It’s been over a week since South Park: The Fractured But Whole was released and there are already a lot of reviews. What sets mine apart? Well, I’m Billiam, first of all, and if you’ve read anything of mine before or if you listen to my podcast (Future Flicks with Billiam) you’ll know that I tend to hate critics and I like to focus on fun instead of nitpicking something to death. In this case, I waited so long to release this because I wanted to actually play the game. Well, I’ve had time, I’ve even beat the game, and now I’m ready to give my thoughts. Here’s my review. My overall thoughts and a simplified Pros and Cons list will be at the end of the review for those who want a TLDR. Also, this is a spoiler free review.
Let me start off by saying something I shouldn’t need to say. If you don’t like South Park, you won’t like this game. I feel the need to bring this up because I read a few reviews by people who hated the game, but then admitted to hating South Park. One particularly infuriating one spent the whole review complaining about how offended they were by the show and subsequently, the game as well. If you’re so thin skinned or too stupid to understand the show’s jokes, then you should never have played this game. Of course, maybe you get the jokes but don’t think they’re funny. Then guess what? It’s not for you either.
Let’s discuss the story first, shall we? You’re the new kid (aka Douchebag and Buttlord) and you’re still playing with your friends. In fact, you’re playing the same game you were in South Park: The Stick of Truth, that is until The Coon comes from the future to warn you of a crime wave. All around South Park, cats are going missing. One specific cat has a one hundred dollar reward, and The Coon wants that reward to help build The Coon and Friends movie and TV franchise. You must make your own super hero and join Coon and Friends as they search for the missing cat but it’s not that easy. The Freedom Pals (lead by Doctor Timothy) stands in your way.
It’s a good story that unfolds nicely. It gets stupid at times, but it’s supposed to get stupid as the characters are just as frustrated with the turn of events and don’t hesitate to comment on it. There is no sense of urgency in the game so when you get a call from someone saying “meet right now” there’s nothing wrong with taking your time and completing sidequests first, so you never feel rushed.
This is a very simple tactical RPG and if you’ve played others then you’ll fall right into place with this. Even though this is the second game in the series, you don’t have to have played the first one, though I highly recommend you do. The tutorial is simple and easy to follow though there are some specifics they don’t remind you about (like how being grossed out causes damage each round). The bare bones of it is, this is a very simple game and the joy in it is found in the whole package. The gameplay may be simple (a good intro RPG) but the story and getting to play as your favorite characters is where the heart of this game is.
Graphics and Visuals
This is a South Park game. Graphics have never been a big deal to them. But that doesn’t mean the graphics are bad. They’re passable and some of the powers look pretty cool, but this isn’t a game that will make you wet your pants if you own a 4k TV. It can still be a pretty game, depending on how impressed you are being able to walk around the city of South Park. The cut scenes look very similar to the gameplay so there’s no huge change in visuals between the two. The ultimate attacks of the playable characters are fun to watch (some more than others).
The main character in this game is the same main character from South Park: The Stick of Truth but don’t worry, your choices in that game don’t carry over. This isn’t Life is Strange where all of your choices matter. This is more like Mass Effect where none of your choices matter (Okay, maybe I’m still a bit salty regarding ME, so sue me). Most other characters return in this game, but in other forms. Princess Kenny is now Mysterion, Butters is now Professor Chaos, Cartman is now The Coon, and so on. New characters are introduced but don’t have a huge impact on the story. As always the game revolves around your character with certain heroes having bigger roles than others. A brief glance at the picture below will show you just how much say you have over your character but only two have an impact on the game and a third is only important for a trophy/achievement. Just like the first game you get a lot of options as far as your costume goes but you must either find, buy, or create them. Only a couple are handed to you. Just ignore the missing parts of the picture. Parts were removed due to minor story spoilers.
