South Park: The Fractured But Whole is the second installment to the series that Ubisoft started with The Stick of Truth a few years ago. Since its predecessor launched back in 2014, the game was well received by critics and fans due to staying true to the show while having deep RPG mechanics. Now that we’re onto its sequel, The Fractured But Whole is an improvement over its predecessor, leveling up the battle system into a tactical turn-based system and a story that will make you laugh while still staying true to the show. After spending about fifteen hours with the game, I must say that The Fractured But Whole is the funniest RPG I have played, packed with deep RPG mechanics, and a must have for fans of South Park.
The Fractured But Whole takes place after the events of The Stick of Truth, and the recent TV episode, “Franchise Prequel”. Players will assume the role of the New Kid, aka Douchebag, and the rest of the South Park characters like Cartman, Kyle, and Stan. With Cartman geared up with his Coon costume, he sets out in an adventure to find the lost neighborhood cat to claim the hundred dollar reward to help get his Coon and Friends franchise the finances and recognition to achieve his plans to get a movie for his group and of course the Netflix series. Sadly, not everyone is in favor of Cartman and have decided to join a rival group of superheroes called Freedom Pals. This is the start of the New Kid’s adventure as he joins the Coon and Friends with one of the tasks of getting enough followers, and of course saving South Park from evil.
Before players assume the role of the New Kid and become a superhero, there will be all sorts of preparation that needs to be done. Players will have to customize the look of the new kid, choose a class from a various inspired superheroes like the Thing (specializes in melee), and Cyclops (ranged attacks), choose the kryptonite or weakness of your character, and a background story. These are all essential before players start their adventure in South Park. Once all is done, you will then start doing chores and objectives for Cartman, and also gain a lot followers in your Coonstagram.
As far as the story goes in The Fractured But Whole, the pacing is similar to The Stick of Truth. The game begins fairy simple at first but it grows deeper as you are reaching the end. There are a lot of things to do while you are in South Park such as taking quests from Stan’s father, doing chores from other people, find Yaoi pictures for a certain quest, or simply kicking butt of the bully Sixth Graders who are blocking your path. In other words, there are a lot of references to the series and activities to complete that is a true fan service for fans of South Park.
One drastic change that Ubisoft did with the sequel is change the combat. From its classic turn-based battle system, the sequel has now shifted to a tactical-based combat system. While it’s nothing fancy, the developer decided to make it simple but complex enough at some point. As you progress along the story, the superheroes that you get to meet will be joining you and up to 4 people including you can be in the battlefield. Once you initiate the battle, you will be in a small grid-like arena where you can move your characters around. Each character has its own unique class, like the Human Kite being the support class that heals and gives buffs to the characters, while others focus on long ranged attacks.
There isn’t a deep customization system for characters in The Fractured But Whole where you will have to buy a set of weapons or armors for each of your characters. Instead, you will have this so-called Artifacts feature that you get in the game that boost your stats. As you gain a hero rank, you unlock certain things for your character such as Artifact slots and more. Experience points can be obtained by a variety of ways such as winning a battle, or completing Titles on your Character Sheet.
The upgrade system is vast in The Fractured But Whole compared to its predecessor. As you play through the game, you will have an opportunity to keep upgrading the New Kid’s power until you feel that it’s getting out of hand. Don’t worry about it though as being powerful is always a good thing in this game. Just make sure you know what power and upgrade to equip and pick the best team in your party as there are about 12 of them that can join you.
Exploration is a big emphasis as well in this game. Since South Park is big, there are a lot of things that you can do in the game and you should definitely consider exploring everything. For those who have played The Stick of Truth, the scale of the map is as big as the ones in The Fractured But Whole. Since there are a lot of sidequests that need to be uncovered, it’s best that you check every nook and cranny as you never know what you might uncover. Not to mention with the crafting system being back in this game, it’s best that you check every possible area in the game to get that crafting materials for your items.
In terms of visuals, not much has changed when it comes to its predecessor. The game pretty much looks like an episode of the TV show and that’s a good thing for fans of the show. As far as animation goes, it’s solid with no visible drop in the frame rate. The special effects in combat adds flair to the impressive and colorful visuals of the game. As for the voice acting, they are excellent and pretty much every character is voiced by their original actors. In reality, playing The Fractured But Whole will make you feel like you are watching a more than a 20-hour episode right on your TV screen.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a sequel fans have been waiting for. Not only is the game is a solid follow-up to the original title, the new combat system works well, while maintaining the fan service of the original. The humor and wittiness South Park is known for is there and it is a big plus for fans of the series/previous game, making it a must buy.South Park: The Fractured But Whole Review,