People usually get worked up when discussing controversy, but in South Park they get animated.
That’s a bad joke, but at least it doesn’t have the word poop in it.
South Park The Fractured But Whole is released this week and not only does it have the best name of the year, it also has a lot of poop jokes.
That’s what you get with South Park – toilet humour, but with the odd golden turd that elevates the other jokes.
The Fractured But Whole picks up where The Stick of Truth left off, but this time the boys are switching from fantasy cosplay to superhero cosplay.
Where The Stick of Truth riffed on Lord of the Rings and other magical settings, this sequel does the same for Marvel and DC.
So Cartman becomes ‘The Coon’, a Wolverine-style character, while Jimmy
becomes Fastpass, like the Flash, and pretty much every other comic book hero stereotype is accounted for throughout the game.
The boys (and they are all boys bar one) are investigating who is abducting the neighbourhood cats, leading to a split between the group into two rival superhero gangs. It’s a pretty clear riff on Civil War.
Like Captain America’s abs and Black Widow’s thighs, the audience for this game is pretty well defined. If you’ve ever seen an episode of South Park, then you know exactly what you’re getting here.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect representation of a South Park episode than The Fractured But Whole. The animation, voice acting, the whole representation of South Park as a town — it’s all note perfect.
That very clearly leaves one huge audience for the game, in anyone who ever enjoyed the series. It also leaves an equally sizeable audience who will never play it, in those who never connected with the show’s humour.
Is there any grey area to be found between the two extremes? South Park generally doesn’t leave much room for grey, but the game’s battle system and wonderfully realised world might win over people on the fence.
The former has been given an upgrade this time around, with characters able to move on a grid-based system for extra strategy.
In addition, the team are much more fun to play as superheroes than they were as fantasy characters, with super abilities thrown into the mix for good measure.
So, The Fractured But Whole might win over some new fans by virtue of being a really polished RPG with an unusual setting, but let’s be honest — you’re buying it for the poop jokes. It’s flush with them.
Assassin’s hope for a hit
Meanwhile, plenty of people like to poop on the Assassin’s Creed series, but it remains one of the most popular games in the world.
Despite that, there’s a sense that Origins, released next week, will be a make or break game for the franchise. Too many other games are catching up with Ubisoft’s brand of open-world action.
In order to evolve, Origins is actually going back to the start, where the Templar order began.
Set thousands of years ago, it gives players the chance to run around ancient Egypt in a huge open world, sneaking, climbing and looting their way to victory over the ‘Order of the Ancients’, the real power behind the pharaoh.
There’s little doubt that Egypt has huge potential for Assassin’s Creed — it’s exactly the kind of setting that the game’s pseudo- history thrives upon. But we’ll need to see real changes in gameplay to know if Origins really is the beginning of something new for the series.
Meanwhile, a series with real (gaming) history continues its remarkable return to form when Wolfenstein: The New Colossus gets releases later this month.
Wolfenstein paved the way for Doom and pretty much every other first-person shooter that followed, but became largely irrelevant for the best part of 25 years thereafter.
The New Colossus continues Wolfenstein’s recent return to form, with a truly ridiculous take on alternate history:
“The Nazis have taken over America. They’ve turned Manhattan into a wasteland. They’ve walled off New Orleans and are systematically purging the city.
"And they brazenly walk the streets of small-town USA — going where they want, taking what they want and behaving however they please. But this is not BJ Blazkowicz’s America.”
The only thing that’s history now is your free time.
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