Trey Parker and Matt Stone turned an animated show into one of the longest running series that continually pushes the boundaries on socially sensitive subjects and stereotypes. The crass humor is one of the many charms of South Park, but what really keeps things going are the imaginative schemes and fantasies brewed in the minds of Eric Cartman, Kyle & Stan. When the Stick of Truth released it was a dream come true for gamers who happened to be South Park fans, and in turn pulled many new people into a world filled with fart jokes and surprisingly intelligent humor. When a great game is released it only makes sense that there has to be a sequel, and that is where The Fractured But Whole comes into play.
Building off the success of the first game is easy to do when society provides you the material to use on a daily basis. Search your social media outlets at what is offending people today and just like magic it appears in South Park! Granted, some fans have become immune to the shock of subjects that tend to make others shy away, but it does not make them any less hilarious as they filter from Parker & Stone’s mind to animation. The Fractured But Whole starts off where our favorite 4th graders are still playing the Lord of The Rings style fantasy game, but quickly shift gears to them creating an epic superhero franchise.
You take on the role of the new transfer student, lovingly referred to as New Kid or Buttlord, who gets the opportunity to be part of an up and coming superhero franchise led by none other than Eric Cartman. After choosing your hero class to fight with Cartman’s Coon and Friends (CAF) group, you set off on a quest to find a missing cat to cash in on the $100 reward to help fund the future of the franchise. As the story progresses you’ll fight along side a plethora of wanna-be superheroes from 2 rival factions, CAF and the Freedom Pals. The squabble between the two groups is a perfect parody of Captain America: Civil War and remains the main conflict throughout the storyline, but you’ll be hit with a deeper conspiracy that threatens to upend all of South Park. You’ll fight your way through squads of booger flicking, titty twisting 6th graders, pedophile priests, and troops of strippers to put a stop to the crime wave and try and unify the 2 superhero groups.
The Fractured But Whole expands on the RPG elements while keeping things simple allowing you to enjoy the game no matter what difficulty you have chosen. Crafting is a huge part of many RPGs today and as you travel around South Park looting cupboards, trashcans, and backpacks you’ll find the essential pieces necessary to make many different items vital to your success. Everything from health serums to magical burritos can be whipped up using recipes you find or unlock, but most importantly are the artifacts that allow you to upgrade your character by giving a boost to stats. Combat remains turn based, but there is now a grid that makes it easier to monitor character movements and obstacles in the way. Other members of the team feel like they make a meaningful impact during combat scenarios compared to The Stick of Truth, but it doesn’t really take a lot of brains to master the strategy behind the combat system. Each character is equipped with a combination of 3 offensive or defensive options that allow you take on whatever foes stand in your way and 1 super move that effects a large portion of the grid. Some attacks allow you to charge across the map while others do damage to all enemies in close proximity and there are defensive moves that boost attack power or give a temporary shield to allies.
There isn’t an infinite amount of content for South Park fans, but the game will definitely run the completionist upward of 25+ hours as you progress through the episodic like story line, multiple side quests, and mini-games. Players can mix and match any of the unlockable costumes into hilarious combinations which gives you the option to add your own flair to the South Park universe. The Fractured But Whole doesn’t really feel like a game at all, but an interactive episode of the show itself that is filled with beautiful designs and gutter humor.
Overall, The Fractured But Whole (Fractured Butthole in case you missed the joke in the title) is a worthy sequel that expanded upon the first game by streamlining the RPG elements and making the gameplay feel more tactical (even though it may be very basic). People who don’t appreciate South Park for what it is will never enjoy the game, but those who get mild enjoyment from the show (past or present) will find the game easily accessible. The entire game is filled with wonderful pop culture references as well as nods to the shows history and enough fart jokes to keep the 4th grader inside all of us entertained.