“South Park: The Stick of Truth Review”

“South Park: The Stick of Truth” arrived to the PC and consoles on March 4th…Kevin and I decided this was one of those rare titles that deserved to be “pre-ordered” so we fired it up at midnight on the 4th and finished up our initial play-through on the 6th, in the AM hours. In the age of “binge-TV-watching,” this game played as though it was intended as the 18th season of South Park

The initial run-through time was 20 hours.  The game can probably be raced through in 10 hours with an ideal play-time somewhere in-between those numbers.  There are many opportunities for the developers at Obsidian and publisher Ubisoft to add DLC content, up-to-and including new quest lines.  The game is presented in an open-world atmosphere so there is some exploring and collecting do to along the way.  “Gamers” will want to play the game on “hardcore” difficulty settings while casual fans will find the game agreeable on “normal/easier” settings.  You can play as any of four character classes including: Warrior, Mage, Thief, or Jew.  I played the game as the Jew character…and was rewarded with significant humor!

Value: 9

The game opens with your character introduced to South Park as “the new kid.” Eric Cartman’s performance throughout is a favorite of mine, and he moves to direct your actions in the opening moments and provide tutorial information.  The developers at Obsidian have implemented an action/turn based-hybrid battle system that places you with one of your buddies versus any number of enemies.  Kenny, Cartman, Stan, Kyle, Jimmy, & Butters can be enlisted as your “buddy” who accompany you throughout the journey and can be switched up anytime, including mid-battle.  I utilized Butters or Cartman for most of the game because they have some great “abilities” to chose from.  A major element of the overall game-play is centered around farting, setting farts ablaze, and using farts for specialized purposes.  This juvenile and comedic element adds a layer to the game-play you cannot find elsewhere…

Gameplay: 8

The ever-twisting story, use of the South Park character line-up, and tremendous script make this one of the most memorable titles I have ever experienced.  There were at least 10 moments where I could not believe what I was seeing.  Hundreds of laugh out loud induced bursts and jaw-dropping “summons animations” will leave anyone with thoughts of, “why aren’t other developers able to come up with stuff like this?” Perhaps some of the best animations and abilities for any RPG in recent memory are littered throughout this title!  There is no point in going into a lot of detail here because presentation is the strongest facet of this blockbuster!

Overall Presentation: 10!

Total: 27 (any score 22 points or higher is recommended)

Spoilers: Twitch.Tv Highlights: click the link below…


(click on the image to view the play-thru slideshow…)

“Hammerwatch” Review

Hammerwatch is a modern take on Gauntlet that incorporates RPG elements, challenging boss fights, and dungeon crawling elements into 12 floors of enemies packed with secrets and passages to uncover.  The game is listed @ $9.99 on Steam, and this title is worth the price if you like enjoy this genre of game at all…I played through the game in single player mode in about 12 hours, but don’t forget this game is meant to be re-played, and/or played with friends…

Value: 7

I’ve read some negative reviews from those who refer to some elements of the game-play as a “grind”.  I have to disagree with this assessment. Once the player acclimates to a one of the four classes (I played through the game as a Ranger) chaining combos and defeating hundreds of enemies at once becomes second nature and you move much more freely through the levels.  I found that I wanted to play through the game on easy with a class that worked for me on my initial run-through.  I fully expect to play through the game again on the tougher difficulty setting, in fact I expect this will enhance the game quite a bit.  It matters how one utilizes the character classes and chooses to enhance their abilities in terms of how the game-play flows…There are also a set of collectibles throughout the game that impacts the overall completion and ending.

Gameplay: 7

The overall presentation of the game is certainly up to standards.  There is a great music soundtrack, and the levels are well designed with many traps and secrets. The boss battles are unique and memorable and the game includes mini-bosses too! Local and on-line multi-player for up to four players and controller support are included. For a $10 game, the developers went out of their way to make this feel like a modern and enhanced version of Gauntlet for today’s PC.

Overall Presentation: 8

Total: 22 (any score 22 points or higher is recommended)

(click on the image(s) for slideshow; watch the YouTube video below!)