Some people like to focus a lot on trophies and achievements when they play games and for you people I’m happy to report that this isn’t a hard game to Platinum or 100%. If you want to do it in one playthrough, it’s possible but I recommend you look at all the trophies first online so you can plan accordingly. But honestly, this game takes time more than anything. Some of it takes skill, like the toilet mini games or beating the game on the hardest difficulty, but the rest take patience. One side quest requires you to find all the semi hidden yaoi pictures of Tweek and Craig. What is yaoi? Well I could tell you to google it, but the game also explains what it is and if you take time to think about it, like who’s giving you the quest, it’s a tad creepy.
Issues and Glitches
Let’s talk about issues I had with the game and any glitches. Mind you, I’m writing this part of the review on 10/29/17, so if you’re reading this later the issues could have been fixed in updates (maybe). The first to watch out for is the autosave bugging out. There’s a yellowish orange hexagon in the bottom right corner of the screen that appears, has an animation (it spins, fills, and spins again) and then goes away when the game is done saving. But beware, there’s a glitch where it doesn’t go away and you can’t save while the autosave feature is running. This means that if you keep playing, everything you do will be lost. If you notice this, just reset because there’s nothing you can do. Hopefully you’re not like me and completed two sidequests before noticing. The other glitch that I’m aware of but didn’t happen to me is that certain trophies (or achievements) won’t happen. Maybe you’ve found every toilet in South Park and pooped in all of them. There’s a chance the trophy won’t pop. Sorry to say that I’m not aware of a work around as of now.
But enough about glitches, how about some issues. Grinding levels isn’t as simple as I’d like it to be. In most RPG’s there are ways to grind like running around until you get into a random battle, or going to a certain place that you know spawns enemies. Here, it’s random. So if you want to grind (like maybe you’re trying to beat the semi-hidden optional boss) you’ll have to just walk around the town and hope some sixth graders, raisins girls, ninjas, crap people, cops, or chaos henchmen are waiting for you. Another thing is you get a lot of artifacts to equip and other things that help your character but it doesn’t feel like there’s enough diversity between them or much reason to pay attention to the smaller stats. One new item raises your power level but lowers your ultimate regen to zero. At first you may care, but as the game goes on you’ll learn that the power lever is what matters the most. The minor things only matter if you have multiple items of the same level, then you can nitpick with the smaller stats.
It’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. I enjoyed it a lot and it was enough to pull me away from Destiny 2. I believe it’s a must play, but it can also wait. This is a single player game so it’s not like Overwatch or Destiny 2 where you could benefit by buying the game right away. If you like South Park and/or played and enjoyed the last game, then you should play this, but this is a great game to wait for a sale to buy. The Ubisoft store, or whatever that mess is called, will try and sell you stuff. Different costumes or equippable artifacts, but you don’t need them. You can save your money (or U points or whatever their stupid currency is called). You find plenty of artifacts and costumes in the game.
I really enjoyed this game and as I’m sitting at my computer trying to think of what else to say, I realize that you probably already know all you need to know. Did you like the first game? Do you like South Park? Does a simple tactical RPG sound fun? These are questions only you can answer but what I CAN do is give you my score and my pro/con list. You may notice that the con list is longer but I really want to stress the fact that this was a fun game. The cons I had aren’t that big of a deal, in fact, I’m really nitpicking on some of them. I could have a million more small cons on this list but it all boils down to this: I had fun. I laughed, I got invested in the story, and I can’t wait to see if they do a third game.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole gets an 8 out of 11
This is just like the last game, if you liked that then you’ll like this.
Classic South Park with plenty of references and Easter Eggs. There are even Easter Eggs for other shows like Fat Albert and TMNT.
A simple yet fun RPG with plenty of side quests to keep you busy for over 20 hours.
The overall enjoyability of the game is very high and it’s enough to be able to ignore the cons listed below.
This is just like the last game (I also put this in the cons because some people like to see change in their sequels).
A few glitches and one that can cause loss of time and effort. (This, of course, is subject to change with updates).
I would have liked just a little more at the end to make the story feel perfectly rounded (though it wasn’t a terrible ending).
Certain battles suddenly ramped up the difficulty without warning.
Grinding can be tedious.
It’s an Ubisoft game so you have to deal with Uplay.
The world is small so it’s not great if you enjoy exploring in games.
Mysterion’s Ultimate is stupid.