I found most of the negative Steam reviews almost dumb, except for the UPLAY complaint, which isn't actually the game itself. IGN did okay with its review, except I kind of wanted to punch the author for writing he was going to "let it slide" that Memberberries appeared in a game heavily based on callbacks. For their next review, IGN will be criticizing a D&D game for the so passe orc and elf callback. HA.
And then they went and wrote "there were just a handful of times where a throwaway racial stereotype joke didn’t quite feel clever enough to justify the sensitive subject matter."
Apparently, PC Principal is alive and well at IGN and he's coming down on you! HA!
Apparently the PC rule is, only if it's funny enough does it make the sensitive subject matter okay.
So maybe if you start calling a school shooter a"dumbass mad and sad panda with a deathwish and a machine gun that failed to find any shred of peace or joy to live for" you could really tear into it and still be IGN PC?
Except I'm not done sh*tting on IGN criticisms, they also make a note that the crafting is not so good, like "Why not just buy the healing items?"
Because if you just bought and looted the antidotes and whatnot, then you don't get to go around looting "Dollops of Snot" and sex toys and whatnot. That bizarre collection of looted items was very amusing. Finally there was IGN's "big gripe" about the lack of navigation indicators. The poor baby "constantly had to pop open the map to figure out where he was supposed to go."
Lol, like navigating and solving labyrinths is a part of good games?
No, you are supposed to point me directly where I'm supposed to go, on the main play screen, else Ima gonna bitch.
Video games have gotten stupider in this sense, in-pursuit-of-sales-pandering to the lowest-common-denominator which generally does not like it when video games require much in the way of thought. I get it. Most people don't play video games for a challenging experience which requires learning, they want to zone out and be relaxed and be entertained. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?!?
This makes me wonder about how most gamers would bitch today about something like the Shadow Labyrinth in The Legend of Kyrandia. I can hear it now; "making the player guess where they should go and fail repeatedly in order to progress through the game is a stupid mechanic, like having to draw a map on actual paper with which the player derives from fifty trials and errors the successful route is such a tedious waste of time."
I'm like, the Shadow Labyrinth was a fantastically designed level...what's wrong with you people!?! Oh yea, to each their own. Like PVP RTS like Starcraft was generally just a little too intense of a focus for my tastes. Like ima need a nap afterwards....
CHARACTER CUTSCENES AND CINEMATIC IMMERSION
Have you ever played that game Half-life?
Wait, did Mephisto just say that? I had to check online to make sure I wasn't hearing things, it was so quick and passing in game. Yes I played that game, Half-Life is probably still the most cinematic FPS ever made. Or one of the most...I've missed so many in the last decade.
I'd like to second and expand the praise of the previous review, that "seamless transition between the cutscenes and gameplay";
TFbW was more cinematic than Half-Life when it came to voice-acted character dialogue. That stuff was pulled off at a level I don't think I've yet encountered in another video game, and the Stick of Truth is probably #2. "Aim to stay true to the show," and then it pulls off interactive episodes, on level with the best of them. MMMmmm spectacular THX!
Where Half-Life beat TFbW was with the action sequences and highly planned, highly complex encounters with enemies. Fighting through those things in Half-Life and surviving them was highly cinematic, repeated failure was common on some of the encounters. Like learning how to not get your head chomped off by those roof dwelling barnacles in a few spots...saving yourself in the nick of time with a shotgun blast...that bit was like magically satisfying, and the South Park games have lacked such magical bits due to their lack of real-time action beyond "press x now to jump, or die."
Maybe it should be called "action-based cinematic level design." Original Resident Evil is right next to original Half-Life in my mind. I wonder if these games were actually better than what gets put out today despite the dated graphics, or if I am just getting old-man syndrome. 'membering the good old days when sh*t terrified me despite cartoonish graphics. Wait, The binding of Isaac.
And then then I put on the original Kyrandia Soundtrack while typing this, for the first time in like a decade, and like f*ckin-A, the original kyrandia soundtrack has got spirit for decades. https://youtu.be/vivKS2bhUD8?t=1847 Then I read the youtube comments, which claimed it was written by an individual, when they were 18. Seriously?
Another more general word for this abstract yet most significant measure of a videogame's awesomeness is 'immersion.' The other titles mentioned here are all among the most immersive video games I ever played. You don't have to suspend disbelief or be chasing a power or level-up to be drawn to it. It pulls you into the world, you actually wonder what is going to happen next. with the gameplay and characters and plot, rather than opening a locker. HA!
Wait, I still love opening lockers with this fresh start.
