The Fractured But Whole is Ubisoft’s long awaited sequel to South Park: The Stick of Truth, which puts the player back in control of “The New Kid” and carries on the story of its predecessor.
At the end of the last game you reigned supreme as the leader of your group, the dynamic has changed. Cartman has decided that he no longer wants to play as elves and wizards and now wants to play superheroes as Coon and Friends in order to solve the mystery of a missing cat in order to collect the reward to fund his new superhero film franchise with Netflix (obviously).
This means that all the kudos you earned by recovering the Stick of Truth has now been forgotten about and you must prove yourself worthy enough to join his elite gang of super hero misfits.
You start with three different abilities to choose from, each one offering a slightly different way in which your character will react in combat. For those who balk at making such an important decision early on, don’t fret. These abilities can be changed mid game and won’t massively change your experience.
When creating your character at the start of the game, you are given an option to choose the difficulty of the game. This is done as a “skin colour” slider. The darker you choose to make your skin, the harder the game becomes. Although it doesn’t really affect the gameplay, it does change how some non-playable characters interact with you.
If you were a fan of The Stick of Truth, you will know exactly what to expect. The gameplay has been tweaked slightly but the core dynamics remain the same; it’s in essence an RPG with turn based combat but with a unique South Park flavor.
The combat has been altered slightly from the last game, utilizing the ability to move around the screen before launching your attack, meaning that there is a more tactical quality to each battle. These battles are fun at the beginning but with the exception of a handful of inspired boss battles, soon become repetitive and the least interesting part of the game.
There are various puzzles spaced throughout the game where you will need to use your superpower alongside your friend’s superpower to proceed. This can range from using your farts to propel your sidekick’s kite to reach high platforms, to farting repeatedly in your diabetic pal’s face to enrage him to such an extent where he gets superhuman strength. There are plenty of other examples, but you can rest assured they will all revolve around anal gas.
The graphics are faithful to the series and it genuinely feels as if you are playing an episode of South Park. There are minimal loading times and as you travel around the town, you will notice nods and winks to the various plotlines of the programme. It’s a vibrant and colourful game with a lot of attention given to little details and character customization which make it as immersive as you could hope for.
The storyline is simple but also surprisingly deep and deals with issues such as gender dysmorphia, homophobia and friendship in South Park’s inimitable manner, but beneath the crass and intentionally shocking way these matters are presented, there is an underlying moral tale being told.
All the irreverent humour of a South Park episode is on show throughout the game, from paedophile priests to a multitude of poop jokes; there is very little that the creators hold sacred. Having said that, there was noticeably less “WOW” moments as you play through than there was in The Stick of Truth. Although you couldn’t say that they played it safe with their content, there was nothing like the scale of Khloe Kardashian’s Nazi Zombie Aborted Foetus that we were “treated: to in the previous game.
Coming bundled with The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole is not going to be for everyone, but is a damn good game and is great value for money.
If you are a fan of South Park, you will love this game. If you are a fan of RPG’s and aren’t “triggered” by some off colour humour, you will really like this game. If you are easily offended, you already know that you will hate this game.