South Park: The Fractured But Whole likes to take the fine line humor normally walks, and skip rope with it. Beyond the jokes is a simple yet satisfying RPG that is only bogged down by a final two hours that felt more like a chore than a treasure to play.
Fart Jokes Galore
The Humor in The Fractured But Whole follows the trend of many South Park episodes in that the delivery and execution can either have me truly belly-laughing or sitting in a state of slight disgust. I truly got a kick out of the new kid’s “tragic back-story”. My parents didn’t die and my uncle wasn’t killed, I simply walked in on my father f**king my mother, and no matter how many times The Coon (Eric Cartman) tried to switch up how I made my discovery, I always laughed.
Simple things like fights in the street pausing to let a car pass by and having the ability to punch every character I fought who said a micro-aggression added to the whimsical nature of the game. While the story blurs the line between what the kids are pretending to do and what is really happening in the town, the game has clever ways of pulling you back from it all and somehow making you laugh at acquiring another fart-power.
Other sections of the game did make me feel uneasy though, such as a mission that required myself and Captain Diabetes (Scott Malkinson’s super hero alter-ego) to give lap dances to drunken businessmen at a strip club.
Beyond the halfway point in the game, no joke or sequence had me laughing much beyond a giggle and the final two hours seemed to stretch on forever. Unfortunately, many of the jokes seem outdated. While the delays The Fractured But Whole endured may have helped the gameplay, many superhero movie related jokes and what I assume were supposed to be timely quips, were all but lost on me due to the passage of time away from their relevance.
Choose a Speedster Class
Gameplay is the strongest aspect of The Fractured But Whole. Traversing South Park outside of combat was gratifying, even when I hadn’t activated all of the fast travel stations. Moment to moment combat is engrossing but sorely lacking in difficulty. There were only a few fights where I had to restart or truly think of a strategy beyond just picking the characters that did the most damage.
As you fill out your character’s skill tree and character sheet, you’ll be given new powers and be asked to select a weakness. I found the speedster class to be heavily overpowered, as its variety of ranged attacks often did more damage and targeted more enemies than most of the abilities in the game. For this same reason, I chose Fastpass (Jimmy Valmer) in every fight he was available to participate in, killing my desire to try other team combinations with greater variety.
I chose old people as my weakness and was only required to face them once during the main campaign. Other options, such as sixth graders, crab people and Raisin’s girls would have to be faced multiple times in order complete the main quest, so there is definitely an advantage to picking certain enemies types as a weakness over others.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed 90% of the combat in The Fractured But Whole, fights against Mitch Connor were more annoying than fun. While multiple fights changed the rules of engagement on the fly, the fights against Conner seemed to only drag on battles I wanted to be done with. It didn’t help that the final fight of the game against him was equal parts underwhelming and drawn out.
The Verdict (Ha! you said dick! No I didn’t)
South Park: The Fractured But Whole features combat that is entertaining but lacking in challenge and a story that is amusing until it slightly overstays its welcome. If you’re a fan of the TV series or are simply looking for a solid 15 hours of turn-based RPG to be played, this sequel is still a worthy pickup.