Although the South Park brand of humor might not be your cup of tea - and I have to admit that it's not mine either - the game inside SPTSOT is quite solid. Against a backdrop of high fantasy only existing in the character's minds - and everyone plays along - you control a normal kid going around South Park, doing quests, fighting enemies and collecting loot, all of that done in an ocean of poop jokes and pop culture references. I had a ton of fun with it and I would recommend it to most turn-based RPG fans.

The game opens with you creating a character, then having to choose a class. The classes are Fighter, Thief, Mage and Jew - some kind of monk that gets stronger as he's damaged. The game commits the error of having you choose a class before you even know how the battle system works. I could assume that fighter was going to be tougher than thief - and I didn't know what Jew did at all - but if I was going to be stuck with one class for the whole game, I wish it told me a little about that beforehand. I chose thief, and took a look at my items and abilities.

This game is mechanically dense, which is a good thing. You have perks - unlocked by making friends in South Park - skills that you unlock and power-up by leveling up, you have a bunch of equipment slots - ranged weapon, melee weapon, helmet, body armor, gloves - and you can 'slot' things into your gear to make it more powerful. The combination of skills, gear and perks allow you to customize your character the way you want. I enjoyed the mix of making enemies bleed, deal more damage to bleeding enemies, leech life whenever I attack and regenerate PP - the resource used to use skills - with my ranged weapons.

The battle system is a bit like Paper Mario, you select your move, select a target, and you have to do something specific for your move to be better. The game tells you what that thing is, but it goes away when the actual attack starts, I wish the game would leave the text telling me that I have to press the left mouse button or right mouse button on-screen as I do the move, in case I forgot, or didn't look, or I was distracted. You can use one item per turn and attack, you have a buddy follower with a special skill you can also use each turn - healing, charming enemies - and you can do special moves and spells. Spells are used for specific boss fights - they can stun the enemy - but while you recover your PP at maximum after each battle, you don't recover mana normally and in some fights where the game tells you to use your spells it's not clear how much you have.

That being said, you find items to recover your mana, you find items everywhere. Every container is filled with junk, healing items and other gear pieces. Some containers require keys, some need a bit of puzzling in order to get to them. That's another thing I like about SPTSOT; the environment is full of little 'puzzles' where you can shoot a projectile at something to make something else happen and it can defeat enemies for you without an actual fight - and you still get the experience and loot. Walking around the world map can be a bit boring, but at least there's fast travel and some amount of random encounters and quests to be done here and there. 

Enemies are pretty tough themselves, they can do multiple things per turn, usually they'll be boosting their own stats and placing themselves in stances to dodge your ranged/melee/all attacks. You have to block their hits by clicking the right mouse button at appropriate times, otherwise you take more damage and additional effects depending on the attack. Enemies also have elemental weaknesses and resistances, making you vary the type of attacks you'll do. Enemies with higher armor will need bigger, stronger hits while shields have to be whittled down with many quick moves.

After a while you even unlock new ways of moving around, allowing you to get to places where you couldn't go before and getting treasures unreachable in the past. This little touch of exploration and expansion of your out-of-combat moves was an interesting little thing to add. I'm not privy with South Park lore so I didn't know what a ManBearPig was, but going around in town, fighting special bosses and placing items in certain spots always does for okay quests.

If you enjoy turn-based RPGS, SPTSOT is quite for you - if you can stomach the humor. It got good dense systems and plenty of customization and loot, classes have a few cool moves and the battle system doesn't get too repetitive with the way that skills and enemies have to be acted upon differently. A solid choice.

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories5/5, RPG