LOS ANGELES — A little potty humor can go a long way, or at least it does when it comes to the latest South Park game. Titled South Park: Fractured but Whole (say it three times fast), the game serves up more of the satirical, devil-may-care comedy that the original title offered.
But beneath all the fart jokes lies new superhero personas, compelling classes and tough battle systems that should satisfy even the most demanding RPG aficionado when the game launches Dec. 6 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Fun with Superheroes
Fractured picks up right where South Park: Stick of Truth left off. Once again, you'll be playing as the New Kid, now known as King Douchebag. But before you can rule over your new subjects, Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny have switched from playing a "Lord of the Rings" knockoff to playing a superhero game.
You soon discover that there are now two warring superhero groups: The Cartman-led Coon and Friends, and the Freedom Pals. Your job is simple — join in on the game in the never-ending quest to be cool.
If It Ain't Broke...
Similar to Stick of Truth, Fractured does an excellent job of emulating the television show's trademark cutoff information. If it weren't for the action and item prompts that appeared while the New Kid scavenged around Cartman's house, the game could have easily passed for a standard episode. The authentic voice acting and humor also make an appearance, so much so that I let out a loud chortle when Douchebag unleashed a wet fart on Cartman's mom.
So Many Fart Jokes
Speaking of farts, Douchebag retains his unrivaled flatulence-based powers from the last game. That means that he can break certain objects with a well-aimed toot from his rear. Never content to rest on their laurels, Ubisoft took the skill a step forward with an aim for more "interactive humor." That means you now have control over Douchebag's sphincter muscles, allowing your to control the length and strength of his bowel movements when he uses the toilet.
You can also use Douchebag's powers in combination with other characters to riotous effect. In one instance, we saw the main character team up with the Human Kite to reach a treasure chest on a rooftop. He simply used his gas as a propulsion system, providing Kite with enough lift to reach the pair's objective. So what does Ubisoft call this cooperative ability? Fartkour, of course.
Show a Little Class
Fractured still employs a class system to determine your fighting style. You'll have access to three classes at the beginning of the game: the rage-powered Brutalist, the Cyclops-inspired Blaster and the motion-focused Speedster. As you progress through the game, you can unlock other classes, although the Ubisoft reps didn't really tell us how. You'll have the ability to switch classes throughout the game, or, if you're really feeling fancy, you can create hybrid styles.
Like its predecessor, Fractured still relies on a turn-based party system. However, Fractured also borrows from tactical role-playing games like Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem, incorporating a grid characters can move around in.
This adds a layer of strategy to battle, as clever maneuvering can see you unleash devastating attacks upon your enemies without absorbing too much damage yourself. While it looked relatively simple during the demo, this system could potentially be a turn-off to people used to the simple turned-based battles from before.
I was a huge fan of Stick of Truth and was totally excited for Fractured but Whole. Ubisoft gave me more of what I loved about the series (toilet humor, RPG-style gaming and tons of fan service) without being afraid to push the formula.
If early looks at the story are any indication, we're in for a fun romp that plays out like an extended episode of the series -- and that's super kewl, you guys.