The Stick of Truth: Enemies and Lore

Now, I said that The Stick of Truth puts you into a war against (kids pretending to be) elves, but elves are far from the only things you fight. You fight anyone who stands in your way, or who is the subject of a quest, including characters who aren’t even part of the LARP. For example, at one point, the only thing that stands in the way of sending a war party to recover the stolen Stick is that one of your teammates is in detention down at the school. In the course of rescuing him, you battle a number of hall monitors — and, blurring the lines between reality and make-believe further, you do it with exactly the same combat system as usual, magical abilities and all. You can even receive quests from people outside the fantasy scenario, like when the mayor asks you to help solve the town’s homeless problem by beating up homeless people. The inner game is fully integrated into what passes in South Park for reality.

But then, little kids doing magic fits right in, because the town of South Park is no stranger to the outlandish and bizarre. I have only a slight familiarity with the show’s lore, but I know that it’s seen such sights as Jesus and Satan, underpants gnomes, and talking poo. So when I find myself fighting alien abductors, or a herd of Nazi zombie cows, I assume that it’s just drawing more from the show.

I really like how these lore references are handled, by the way. This is an area where I felt the 1998 South Park FPS fared badly: it assumed that anyone who played the game was already familiar with everything from the show. But here in The Stick of Truth, part of the premise is that you’re a new kid in town. Your primary quest is to go and make friends, and that leads you into the LARP and thus into the rest of the game. Because the player character is a newcomer, the game has an excuse to treat the player as a newcomer as well. Even in the few cases where I do recognize something, the game’s brief introduction to it is at least an opportunity to crack a few jokes about it.

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