Immersion can be induced with any single element but the most successful ones do it with all of them; music and artwork, plot and characters and ultimately gameplay. I don't think most people would call (Acid) Tetris an immersive videogame, but when accompanied by some sweet melody, it pulls me in like almost no other. Immersive despite it having no characters or story, or even artwork if you don't count bricks of different shapes and colors.
Seriously you guys, TFbW is in this way probably the best videogame ever, in that the cutscenes of character-driven voice-acted dialogue is the primary and most successful immersive element, almost seamlessly integrated into the rest of the game. Nice.
The huge amount of cinematics combined with the pre-rendered 2D adventure/puzzle screen came together with great success. Most 3D adventure games have gone with the 3rd person free camera (since like Mario 64?) all of which have a very specific feel and view, which is usually frustrating at some point in the game and does not allow for the cinematic immersion the likes of TFbW or original Resident Evil pulls off.
There are very few cut scenes in many games, because they are often a ton of work. South Park games have a structure where it can create a huge amount of cinematic cutscenes in what is probably a small fraction of the time it takes other game developers, because their studios have been streamlining this process with its simplistic yet immersive animation style over the course of 20 years. Super win.
My favorite moment in the whole damned game might have been sober Towelie. Pure cinema and voice acting, slow to start and more than 2 minutes to the punchline, but totally worth it oh my god so good. Best enemy introduction in videogame history. That moment it switches to the combat introduction screen was gold. GOLD I TELL YOU!!!
Granted I am a fan of the show, but I don't think any other game has immersed me so well with so little reliance on gameplay....
The combat in TFbW wasn't bad, even if it wasn't like one of the greatest gameplays ever. It was definitely an improvement over TSoT and it was fun to choose an action and watch it happen, fun to choose abilities and try to set yourself up for hella knockback bonus damage. The mechanics that ran on actual timers were all some needed spice, and it seemed like there probably should have been more of them.
While playing I triggered the,'taking to long' responses a little too often in combat, and then got totally wrecked twice by the battle where the Coon steals your turns. I set the difficulty to one setting under most difficult at the beginning and it was mostly a satisfying challenge. Butter's dad grounded my whole party and f*cked me up quite a few times before I finally got him. Then trying to catch Classi at the peppermint hippo, I think I died in that one like 5 times before I managed it, it was probably my favorite combat/gameplay encounter in the game.
TFbW smaller stories were a lot of fun, if not Towelie I might have enjoyed most of all, the pimp fight conclusion to Cartman's mom side story. The primary plot was a little too silly to get me going on an epic what-in-the-f*ck hero's journey. Granted, the 'main plot' was ripping on the hero's journey in the first place. Even though the hero's journey has mostly been turned into a hollow factory rollout, it is still timeless at its core. Even thought Super Hero Movie Episode 35 is so similar to Super Hero Movie Episode 15 that I pretty much lost interest after Avengers 1.
TFbW did include notes of not-so-funny dramatic story telling. Like the fighting between the new kids' parents, which they try to hide. It was just about painful to watch. This seemed to be about the only point where the TFbW kind of just dropped the funny. Like putting on Landslide in an episode of Southpark, like wait what the hell just happened? Where did Cartman singing about Kyle's mom being a dirty slut go?
So, lean into that.
The world of South Park can pull this off, its just that the main plot needs a little bit of cautionary prophetic sci fi or something. Probably onto something with the coonstagram and cult(ure) making influencer power, + school shooters in light of America's now probably catastrophically divergent "influencer" cultures. Like yea, y'all are going to agree on a government, like Saudi muslims and pagans.
I watched a few episodes of "America Under Fire" and was creeped the f*ck out by the way some of those people spoke about the experience as "being like a movie" or the parents going on about how "normal" they all were, with the television they watched...like herro prease just what in the f*ck do you think is happening here, Mr. ScreenSlaver?
I digress. The point, is that maybe next time the villain won't be like Mitch Connor or Zombie Princess Kenny. Lol
TFbW had bits and pieces which made me remember many fantastic games...
The pre-rendered 2D adventure puzzle mode had me 'membering The Legend of Kyrandia. Apparently I can't 'member that game enough, it was a first and favorite of mine. Except TFbW didn't quite lean into that sweet jamming soundtrack like The Legend of Kyrandia did, even if TFbW did pull off some subtle yet effective mood music.
Perhaps nothing will ever be as haunting as corporate mercenaries with names like Sephirot losing their minds in a manor basement over Jehovah to such a melody as "Those Chosen By The Planet," but this doesn't mean you can't rock some gayfish when gayfish appears.
