In the second chapter of the continuing adventures of a hero named Douc… well, New Kid, the town of South Park is in peril once again. A cat thieving menace has struck and it’s up to children armed with imagination, guile and farts to stop it. South Park The Fractured But Whole sees the traditional turn-based RPG combat set aside for a tactics style combat system as Cartman and the gang decide to play as superheroes from the future instead of fantasy heroes this time around. Gone are the bows, arrows and magic spells to be replaced by gross attacks and super powers. Removed are the left side vs right side battle setups, replaced by the tactical grid battlefield where positioning matters.
You’ll fight everyone from your fellow 4th graders, Raisin’s girls, 6th graders and more, so you’d be wise to utilize your abilities optimally to defeat the variety of foes you’ll face off against, throughout the game. Though tactical RPG combat usually adds a lot more depth and complexity to RPG games and result in long drawn out battles, I actually believe the simplicity of The Fractured’s battle system gives you enough space to make good tactical choices, while keeping the battles concise and focusing more on the core experience.
It is worth noting, all attacks use a specific quick time event that allows you to amplify the damage or effect. You may also respond to damage with a successful QTE to contribute towards unleashing your Ultimate Attacks. These prompts keep you alert while you play through TFBW’s more simplified and focused battles. Fans of the more complex battle systems in tactical RPG games had better be big fans of South Park in general because the traditional map design and tactical advantages of height, sight lines and friendly fire woes are gone. Any ability can be cast on any enemy as long as they’re standing in your attack range and your teammates will be spared from damage. I would definitely say this is a pretty decent entry level tactics RPG battle system, but those more experienced players may want to go elsewhere for a more fulfilling tactical adventure.
With some big changes in this game already mentioned, it’s worth noting that not everything is new though, and for good reason. The Fractured But Whole sticks to the South Park humor and canon so incredibly well, that I’d say MOST of the fun for me was discovering and laughing at all the new gags and jokes, while exploring the town and fighting. Long time fans of the television series will love the dialogue, and items hidden in and around the town. They even throw in some nostalgia of being a kid, for example, by having to interrupt playing in the street to move out of the way when a car drives by. Little touches like this are really well executed.
This year’s South Park RPG was developed internally by Ubisoft, at their San Francisco studio and not by Stick of Truth’s developer Obsidian Entertainment. Die hard RPG fans may not have appreciated this but I can say without a doubt that the experience was just as entertaining. The humour is just as hilariously crude and edgy as any South Park game or television episode prior. It nails the feeling of being in South Park and you feel in control of the story arc of a few television episodes in this game. It’s easy to get into, fun without complication and it’s definitely a great example of fan service to any new or long time South Park fan.
Review by Doomcore (yes, that’s a pseudonym!) and thank you to Xbox for providing the review code.