South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a video game adaption of the beloved Comedy Central series and is the sequel to Stick of Truth. With South Park being the follow up to a game I beloved (giving it 9.1), I had very high expectations for this one. And I must say, Ubisoft blew them out the park. South Park: The Fractured But Whole is an improvement on almost every level and was a delight to play.
To understand the story of The Fractured But Whole, you won’t really need to play the first game. There are a few calls backs, but by in large this game is mostly independent from the Stick of Truth. This time, the story is based around super heroes. You are still the new kid in town and you will again be assigned with the task of making new friends. But this time you will be helping the Coon and Friends crime fighting franchise attempts to advance their organization. There are some twists and turns that flesh out the story from there. Overall, like the last game it’s not the most amazing story, but I felt this time it was much better paced with cut scenes and story elements that kept me very engaged.
The writing in Fractured But Whole has the magic flair of Matt and Trey; it had me laughing throughout. It has the stupidness and edginess you are used to from the South Park TV show. I actually felt the jokes were a lot better this time and more incorporated within the game’s storylines. The storylines and characters are almost all references to the show and very little this time refers back to video games.
Ubisoft completely changed the combat system this time around. Now you have battle field consisting of squares that you can move around. Some battle fields are quite large while others are only 3x3 blocks wide. The distance that can travel depends on the character and buffs that are applied. The overall combat is still a turn based system though. Your attacks consist of your 3 main attacks along with 1 special attack. These attacks are based on your class, which you gain more classes as you play. Each class has their own unique attacks and all seemed pretty balanced. The attacks themselves are also well varied with some applying attacks only on the block in front of you, while others hit the whole board (with a lot less damage), or the 3 blocks in front of you. So there’s a strategy to which attack you choose and how you mix them up. You will want a strong attack, an attack that will hit multiple enemies and maybe an attack that hits enemies at a distance. So there’s a lot to play around with.
You also get 3 partners in most battles; there turns are not always right after yours though. Another modification to the combat system is that there is no longer a focus on the use of items (though they are still an option) and blocking no longer exists. But timed button presses are still present, they just don’t affect attacks as much as they did in Stick of Truth (less of them and late press penalties aren’t as severe). Overall, I found this combat style to be far superior to Stick of Truth. This combat style has a lot more variety and didn’t end with me using the same attacks again and again. There was also more of a sense of progression, strategy, and was just way more engaging.
Like the last game, Facture But Whole has a fully explorable version of South Park. The town is mostly the same, but there are slight changes to it based on what happened within the show. In the last game I criticized the lack of incorporation of the town within the mains story. This time, they completely changed that and most of the story takes place within different portions of the town; which I found to be a lot better. My only complaint is that there were really only 2 or 3 times the game adventured away from the town for a mission. That was kind of disappointing since this was when things went really wacky in the last game. Fracture Butt whole needs something like exploring Mr. Slaves Rectum or an alien ship full of probes.
Ubisoft also added in world building elements by including obstructions that you won’t be able to get through until a certain assist partner is obtained. I like it how this really fleshed out the world of South Park and added a need to explore areas more than once. It also wasn’t really a pain to come back to either since the story typically lead you to that area again. My main complaint about the town is that they seemed to have taken away the run option. So you end up moving slower than the run speed in the last game. As you can image, this got real annoying.
I completed all of the side content and story missions within about 22 hours of playing. I found that to be a perfect amount of play time for a game like this. But that was padded a bit by lots of loading screens that seem to take forever. For example, every time you get into a battle, the game loads for about 25 to 30 seconds. It gets really annoying. The world is split by load screens, so you just can’t escape them.
For side content, I felt like they fleshed these out quite a bit more in the Fracture But Whole. They made the side missions more story based instead of just collection type missions from the previous game. While there are still the collection mission, they overall just put more side missions/stories that have a more meaningful incorporation into the game.
Instead of a skill tree like the last game, Ubisoft went with an Augment system you get from artifacts. These artifacts can be made from the crafting menu, earned from missions, bought from the shops, or found in chests/collection points. As you level up, you get more augment spots to use these artifacts in. The artifacts will raise your Might level, while also giving you buffs to certain stats like health or strength. The leveling system also required no grinding and was very unobtrusive. They also added in a neat little side leveling mechanic for collecting a certain number of artifacts, defeating so many of an enemy type, etc. Meeting these would give you a boost in XP. So the whole crafting, Augmenting, and leveling system worked great and overall added much depth to the systems in place.
Finally, I just love it that they made a whole game around using your characters butt. Your attacks are a lot of the time fart based, clearing objects in the world are fart based, you have a button designated to just farting, and so much more. I love it how only South Park would do something like this and make a fun experience.
South Park: The Fracture But Whole was a wonderful game and was overall a large improvement from Stick of Truth. The only places of regression was the introduction of lots of lengthy load screen, slower run speed, and the lack of many unique locations not featured in the show. But the combat system is miles better than the original’s and combat system never grew old. The writing and storylines were brilliant/funny. The world had much depth within the story and reasons to continue exploring with action locations. The augmenting, crafting, and leveling system worked great and overall added much depth to the systems in place. If you have a PS4, Xbox One, or Switch you should buy this game, it is amazing.
Great Combat system
Lots of Content
Lots of lengthy load screens
slow running speed
unique locations were better in SOT