Seriously, why didn't it play? Was there a secret farting unicorn level I missed or something?
The ultimate move action in TFbW had me 'membering my probably #1 video game experience, FF7. The Human Kite ~= Bahamut. HA! I never got even close to tired of watching Moses or the Guinea Pirate, despite using them like a dozen times in game.
I did not especially like how after completing Tweak and Craig's relationship therapy missions, I could no longer summon the guinea pirate, and it was replaced with...that. Oh god that. WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY SINGLE TARGET DAMAGE NOOOOOOOO
Many of the attacks and abilities were great comic-book action. Get that visceral satisfaction from the machine-gun middle-finger fire at a mad cow, Raisins claws, shields, blue spirit dragon punches, yes. Okay, the priest hitting himself with his buttplug was like, wow. Did he just start doing that? OHHHH HE DID SOO MESSED UP LOL
Not quite as good as some of the highest rated video game action I ever experienced (which was probably 5 minutes taken from like 10 hours of LET'S FIGHTING LOVE from Soul Calibur with Kilik Vs Nightmare that were apparently choreographed by Chan or Jaa or Uwais or Ruhian) but TFbW's combat action was definitely more funny, and thus almost as amusing.
Splat. YOUR DEAD. I love that, especially that time I jumped out of Butter's window to my death. This bit always makes me 'member the original Resident Evil. Rolling the credits was a nice additional touch.
"This isn't the legend of Zelda!"
But it is kind of awesomely close to the feel of the 2D ones in the good ways, with the mostly open world map navigating, and the graphic obstacles you gain abilities to access later in the game.
Blowing away lego hot lava with a team powered fart as this mechanism...I mean come on. I appreciate the novelty, but ultimately none of TFbW's world unlocking abilities were as satisfying as aiming a bow to hit a switch with an arrow. Throwing pop-its and farts at propane tanks was pretty much as good as throwing bombs though...
Speaking of aiming, an adventure game should really have aiming in a way that isn't "move cursor to point on screen and push button on stationary target" like they mostly seem to do now. Anyone at South Park Digital Studios 'member Worms? (the videogame) I loved aiming in that, it was a satisfying challenge. You have to miss a few times for the hit to feel any good, right? Yall done f*cked that aiming bit all up! HA.
Each animation for the "graphical unlock" mechanic of summoning pals to fart your way through obstacles, was always worth one giggle or smile, but calling the Human Kite to Fly or Toolshed to clear legos felt a little clunky after 3 or 4 goes. By the end of the game, I had quite enough of watching Professor Chaos shove gerbils up my butt so I could fart it out at exposed wires in order to hack circuits. Lol.
I did not get sick of looking for keys in TFbW. I was somewhat disappointed when you wake up at your parents house for the final time and there wasn't any more keys to find amidst a dark and dangerous disaster scene of getting f*cked up with alcohol and marijuana.
I really dug how Wonder Tweek's heal ability made me 'member Secret of Mana. 'member Undine? YEA! I member Undine. Healing rain for life.
The Stark's pond area looked and played great, methinks there should be lots more such natural settings to puzzle around in. It's not the Legend of Zelda, but it sure could be more like The Legend of Zelda in this way.
Something else I loved about TFbW which was totally new to me was the ridiculing tone the game often took with the player and with itself. May I list a few of my favorites lines;
"if you're are having trouble winning in combat, try getting better at the game"
"It's the playground stupid."
"How did you solve my riddle!?! God your so smart, wow I'm so jelly."
"It's coo because, it's like the ultimate enemy." "Oh give me a break."
Cartman's journal was a disturbing lol. A quiet moment to take the character even deeper, along with Randy's alcoholism.
"f*ck." "You." "Mom." Beep.
"That's it, you are Grounded Mr!" Then prison blues harmonica...lol thanks.
Watching the character screen change was fun:
Power Source: Anal
Kryptonite: Old People
I also ended up a Tibetan Taoist. And a Polysexual Trigender was it? Of course. I think "Transexual Bear" or "Heterofurry" should have also been options. HA.
I also enjoyed it when the characters were making up the rules of some battles as they happened with spoken dialogue. "And your also on fire." HA! This made me 'member of Calvin Ball and Bill Waterson. Thanks.
NEW SOUTH PARK GAME......POSSIBLY HOT TIPS FOR NEXT INSTALLMENT...
First, please do pretty much the exact same thing with the 2D adventure puzzle mode, except make it more difficult, more like the Legend of Kyrandia or original Resident Evil or Zelda, with the natural environments, and key finding, and graphical unlocks.
