person shooter Far Cry® 4, the much anticipated sequel to the #1 rated shooter of 2012. Cliff has a background in music as a former member of the award-winning rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers and has composed scores for films including “Traffic,” “Drive” and “Spring Breakers.”

Working with Ubisoft Montreal’s Far Cry 4 Music Designer Jerome Angelot, Music Supervisor Simon Landry, and Audio Director Tony Gronick, Cliff created original music specifically for Far Cry 4’s gameplay and helped bring to life the gorgeous, yet ruthless environment and the unforgettable characters found in the game.

“Bringing Cliff on board was a no-brainer. Collaborating with him was a dream. He has the remarkable ability to portray compelling emotions and elevate the mundane into extraordinary with his musical talent,” said Tony Gronick, Audio Director for Far Cry 4, Ubisoft. “Cliff delivered everything I hoped for. I’m so proud of the music in Far Cry 4 and am thankful for the opportunity to work with him.”

“It was an honor to be asked to write the music for the Far Cry 4 game as my first full-length video game soundtrack,” said Cliff Martinez. “It was exciting for me to be asked to take my usual minimalistic cinematic approach to the immersive game world.  Any game where you can ride on a rampaging elephant is a project you can’t turn down!”

In Far Cry 4, players find themselves in Kyrat, a breathtaking, perilous and wild region of the Himalayas struggling under the regime of a despotic self-appointed king.  Using a vast array of weapons, vehicles and animals, players will write their own story across an exotic open-world landscape.

The Far Cry 4 Original Game Soundtrack digital edition will release worldwide on November 4, the limited 2 CD edition will release on December 2 in North America and on December 9 in Europe, and the limited 3LP edition will release in January 2015.

Far Cry 4 will be available November 18 for PlayStation 4® computer entertainment system, PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity Preview

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“I was wrong”. The most elusive statement on the internet. A sentence so rarely seen online that many refuse to believe it exists. Many Youtube commentators have even removed the letter keys required for this phrase from their keyboard. To mark such an occasion, I’ll say it again: I. Was. Wrong.

A while back I wrote an opinion piece on Assassin’s Creed: Unity, criticising it’s choice of the French Revolution instead of an Far East Asian theme that had been rumoured for some time. I declared the setting of Paris to be boring, and that this game would lead to further stagnation of the yearly franchise.

Well, from what I’ve seen since then, I am gloriously incorrect. Since that E3 demo, Unity has been firmly on my radar, and is now edging into ‘day-one purchase’ status. Every single update is showing that their initial, seemingly impossible promises are being delivered.

ACU_screen_73_SP_District_IleDeLaCite_GC_140813_10amCET_1407889441It’s been a long time since graphics have truly stood out to me. We’re in an age where games all look incredible, and it’s often easy to overlook just how pretty even smaller budget games look. We’ve become spoilt brats, squabbling over 900p resolutions (It honestly doesn’t matter guys) and the difference 2 frames-per-second makes. Games have become so great-looking, and the improvements have become so gradual, that we don’t often notice graphics in a game.

Unity, for me, looks like it’s about to make a giant leap forward. Watching videos of the new Anvil engine in action, It’s hard to believe the level of detail and intricacy the buildings are now showing. Rusted pipes, fully textured brickwork, Incredible torn fabrics. Assassin’s Creed looks properly next-gen. Ryse took the initial steps towards this, but it did so by placing the player in a guided corridor. With this kind of sandbox game, to achieve the level of graphical polish that we are seeing, it’s looking a new benchmark in gaming graphics is about to be set.

ACU_screen_80_COOP_Heist_GC_140813_10amCET_1407889511The narrative trailer recently released also shows us the potential strength the game’s story has. Notorious for it’s complex and often drawn-out storytelling, in the past it felt as if Ubisoft perhaps weren’t ready for the runaway success of the franchise. Trying to tell the plot over so many games took it’s toll, and made a mess of a once interesting approach. After numerous mis-steps with the sub-plots between 2 and 3, I’m interested to see if Ubisoft will pull it back.

