Given the pedigree of previous South Park games, there was very valid reason for gamers to be worried about South Park: The Stick of Truth. The game's multiple delays did nothing to assuage those fears.
But as the game hits stores today, critics say there's actually a lot to love. It is, however, absolutely not for the faint of heart.
South Park: The Stick of Truth, which currently boasts a Metacritic average of 84, is being called one of the funniest titles in years -- and that's being credited to the direct involvement of series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
"The Stick of Truth makes one thing abundantly clear: I never want to play another South Park video game made without Trey Parker and Matt Stone's direct, intimate involvement," says IGN's Ryan McCaffrey in a 9/10 review. "With a controller in your hand, you are almost literally -- gloriously -- playing a 14-hour episode of South Park. There’s much, much more here for series fans than the uninitiated, but it’s a light but good quality role-playing game in its own right. ... It is funny, shocking, self-effacing, and pretty much everything I could ask for from a South Park game."
Francesca Reyes of Official Xbox Magazine agrees, adding: "[Stick of Truth] is absolutely not for the meek of heart, the un-indoctrinated, or the underage set. But good god is it a hilarious marvel when it hits its target." Reyes also rates the game a 9 out of 10.
While the jokes are getting a lot of critical love, the RPG gameplay isn't receiving quite as much praise.
"If you're looking for a solid RPG first and a South Park game second, this isn't it," says Sam Prell at Joystiq in a 3.5/5-star review. "If you can also forgive the repetitive nature of combat and some uninspired quests, it's worth taking up arms – or dildos – for The Stick of Truth's hilarious, disgusting adventure."
The frustrations don't outweigh the game's highlights, though, meaning if you can handle three lifetimes worth of fart jokes and are able to find humor in some very politically incorrect scenarios, South Park: The Stick of Truth might be for you.
"It's a testament to The Stick of Truth that my enthusiasm for the game didn't dim in the face of those hiccups," says Polygon's Justin McElroy, who awards it an 8.5/10. "Despite them — and the jokes that occasionally run out of steam — this is an experience that even the most casual fan of South Park is going to get something out of, and one of the truest translations from screen to game I can recall. ... Other games treated the world Matt Stone and Trey Parker have crystallized over the past two decades as a prison they have to escape from. The Stick of Truth happily confines itself to that world, and manages to build a comfortable, hilarious home of its own."
- Arts & Entertainment