Aim to step up the puzzle game, like trying to find unlocking information from more things like Cartman's journal, where the relevant piece(s) are not made entirely obvious, or in some cases where finding which part of the background artwork the player is supposed to interact with in some way is not as obvious as it was made in TFbW. Maybe attempt some additional graphical geometric puzzles/minigames like Braid or SpaceChem. sh*t, it seems like a person could just use Tetris or Chess.
Tell the player the chess game is set to a 4th grade level, and then leave them to lose repeatedly to a grandmaster chess AI in order to progress through the game. Hilarious!
It is a very fine line between a satisfyingly difficult puzzle, and the stupid-ridiculous-how-in-the-f*ck-was-I-ever-supposed-to-figure-that-out response all lifelong gamers have experienced. In fact, due to differing mental capacities of people playing games, there will be complaints about this, always. I'd suggest, aim for it and plan on it. They can use their dumbphone to internet search the answers if the only thing they get from the puzzles is failure and frustration. I remember calling into to some charged hotline to find the red goddam flower in Kyrandia. $$$BUSINESS$$$ before the internet.
IGN and lowest-common-denominator company will complain, Ubisoft will be like "don't anger them it will cost us money," creators should be like f*ck'em they ain't the dungeon master...
Definately do the thing again where the game gives hints on a timer, before it finally calls the player "really smart" after giving them the obvious instruction to complete a puzzle. That was awesome.
Also I'd suggest a new combat system. Do it totally different, and aim for The Secret of Mana.
I am not sure why, but the combat gameplay in that game is still as or more satisfying than what gets done with the fanciest graphics and newest game design. Grandia II, so you could just try to duplicate it... except maintaining the separation between the a real-time combat mode and the adventure/puzzle mode. Please commence each combat encounter with LET'S FIGHTING LOVE.............. FIGHT
I'd then suggest an elevated level of complexity and difficulty in attack/abilities of enemies and players as compared to secret of Mana, as well as other increased difficulties such as real-time ability selection in combat.
Good luck balancing that. HA
The 2D adventure puzzle mode could also go with some platforming. Like hookshots and pits, if not otherwise aiming to duplicate some old goodies from Sunset Riders or original Contra or whatnot...
I also look forward to the next game continuing to be nothing like the Legend of Zelda, with the large amount of awesome voice-acted dialogue and cinema almost seamlessly integrated into exploring the game.
It could be funny, after the first two games are so totally true to the show, in this the third game, the studio could raise Game of Thrones and kill off like all the characters, in a hurry. Imagine, like 1 hour in, everyone's eyes have melted, and it's down to something like Randy, PC principle, Shelly, and Kenny, and here comes a cast of entirely new characters, many of which are not funny.
If it was a plague, say a Pink Eye Pandemic, the first mission would obviously be to acquire and distribute nightquil, sprite and chicken soup to people who are coming down with this serious illness. Except it won't work, the entire town is dying pretty quickly, save the very few who are resistant to the new strain of deadly Pink Eye. The Pink Eye Pandemic is going worldwide, killing 19 of every 20 infected, services break down. Lines of body bags, nobody at school. A few months later, people start getting shot for the last food items. Survival horror begins.
A worse-case contagion going Mad Max. The player tries not to starve or get shot for what they've found and made in a very Cormac Mccarthy setting, violent lawlessness. Then Judge Holden shows up, armed to the teethe with a gang. Judge Holden is a former SWAT law enforcement action-bastard gone local warlord who happened to rise to the top of the contest of deadly force in some nearby large city, and he's tasked himself with bringing surviving entities into the fold of The New Republic of Denver, which might as well be run by the Lord's Resistance Army. He'll also fiddle and dance and bounce a child on his knee before executing it, but in South Park-style animation instead of a Cormac McCarthy words. At the end of the Pink Eye Pandemic, after most of the game is made to feel about as funny as Half-Life and Contagion and Blood Meridian, after surviving the collapse of law and order, after triumphing over Judge Holden and his gang, after the player has solved the mystery of the virulent Pink eye (escaped biological weapon from Poland that was studying something Pfizer was doing?), after they've shepherded some survivors to Tegridy farms and protected them and left them to live on and prosoper in peace, the player will discover deep in the Colorado mountains, the power of the ultimate TIME-FART, which undoes the entire pandemic, making everything as it was and South Park whole again. So all of it's characters are alive and well, thus making everything consistent with the continuing South Park universe.
In any case, I look forward to the next installment.
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