And they have the perfect place to start. The French Revolution seems almost made for this franchise. Riots and chaos in the streets making for a perfect distraction for you to create havoc, and the themes of uprising and power shift have been told countless times throughout the franchise already. If Ubisoft can deliver a game that tells it’s story clearly and concisely, the setting and powerful drama that actually unfolded for real will take care of the rest.

ACU_screen_84_SP_District_LesInvalides_GC_140813_10amCET_1407889558If I have any reservations, one would definitely be the extent of the series mini-games. When I played AC4, it felt a bit bloated with the level of side-quests and bits and pieces I had to mess around with. I’d be on a way to a mission, when all of a sudden there’d be an island to explore, or a fortress to conquer, or a shark to hunt, or a treasure to find. The list went on. This kind of gameplay can be done well (See the Fallout series), but Black Flag felt more of a chore. Like Grand Theft Auto 4, the side missions felt like work, dragging down the thrust and adventurous aspect of the game. If Ubisoft can concentrate more on the story and game itself, rather than making it a do-everything sim game, the series will get back to it’s glory days of Assassin’s Creed 2, undoubtedly the series’ finest hour.

We wait and see if Assassin’s Creed Unity can deliver the gameplay and action to match it’s undoubtedly incredible visuals, but I’m optimistic. And if this is the kind of game I get to look forward to and gawp at until that Ninja/Samurai instalment comes along, it’s looking like it’ll at least be an enjoyable wait.

Frugal Gaming Review – Child of LIght

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Playable Female Character? Check

Red Hair? Check

A Ubisoft Game? Surprisingly Check!

Reminds Me Of Childhood Memories

Sounds like a Gallifrayan’s dream come true.  Child of Light has been out for a while now and whilst I’ve been wanting to play it for some time, it’s been sitting and stagnating amongst my vast pile of shame.  So braving the murky waters of UPlay on PC I’ve decided to set that right and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you lovely lot.

The game casts you as Aurora, a small Austrian girl with flaming red hair.  Having gone to sleep one night, you awake to find yourself in the mythical land of Lemuria.  Filled with all sorts of beasties and baddies to battle along the way, your quest is a simple one of a small girl trying to get home to her father.  Along the way you will meet some curious companions –  Tristis a Court Jester with acrobatic attacks, Finn a magic wielding Dwarf and even a Rock Gollum via DLC.

Both the story and the characters wouldn’t seem out of place in a Hans Christian Andersen fable.  Likewise that graphical style could best be described as illustrations come to life.  It truly is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played.  At time mesmerising to behold, the UbiArt Framework engine has been one of the industry highlights for me over the last couple of years.

The game play itself is split into two definite types.  Your exploration takes the form of a simple 2D platforming game, with a bit a flying and a firefly thrown in for good measure.  It’s graceful in movement and a complete joy to play.  Simple light based puzzles and the odd pull/push drag a block around are all unsurprisingly featured.  There are lots to discover in the game, hidden chests and such and whilst it’s nice to find them, the contents don’t exactly lull you into keep searching.

The other game play element concerns combat.  Head towards a foe and the game switches to its turn/time based strategy element.  A meter across the bottom of the screen has icons for each combatant, a bit like the seaside donkey derby games, your character will race along to the activation line when you can then unleash your attack or ability.  Each character, both friend and foe feature on this line and it determines the order of attacks.  So it’s a bit of a twist on turn based combat and anyone who’s played a Final Fantasy game will feel at home.

