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HomeBlogsMark and Candice's blogSouth Park's "Fractured But Whole" Is Totally Tight

South Park's "Fractured But Whole" Is Totally Tight

Candice and Mark discuss South Park's newly released game, "The Fractured But Whole."

 

TRANSCRIPT OF PODCAST

 

Mark says

Hi, this is Mark and Candice with CheektoGeek.com, and we're talking today about "South Park: The Fractured but Whole."

 

Candice says

Or the “Fractured Butthole.” [laughs]

 

Mark says

Yeah, depending on how you say it.

 

Candice says

I like Fractured Butthole.

 

Mark says

I thought you would. [laughs] So the “Fracture but Whole” is the follow-up to “The Stick of Truth,” which was released for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and I think at the time was pretty inventive and cool for what they set out to do. The premise behind “The Stick of Truth” was that the kids were all playing their kind of “Lord of the Rings”/“Game of Thrones,” orcs and elves, axes and spells kind of game. Everybody was some sort of fantasy character, and you are the new kid in town, and so you got to join in their quests with armor and clothing made out of cardboard and found items and things like that. The kids would run around the town of South Park and have all sorts of weird adventures.

            It got pretty mad cap along the way. You had encounters with the aliens from this Cartman anal probe episode. You had to go to an abortion clinic and participate in an abortion. You had to go underground and deal with the crab people. One of the funniest levels was going to Canada, and when you go to Canada, it's all 8-bit cheap graphics like old Nintendo. It was a lot of fun, very weird, and in keeping with South Park’s strange aesthetic. It was a lot of fun. The dynamic for it is it's an RPG, and you have turn-based combat, and obviously you're looking for items to upgrade your character. It's sort of an open world, which you have quest, so you definitely have objectives to go find on the map and you have to do them in a certain order to advance the story. So it's kind of one of those games.

            This follow-up, “The Fractured but Whole,” uses very much the same kind of mechanics to how it works, but the difference is this time the kids are playing as superheroes. So you have Cartman as “the Coon,” and all the other little kids fall into teams of super heroes, and you’re participating in the conflict between them by doing the same kinds of things you did in the last game. So it’s more of the same. The only difference here is that they’ve changed the combat system a little bit so you have the ability to move around when you fight other characters and you have different types of powers. Everything was fart based in the last game, and there definitely still are some fart things, but since it’s superhero based, I picked a character that is like a beam character, so you shoot energy beams from your hands and your face. When you collect enough points, you fire a super beam from your behind, but it’s a lot more varied.

            There's three classes at the beginning that you get the option to choose from. There's a speedster, a sort of a grunt or a tank character, and then the energy character, and from there, you can decide how your play style works best in all that. So that's kind of the intro to the game and we’re not super far along in it at this point. We've gone through a couple of battles and early quests.

 

Candice says

I was actually glad that Xbox offered a trial, or I guess the game makers offered a trial of “The Fractured but Whole,” because the first thing I had ever heard about this game was that if you played as a black or brown character that the game was significantly harder. And that was the first thing I heard about it that they had kind of made this racial division in the game and that really turn me off and I didn't really want to play, because I thought, as a black person, if I try to pick an avatar that looked like me that I was just going to make the game hard for myself, and I was like, “Well, that's not really fair.” We ended up making an avatar, since the trial was about to run out, we just picked one really quickly and at random, so the kid was white, so I have no idea what that racial component actually creates, but I'm really glad that they did the trial, because I don't know if we would have just shelled out the money to buy the game had we not had the opportunity to play it first. Now that we’ve played it, I really, really, really want to buy it and keep going playing with it. It's really interesting that we just played “Knights of the Old Republic” last night, which was old school, 2003 RPG that had all these issues with complicated subcategories and submenus and so much reading and all that. Obviously, it’s 2017, and South Park doesn't have any of those issues. The gameplay is fairly seamless. Everything is on one screen. Even when you pull up the maps, they shows up on the screen that you're on. So there's really nothing to ever takes you out of the game play, which I think is great.

 

Mark says

Yeah. Item collection, crafting, finding the menus. So in the last game, one of the side things was their version of Facebook, and you were trying to get friends on Facebook, which follows a plot line in South Park, where everybody was addicted to Facebook and had their little Farmville games and all of that. Now it's upgraded, and you have Coonstagram, and you're trying to take selfies with all the other characters for Coonstagram. So even interacting with the camera in the interface to take those little selfies and see who you're following and who’s following you is really, really easy to get and to navigate. There's a lot to pick up quickly. There's a lot of onscreen tutorials, but it’s all ramping you up toward things as you jump into the quests and follow the storyline. So [any game] that has this many hours of content, you're going to spend the first couple hours just learning everything or relearning everything before you launch into the full story. So that's kind of the front end of it.

            It does seem like a lot of fun. If you really liked “Stick of Truth,” it’s almost a no-brainer. You almost to owe it to yourself. And the game picks up from the end of “Stick of Truth,” even to the point that your character is still dressed in their medieval type garb when the game starts and carries on the storyline seamlessly as the kids decide it's not cool to play knights and dragons anymore and they want to be super heroes now. Then you gotta move to the new storyline, so it's really great that way. There's a lot of cut scenes, which makes it feel like an interactive episode of the show or a movie from the show, and honestly I feel like that some of the funny things that are going on are funnier than the last maybe two seasons of South Park that I've seen on television. I don't know if it's a situation like during “The Simpsons Movie” that all the best writing and talent worked on the game so that the quality of the show’s gone down a little bit, or if maybe people were distracted working on both, but it seems like the funnier content and the higher quality experience is definitely in the game.

