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PREVIEW

SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH

Rasmus joins a cast of familiar characters for a short trip to South Park.

An epic and grand conflict is ravaging the small town of South Park. Humans and elves are in open war against each other because the elves have stolen The Stick of Truth. You are the knight Sir Douchebag, who together with the royal sorcerer, is attempting to get the truth stick back.

Or to put it another way, the kids are doing live role-play, Stan and Kyle are the elves, while Cartman has donned the wizard hat and is ruler of mankind. And then there's you, the new boy in class. Sir Douchebag.

South Park: The Stick of Truth
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Watching South Park: The Stick of Truth, is a bit like watching an extra-long episode of the TV series. Between sequences, and there a lot of those, it looks just like the show. The sequences we see in the Gamescom demo are relatively long (up to a few minutes), but also pretty funny, both because of the dialogue and the complete absurdity of seeing the characters running around in homemade costumes, pretending they are in a fairytale world.

At the beginning of the demo Sir Douchebag, Cartman and Butters are in search of the Inn of the Giggling Donkey. "There it is," says Cartman and the camera cuts to... an ordinary house.

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The heroes enter and Cartman orders a drink at the bar, and asks where the bard is. Everyone in the room gives him a glaring look, but Cartman plays innocent and asks again for the bard. Eventually the bartender says that he is down in the basement so Sir Douchebag and Butters head down there. Then we see the demo's first example of gameplay.

South Park: The Stick of Truth
South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park: The Stick of Truth is clearly inspired by the classic Final Fantasy titles and other JRPGs. You control the character in 2D environments and when you meet an enemy, the environment changes to a battlefield in pure Final Fantasy-style.

Down in the basement Douchebag and Butters find the bard (played by the cripple Jimmy) who quickly proves to be a traitor who is on the side of the elves. He stutters, of course, as he must give his big villain speech, after which several elves (ie boys with plastic ears) pop out from hiding places and a fierce battle breaks out. We see several special attacks and abilities, including Sir Douchebag taking on an extra piece of armor (ie aluminum foil), and his vibro blades (that look a lot like a dildo belonging to Cartman's mom).

After the ambush the group attempts to sneak out, among other things by stealth attacking enemies with dodge balls, farting on fire and making small gas explosions. They open a window from a distance, so an ally thief can sneak in and assassinate a few elven guards. The enemies they didn't manage to outwit are being defeated in the FF-like battle system.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

The demo is quite short, and ends as soon as the boys head up from the basement again. We see more cutscenes than gameplay from the time spent here, but the balance between them seems nevertheless appropriate, especially considering how many times we laugh out loud along the way.

The style, tone and humor hits the spot - no doubt since South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have been responsible for the game's script - and the fact that the kids just play live role-play, gives rise to plenty of jokes. Like when Butters says that he has read on Twitter, sorry, got a message from a carrier pigeon that the bard is staying at The Giggling Donkey. In other words, the game kind of breaks the fourth wall at times - it is certainly deeply aware that it is a game. There is nothing wrong with the humor, and the story and jokes will probably be enough to make sure that South Park: The Stick of Truth entertains. The gameplay may look a bit simple, but it's also based on well-known ideas, and if that doesn't get in the way of the rest of the experience, Ubisoft should have a hit on their hands.

South Park: The Stick of Truth
South Park: The Stick of Truth
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