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If I Stare Too Long, I’d Probably Break Down and Cry

So that’s the meat and potatoes of Child of Light.  A solid little game, but my problem is that it’s not that little.  I’ve played about 5 hours so far, it’s still not completed and it’s back in my pile of shame.  I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve played, but over the 5 hours that I’ve played the game just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  Although you can level up your character and add new moves and attacks none of it feels different enough from what you start out with, hence the boredom. It’s like that perfect partner that you could take home to mum, treats you like a goddess and would never stray, everyone loves them but at the end of the day they really are a bit of a bore, and you find yourself hankering for something more immediate, dirty and dangerous.  Child of Light is a great idea, and Ubisoft must be applauded for offering games like this along with Valiant Hearts.  But campaign edges towards the 10 hour mark and feels bloated, I’d rather have had 5 hours of exploration and no combat to be perfectly honest.

COL_Screenshot_5_DD_130910_9When you find a game that you want to love, it’s all the more heartbreaking when you realise it just isn’t for you.  No doubt some people will love Aurora’s adventures and rightly so, it’s just definitely not for everyone.  Whilst the combat is a drag that I could of overcome, the lack of engagement with the supporting characters and the way dialogue is presented is a huge stumbling block in wanting to see the whole thing through.

We’ve all got games that we leave half completed, Child of Light might remain that way sometime for me, instead I’m off to the trenches of the First World War, a Dog is clearly a much better companion than a wisp of light.  I can’t wait to see where the UbiArt engine might take us next.

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Child of Light is available on all major platforms – Version tested PC

A Frugal Gaming Review – Watch_Dogs

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Chicago Hope

Ubisoft’s new AAA IP is indeed an open world affair.  Set in a near future Chicago where everything and everyone is connected to ctOS, a city wide WIFI big brother style automated system.  The game pits you as an underground Hacker, out for revenge against a shadowy antagonist who had a hand in your nieces untimely death.  Whilst it might sound like a rather generic action hero saga, the story is strong and yet it sometimes feels like it takes a backseat to the plethora of optional content the game has to offer. I’m not going to get into the specifics of the storyline in this review, but the story itself is solid and took me about 15 hours to complete. It offers a few genuinely surprising twists, leads to some absolutely cracking missions and also a really satisfying conclusion, which rather obviously leaves the door wide open for the inevitable sequel.

Aiden Pierce- the lead character is undoubtedly the most one dimensional aspect of the game.  Whilst it could be argued that by leaving him devoid of real personality, Ubisoft are allowing you to create your own character it just doesn’t come off that way.  At times you are forced to take actions where a different decision would have been much better suited.  A character of your own creation would have been much better suited, and to be honest the story is so genderless I’m surprised that at a bare minimum, you don’t have the option to be male or female.

The rest of the cast couldn’t be more different, and whilst some of the characters do fall into cookie cutter stereotypes, enough of them do genuinely stand out. Voice acting all-round is fantastic and not just from the leading cast. The everyday Joe and the street at times seem to have more personality than Pierce.  It’s a shame that Ubisoft didn’t put as much effort into the leading man, after the ego that was Edward Kenway the developers really have missed a trick with Aiden.

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Chaos in the Windy City

In any open world game the environment is as much a character as any NPC you will meet or protagonist you control.  In this aspect Watch_Dogs shines, Chicago is beautiful, but more importantly at times it can truly feel alive.

Clearly smaller than the vast landscapes of GTA5, Ubisoft Montreal’s meticulously created version of Chicago definitely feels much fuller.  From people hanging out on street corners, musicians jamming in parks, protesters, drunks, hobo’s, lovers stealing a quick smooch down an alley, it has everything apart from dogs, or cats for that matter and definitely no next gen fish with AI.  The hundreds if not thousands of citizens of Chicago really are the heart and soul of the city and they do a great job of making it all feel so alive, and that’s before you start hacking into their private lives.

During the neon glow of the evening or in the dazzling sunlight, I would find myself stumbling across some interesting landmark or building that deserved closer inspection.  Watch_Dogs offers up several distinct areas.  Rural mountains rise from the shores of Lake Pawnee.  Rundown housing projects that wouldn’t look out of place in The Wire, play host to some of the more criminal elements of the population.  Sprawling, dirty industrial districts offer great shortcuts and a really interesting skyline.  High-rise office blocks and apartment buildings fill out the uptown district and parks and recreation areas are spread across the map.  Whilst most sandbox games seem to use cut and paste buildings it just doesn’t feel this way in Chicago, everything appears to be unique and it really adds to the immersion of the game.