 

Candice says

Even the graphics of the game are actually better animated than the show actually is.

 

Mark says

They still keep the cheaply done aesthetic.

 

Candice says

Yeah, but it looks glossy.

 

Mark says

It does. It looks very clean. And of course because you have all of those battle animations with fire and lightning and stuff, all of that looks really good. And sometimes the game has to go back and forth between imagination and reality. For instance, when you're playing at one point, you can't get into Cartman’s house because there are red Legos all over the step on his house, and one of the kids tells you it’s lava. Then later in the game every time you see a pile of red Legos, there’s actually fake flames coming off of them. So it's those little touches like that that make it sort of a fun experience that reminds you, “Hey, these are kids playing a game.” Or when you're in a battle, you might have to stop and go on the sidewalk to get out of the way for a car, and the people driving the car from your neighborhood will yell at you for playing in the street.

 

Candice says

I definitely think there’s an added bonus for people who are fans of the show and have watched the show pretty consistently. For instance, there’s this one part when you get to Kenny's house you go through the ruins of SoDoSoPa and the Shi Tpa Town, and it's not like it's laugh out loud funny, but it's definitely laugh to yourself kind of funny. Seeing things that are clear references to the show, which you would expect, but like I said, if you haven't been following the show, then you're not going to get those extra references.

 

Mark says

The garage for my character has a box of Chinpokomon, and there's an Okama Gamesphere and in the character’s bedroom. So there’s a lot of those little things that are references to episodes from a few seasons ago. I think that stuff is all great. They had those in the last game, but they have definitely doubled down on it and done a lot more of packing every space that they could with that stuff. I appreciate it because I think it's definitely useful for fans of the show, and it makes the experience more fun to have those little things to laugh at.

 

Candice says

Also the anticipation of things that you know are going to be coming. Like you know at some point Mysterion is going to show up and Mint-Berry Crunch. Those things are definitely going to show up at some point later, and I'm just kind of wondering when they're going to come in.

 

Mark says

Also the idea that we’re going to explore a little bit more of the characters here. One of the elements that happen early on in the trial is that you get your hands on Cartman’s journal. And I won’t spoil it, but there are some drawing in Cartman’s journal [laughs] that kind of seem to illuminate things that are going on presently in the show. Cartman’s relationship with his girlfriend, as Candice pointed out. You may even get some added value for what’s currently on TV just from watching and playing the game. I definitely think there’s value there as well.

 

Candice says

So the trial ends [October 25] unfortunately, so if you want to actually play this game then you can get it through the Xbox game store or you can go buy it at wherever. But I would definitely suggest that people actually buy this game, because it's really, really, really fun so far. I'm really excited to start playing it. Actually it's rare that I find games that I am like, “I would play that without you.” Because usually, especially with one player games, it tends to be more of a “one person watches while the other one plays” sort of deal, and generally it's not that I don't like video games, it's just that I don't normally get in the mood to go play a video game. But this one I think I would actually just want to go play this on my own at some point.

 

Mark says

I think the deciding factor for anyone listening to this about whether or not you should buy it should be obviously, firstly, do you like South Park? Secondly, did you like “Stick of Truth” and did you play that at all? Thirdly, do you like RPG games? Do you have fun with that type of gameplay? And lastly, do you have a sense of humor that's not easily shocked or offended? Obviously that's kind of goes with South Park in general, but if you're into crass humor and into those kinds of jokes, then you wouldn’t have a good time with this game. And then on top of it, like I said, it is a really good experience. Everything seems to be well designed and fun. So if you're just into good games, you'll probably enjoy this as well.

 

Candice says

All right, guys, thanks for listening, and if you want to join the discussion, if you’ve played the game and want to comment then comment in the comment section below. Comment, comment, comment. Or join us on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll talk to you soon.

 

Mark says

And tell us what your South Park superhero character would be.

Mark and Candice

Mark and Candice

Sometimes the best part of reading an article online is engaging in a conversation in the comment section. However, discussions involving opposing points of view between strangers can devolve into a toxic environment. So what if these conversations were had between two people who loved each other?

At Cheek to Geek, our contributors consist of a diverse group of couples who are steeped in geek and popular culture. Our reviews reflect the back-and-forth, opposing or concurring, debates that geeks are notorious for having. But our founders, Mark and Candice Roma, have always felt that the love and respect felt for certain fandoms should carry over into the way we discuss them. Candice hopes that by modeling fruitful and productive discourses in our blogs, vlogs, and podcasts that we can show our readers the value in having disparate opinions and that differing perspectives don’t have to lead to hostile confrontation. “Mark and I have been together almost nine years, and every time we go see a movie, read book, go to a new restaurant, or see something awesome, we immediately ask what the other one thought. We don’t always agree, but having a conversation with my husband is my favorite part of experiencing something new.”

Although Cheek to Geek focuses on the opinions of specific couples, Mark believes that our vision for the site will extend far beyond that. “Ultimately the goal of art is to communicate, and the goal of communication is to build a community.” Our mission is to create a positive, inclusive, and safe environment for the appreciation and discussion of popular art in all its forms. 

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