South park: the frac­tured but whole

Don’t go break­ing my fart

Games Master - - Contents -

Oh! But­t­hole. Hah! Sorry, we only just put that one to­gether.

If noth­ing else, The Frac­tured But Whole serves as the ul­ti­mate tu­to­rial in gassy ma­nip­u­la­tion. Pro­gress­ing through the re­turn­ing New Kid’s lat­est ad­ven­ture proves im­pos­si­ble with­out the aid of flat­u­lence, which en­ables the pro­tag­o­nist to clear paths, in­flict di­a­betic rage, and even ma­nip­u­late time, such is the power of his/her windy be­hind. The once-chris­tened ‘Douchebag’ of 2014’s Stick Of Truth has evolved into ‘The Fart­ing Vig­i­lante’ – the su­per­hero des­tined to some­day re­ceive their own Net­flix se­ries. We’ve missed you, South Park. The premise is sim­ple. Cart­man, hav­ing grown bored with the kids’ pre­vi­ous Stick Of Truth fan­tasy, has opted in­stead to play su­per­heroes with his friends, ex­pec­tantly seek­ing the funds to de­velop his own movie fran­chise à la Marvel and DC Comics’ real-world ef­forts. In true South Park fash­ion, mat­ters only es­ca­late from there, with civil war, searches for a miss­ing cat, and an un­rav­el­ling crime nar­ra­tive featuring as part of the fairly lengthy cam­paign.

But in truth, The Frac­tured But Whole proves less en­gag­ing than its pre­de­ces­sor in this area, with its unin­spir­ing tale get­ting off to a par­tic­u­larly slow start. Sub­se­quent bouts of bore­dom re­main short-lived de­spite this, with par­o­dies, so­cial com­men­tary, and good ol’ fash­ioned toi­let hu­mour fill­ing the void amid the duller mo­ments. Not ev­ery joke hits the mark, but in the con­text of its length, The Frac­tured But Whole pro­vides plenty of chuck­les.

Pooper hero

The big­gest en­hance­ment over the se­ries’ pre­vi­ous en­try can be found on the bat­tle­field. This time around, the ba­sic com­bat el­e­ments of The Stick Of Truth make way for a more com­plex grid-based sys­tem, grant­ing par­tic­i­pants the abil­ity to move freely within a cer­tain area. This ad­di­tion al­lows for more grandiose and di­verse bat­tles than be­fore, where plan­ning your next move doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean pick­ing the best at­tack in your ar­se­nal.

Bat­tles are complemented by a va­ri­ety of deeper RPG el­e­ments, too. You can un­lock mul­ti­ple classes of su­per­hero (such as cy­borg, as­sas­sin, and blaster) as you progress, al­low­ing you to strate­gi­cally mix-and-match abil­i­ties at will, while bonus-grant­ing arte­facts pro­vide a cus­tomised edge in com­bat. Even the new craft­ing sys­tem (in­tro­duced by Mor­gan Free­man, be­cause why not?) pro­vides a wel­come, if bare-bones, ad­di­tion to the se­ries. As a col­lec­tive, the new tac­ti­cal com­po­nents work to de­liver tense, en­ter­tain­ing en­coun­ters from bat­tle to bat­tle.

And, of course, ex­plor­ing the town of South Park re­mains a de­light. The quiet moun­tain town has barely al­tered (for ob­vi­ous rea­sons) since the first it­er­a­tion, but the im­ple­men­ta­tion of 60fps game­play com­bined with min­i­mal load­ing screens helps to re­tain flu­id­ity and mo­men­tum through­out. It only ever loses its charm when you’re forced to do a lot of mis­sion-re­quired back­track­ing, but even then, there’s al­ways some­thing to in­ves­ti­gate along the way.

Nat­u­rally, this means it delivers a high de­gree of fan ser­vice. There’s am­ple op­por­tu­nity through­out to bask in ref­er­ences to the show and en­joy in-jokes, many of which line the main plot it­self. This will un­doubt­edly prove off­putting to new­com­ers, but then, only a hand­ful of non-fans are ever likely to dive head­first into The Frac­tured But Whole. Ul­ti­mately, whichever cat­e­gory you align with, you’re guar­an­teed to stum­ble upon a sur­pris­ingly in-depth RPG, of­fer­ing the kind of charm­ing authen­tic­ity that TV tie-in games have long strived to achieve. Just don’t for­get to bring a towel, mmkay?!

“Of­fers the kind of charm­ing Authen­tic­ity that TV tie-ins have long strived to achieve”

This isn’t the first time South Park’s su­per­heroes have ap­peared on screen. ‘Mos­quito’, for ex­am­ple, orig­i­nally ap­peared in the episode ‘Coon 2: Hind­sight’. Fill­ing this meter al­lows any of your team mem­bers to un­leash their Ul­ti­mate Abil­ity. Use it wisely, and you’ll turn the tide of bat­tle. The New Kid ben­e­fits from an ar­ray of cos­metic up­grades as be­fore, with the abil­ity to al­ter race, gen­der, and sex­u­al­ity as you go. The re­vamped com­bat re­quires a heavy fo­cus on po­si­tion­ing. Find your­self in the wrong spot, and you’re gonna have a bad time.

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