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The Monkey Hustle

Running, jumping, sliding, shooting, driving, bashing, hacking, ‘slowmoing’.  Watch_Dogs plays very much like you would expect it to.  Driver, Assassins Creed, GTA, Max Payne and a myriad of other games DNA can all be seen in the way the game handles.

Shooting is tight and responsive, and a slow motion focus perk is right out of Remedy’s play-book. The guns all have a weighty feel to them and feel suitably lethal.  Aiden himself is a rather nimble fellow.  Vaulting over fences, sliding over car bonnets, he’s very much like a toned down Etzio and it works really well. Getting behind the wheel for the first time is rather daunting, after GTA5 the cars all feel lightweight and rather flighty. However, after half an hour or so everything clicks into place and you’ll soon be sliding around corners like a pro.

Hacking in general is fun; its strength comes from turning a straight up fire fight into an altogether more tactical affair.  You will always be heavily outnumbered. Hack a camera to get the scoop on where the bad guys are positioning, turn a radio on to district them, blow up electrical conduits to take them down.  By using the skills you have it also opens up the option of taking the stealth way through certain missions and side missions.  It really is a well thought out and executed mechanic, very much in the vain of Sam Fisher.  Aside from the actual combat uses of hacking you’ll find yourself using it a lot in car chases, whether to take down your target by causing a pile up in his path, or activating blockers and raising bridges to deter your pursuers.

All of these abilities are tied together by a surprisingly full featured levelling and perks system.  Completing anything in the game gives you experience points, get enough of these points and you level up, earning yourself a skill point.  These points can be spent in any of the skills trees four branches.  Combat, Driving, Hacking and Crafting all contain various perks waiting to be unlocked. From less recoil and faster reloading of you weapons, cars taking less damage and dealing more to hacking certain elements of city infrastructure.  It lets you develop Aiden in a way that suits your play style, it’s a really nice addition to the game and with 50 perks to unlock it will take you a good while to unlock everything.

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Windy City Boogie Woogie

Whilst the main campaign in itself is pretty good, it’s all the optional side quests and missions that are without a doubt where this games strength truly lies.  To be quite honest all these extra probably deserve a review of their own.  The two augmented reality games, NVZN and Cash Run are both great time wasters.

Cash run is exactly what it says, an AR overlay is projected onto the city streets of Chicago and you must race against time collecting the floating $ signs whilst avoiding the Pac Man like ghostly blobs.  Multiple courses are found all across the city and it’s great fun trying to complete them with enough time left on the clock to get the gold medals.  NVZN is a take on a 3rd person Space Invaders with pink aliens appearing through portals begging to be exploded with your VR blaster.

Digital Trips are mind altering experiences along the lines of Total Recall.  Sonically induced, there are 4 mini games on offer.  Spidertank sees you controlling… well a Spidertank, causing mayhem and destroying loads of stuff.  You’re up against the clock with the aim of destroying targets whilst trying to survive the hail of bullets from law enforcement.  I’ve lost hours to this particular trip, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one, if not a couple of the other trips get their own beefed up release- like Blood Dragon did.

Alone finds you in a bleak dystopian future, trying to light beacons to lift the darkness whilst being hunted by cyborg robots type things.  This Trip is all about stealth and it’s an extremely intense experience that really keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Add to those two: Madness which sees you driving through the city streets like Ghost Rider collecting souls against the clock, and last and definitely least is: Psychedelic- which finds you bouncing from trippy flower to trippy flower.  These four combined offer hours and hours of content and the first two mentioned are a whole lot of fun, it gives the game a little bit of the craziness found in games like Saints Row while keeping the main game a bit more grounded.

