South Park: The Fractured But Whole Xbox One Review

If you love South Park or looking for a game that will make you laugh-out-loud than look no further.

By Grayshadow, Posted 16 Oct 2017

Back in 2014 South Park: The Stick of Truth released and it was one of the most faithful video game adaptations ever made. Now its sequel, South Park: The Fractured But Whole not only maintains this but it's one of the funniest games to come since the previous game. Focusing on the parodying the superhero movie franchise you'll burst out launching throughout the children's adventure to establishing their own superhero franchise. Along with a brand new tactical gameplay system and the ability to make whatever superhero you want South Park: The Fractured But Whole is the sequel everyone who played the first game could hope for.

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South Park: The Fractured But Whole can easily be mistaken for an episode of South Park, with the animation style, writing, and voice-acting being ripped straight from the popular television show. Although it's similar to the Stick of Truth slight changes such as the inclusion of Memberberries and Sodosopa gives the town a fresh look. South Park is loaded with callbacks to South Park's 20-year history and it's hard to go anywhere without having references to the show popup in posters, dialogue, or billboards.

The story begins after The Stick of Truth, with the New Kid taking the role as King and defending the Stick of Truth once again. However, Cartman decides to change the theme to superheroes, their goal to find a missing car for the $100 reward to fund their superhero franchise. To reach this goal you'll have to complete a series of South Park absurd challenges.

Several instances I burst out laughing and others were shocked that the developers went to extreme measures. In the previous game, certain cutscenes were blocked due to the country's rating board but South Park: The Fractured But Whole is completely uncensored. A scene where Fourth Graders give lap dances to drunk customers and have a Catholic priest pulling anal beads out of their anus are only a few insane situations you'll encounter during your playthrough.

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It's hard to tell what is real or not, with Jimmy constantly breaking the laws of physics when using his fast-travel stations and the kids moving out of the street when a car passes by. The Fractured But Whole blurs the line between reality and fiction constantly with the kids clearly wearing customed low-quality costumes but performing deadly blasts from outer space.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole drops the old turn-based combat system for a grid-based tactical system. Instead of having 2 characters take turns to attack and defending until one side dies players now navigate a grid. Each ability can only be performed on a square on the grid requiring you to move character's into range for either offensive or defensive reasons. 

Where the Stick of Truth got easier during the course of the campaign The Fractured But Whole gets harder. New enemies and challenges constantly mix up the gameplay such as attempting to escape an Old Folks home where fallen enemies respawn or foes who can summon allies. Special battles with unique objectives such as forcing enemies into a specific spot or targeting a particular enemy prevented things from getting stale. Unlike The Stick of Truth where you just pummeled your foe till they died here position is important since everyone's abilities work creatively. Every ability has a set range, direction, knockback, and other special effects that can be chained together.

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Characters are plentiful and each has their own unique set of weaknesses, strengths, and abilities. Each has 3 abilities and an ultimate which is shared by the entire team and charges for receiving damage. This adds a layer of strategy of who to take into battle. For example, Captain DIabetes is an excellent take and damage dealer but lacks range but Cartman can deal heavy damage but has low health. Mixing together an ideal team that complements each character's strengths and weaknesses are essential to victory. 

Instead of a simple RPG progression system, where the player equips new items to increase their strength and gain new abilities, The Fractured But Whole takes a different approach. You start with one superhero class but eventually gain the ability to freely match together abilities from up to 4 different classes. Player's equip items called artifacts to increase their power level. While you can just easily slot the most powerful artifacts some have special bonuses such as ultimate recharge rate and immunity to fire that make choosing the best artifact not always meaning picking the most powerful item. This is an excellent substitute for the previous armor system since costumes play a major role in The Fractured But Whole.

Player's can customize their New Kid from the way they look to the costume. There is a myriad of options available and they're purely cosmetic. Meaning you can mix together any combination of costume parts to make your own. This makes The New Kid the jack of all trades, able to switch into any role. This extends to gender as The Fractured But Whole takes a long time discussing The New Kid's gender and sexuality in a series of awkward counseling sessions. 

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One common themed that continues from the Stick of Truth is the power of The New Kid's flatulence ability. Here his power is powerful enough to bend time in both combat and exploration. In fights, this ability can pause time or steal an enemy's turn. This meant that despite being a petri dish of everyone's powers keeping him alive was much more important during difficult fights. 

Certain things do get repetitive over time. There are only 4 timing minigames that get repeated during combat that include tapping a single button, tap it once, tap it in a sequence, or tap one button for a defense to recover some health after the damage is dealt. The same goes for the ultimate animations, which are hilarious and amazing the first few times but later become long unskippable sequences later on. 

A crafting system is available for all the junk you'll collect on your adventure. In the previous game you would sell most of these items but here they're used for creating everything from healing items to new costumes. You can simply purchase these items but it gives a purpose for all the junk you'll collect from exploring the world.

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The other bulk of The Fractured But Whole takes place on the streets of South Park. People populate the streets and it's up to you to take selfies with them. This time around it's all about Coonstagram instead of Facebook, where the player must gain followers by taking selfies with other characters either voluntary or by gaining their trust. Side Missions become available the more you talk to people for unique skills and sometimes summonings. These summonings aid greatly in fights and can range from heavy damage dealers to powerful healers. 

The Fractured But Whole does offer some minor puzzles but none of them are challenging. Most of them involve you using a buddy's unique skill to gain access to restricted areas such as rooftops or places blocked by lava which is red Lego blocks. Some did lead to interesting places but nothing compared to the main campaign.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is another phenomenal video game adaptation of the 20-year long show. The DC vs Marvel parody delivered frequent moments where I burst out laughing and the improved tactical gameplay system made the game much more challenging than the previous installment. I wish there were more fast-travel stations and a sprint option for exploring but these are minor complaints. If you love South Park or looking for a game that will make you laugh-out-loud than look no further, South Park: The Fractured But Whole.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Developer(s): Ubisoft San Francisco, South Park Digital Studios
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Fantasy
Release Date: 2016-12-06

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