The extra content doesn’t end there.  From criminal convoys to take down, arms shipments to track, missing persons to find, ctOS compounds to assault and much, much more.  Ubisoft has clearly learned its lessons from when it released the rather sparse Assassin’s Creed way back in 2007.

Online multiplayer features heavily in Watch_Dogs and whilst the ever present and rather annoying prompts continuously remind you than an online game is  a d-pad press away, the intrusion of these reminders is the worst thing in the entire game.  Like most players who have a brain cell, if I want to play online multiplayer I will do.  I don’t need reminding every two minutes that I can do it.  Whilst the prompts are annoying, the multiplayer modes themselves are a lot of fun.

Hacking works two ways, you can either be invaded or be the invader.  Invading entails finding the target, and starting a hack which alerts your opponents that you are in the area.  It’s then a case of cat and mouse, staying close enough to continue hacking whilst remaining undetected.  Reverse that and you are trying to find who’s hacking you before they steal or your data, it’s a fun game mode made even better when you’re hacking friends.

Decryption pits 8 players, either free for all or in teams, to locate a stash of data and remain in possession of it whilst it decrypts.  Your opponents get too close and they start to steal the data.  Again this mode is also a lot of fun and when working as a team it can get really tactical.

Online races are rather straight forward, either laps of a circuit and point to point. It’s a straight up race with a few opportunities to hack traffic light or bridges and ruin your opponent’s day.  Racing works well and although it doesn’t offer anything new that cannot be found elsewhere, it is a competent addition to the multiplayer aspect of the game.

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Then We Came To The End

When added all together you start to get an idea of the amount of content on offer, whilst not all of it is great, the worst parts are at least good.  I’ve played over 40 hours since launch, and as far as completion goes I’m just over 50% there.  In huge sprawling games, a lot of the content can simply feel like filler, this is not the case with Watch_Dogs.  Everything on offer is both really interesting and just plain outright fun.

There are people who will bemoan that fact that it doesn’t look as nice as the original E3 reveal or that it’s been hamstrung by the cross-gen release.  This simply isn’t the case.  The game looks great on both the Xbox One and PC that I tested it on.  Everyone nowadays seems to know what makes a game next-gen, I haven’t really got a clue, and to be honest the only limiting factor seems to be the developers themselves.  Like I’ve mentioned, all the content in Watch_Dogs is good if not entirely ground breaking.  The only thing I could come up with to make it more ‘next-geny’ would be to actually incorporate a music streaming app into Aidan’s virtual phone and tie it to a service like Spotify.  Short of that I’m not sure what else they could do.  Watch_Dogs is a brilliant first step for a new IP, and whilst maybe not as ambitious as it could have been it’s still a great game that should not be overlooked.

After 40+ hours of gameplay I’m ready to dive back in for another 40 and the content is there to do that.  Playing Watch_Dogs leaves me excited for the next game, and if Ubisoft can pull off the same sort of transformation they achieved from Assassins 1 to 2 then the next Watch_Dogs could be truly exceptional.

Published by Ubisoft

Formats:  PS4, WiiU, PC, PS3, X360.

Xbox One Reviewed.

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South Park: The Stick of Truth Review

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South Park – The Stick of Truth | PC

Dev: Obsidian Entertainment | Pub: Ubisoft

All together now…

“Shut your f*cking face, Uncle F*cka!”

This new South Park game is an RPG featuring all the ‘Park gang in some typically outlandish situations involving aliens, Canadians, MenBearPigs and Taco Bell. Despite its troubled development and changes in publisher, SOT has actually ended up a high quality, polished product which manages that very difficult job of appealing to hardcore fans of the series as well as newbies.

South Park owes quite a debt to Double Fine’s awesome kid-starring role player, Costume Quest. Both games use the mechanic of a child’s imagination powering their struggles with real-world assailants, you and your little friend’s dressing-up games turning you into superheroes. Where Costume Quest was Halloween themed, Stick of Truth draws on the comedic value inherent in the generic fantasy RPG. Once it has had its’ fun with those clichés however, it expands its scope to something with greater breadth.

South Park Line up

Like the TV program upon which it is based, South Park pushes the boundaries of taste. Quite to what extent this will impact upon your enjoyment of the game is up to you to decide. If you think that jokes about rape, abortion and cancer have no place in your video games, you should steer well clear of this title.

For those of you who remain, South Park’s irreverent and crude world is there for you to explore. You will wander around, collecting loot and weapons whilst periodically getting into turn-based encounters with a variety of enemies. Attacks are often gross – more extreme examples include a female character throwing her used tampon at the boys. Farting on your foes is frequent, but for the most part it’s fairly standard ‘hit-enemy-A-with-weapon-rinse-and-repeat’ fare. Although one of the summons does involve Mr. Slave sucking enemies up his ass – so, you know, it rarely gets boring.

It does however offer quite different experiences depending on your familiarity with the franchise.

South Park Classes

There’s no way I’m writing five separate reviews for five different types of people who might approach this game, dude. That’s weak.

Seriously.

You guys?

GODDAMNIT!

1. Review for: People who read the opening quote and immediately starting singing the song and farting. You remember watching the movie when it came out in cinemas.

You’ve probably already bought this game from ASDA, and good for you! It’s like playing a 20 hour long episode of South Park, featuring all of your favourite characters from the series. No anal probing is left unreferenced. The experience is going to be one long fist-pumping exercise in nostalgia and gross-out jokes with some annoying ‘game’ elements littering your good time. You know what to do though, right? Hell, you already completed COD: Ghosts this year and totally smashed your mate Darren off the park in FIFA so you’re still a gamer.

This game has an autosave feature, so when Jo-ann tells you it’s time to ‘switch that thing off now’, you won’t lose any progress. Isn’t that super?

2. Review for: People who watch South Park all the time. You have a plush Cartman in your house and know what Kenny says in the opening credits.

You should definitely buy this. Trust me. You’re going to think this is a laugh riot. Matt and Trey wrote the script for the game and all the voices are present and correct. The Goth kids are suitably surly and – if you choose – Butters can take a major part in the action.

You’ll be quite happy to spend endless hours finding any extra little collectible and secret thing – and it will all be worth it.

3. Review for: People who remember South Park from the early days and watch it occasionally. You clicked on the link and laughed at the song.

This game could be for you – it depends on how much you’re going to enjoy the RPG experience. To get the most from the game, you’re going to need to explore every nook and cranny in this town. How do you feel about adding a couple of hours to the title as a result of searching for those last couple of Chimpokomon? You get an achievement out of it…

Try to complete the whole thing in a weekend if you can, or your enjoyment will wane. There are some pretty obvious optimal equipment sets and team mates to have, so you should be able to power through the game without much challenge.

4. Review for: People who don’t give a shit about South Park, didn’t click the link, but have an interest in RPG titles.

Tough sell, as this game is South Park through and through. The role-playing in this isn’t quite enough to sustain the game by itself – as the game points out, a lot of the questing is generic and pointless – and a lot of the rewards are just further references to the show. The game doesn’t want to throw up too much in the way of a barrier to you progressing through the main story, since it’s very pleased with and excited by the jokes it wants to tell. Not to say that SOT is a bad game by any stretch – it’s just that you’ll enjoy it less than your mate who is a big South Park fan.

5. Review for: The easily offended, who thought South Park had gone away years ago.

Just no.

Turn around.

Flee.

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At the end of the day, South Park – The Stick of Truth is the definitive South Park game without being a truly great RPG. It has many things going for it, but the shallow combat and under-developed item system means that an important chunk of the game is weak. Couple this with the facile puzzles and you have an entertaining one-shot title that uses gaming as a vehicle to provide some laughs. You get to decide for yourselves if it’s the kind of humour you enjoy.

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Reviewer: Karlos Morale

South Park: The Stick of Truth is out now for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3