I’ve decided to review both The Stick of Truth and The Fractured But Whole as I have very similar thoughts on them. In these role-playing games, you play as The New Kid, who has moved to South Park with his family. He then goes on adventures within South Park that start as innocent games with the kids of the neighborhood but quickly become involved in the sort of wackiness you’d expect from the South Park franchise.
If I had to say one thing, it’s that your enjoyment of these games will be measured by how much you enjoy South Park. I happen to really enjoy the show so therefore I enjoy both these games.
The two games effortlessly capture the feel of the show. Although the visuals aren’t going to be taxing on any hardware, they perfectly replicate South Park, with The Fractured But Whole having a bit more visual flair. Additionally, both games feature the same voice actors and songs from the show, plus the over the top, satirical and highly offensive humor audiences have come to expect from South Park.
I find The Stick of Truth to be the funnier of the two. Part of that has to do with the fact that it’s referencing older episodes of South Park, which I am more familiar with. The Stick of Truth also has much more relentless pacing compared to The Fractured But Whole. Finally, I found some of the running gags in The Fractured But Whole became a bit repetitive for their own good.
The Fractured But Whole is the longer game, taking me 16 hours to complete compared to 7 hours it took me to beat The Stick of Truth (which was admittedly a fast playthrough that would have skipped a fair amount of sidequests.)
Both games have turned based combat, with The Stick of Truth having a Japanese RPG style whereas The Fractured But Whole has a turned based tactics system that plays out like a simplified version of X-COM or Jagged Alliance 2. This gives The Fractured But Whole a more in-depth combat system that really comes into play during boss fights, where the player must use different strategies to win. The Stick of Truth, on the other hand, is rather simple, where all the player has to do is spam their most powerful attacks to win. Then again, I’d argue some of The Fractured But Whole‘s balance is less than ideal, especially on the highest difficulty, which relies on reducing the player’s damage and increasing enemy’s damage output by ridiculous amounts.
In both games, you have to select between various classes. With The Stick of Truth, I feel this is rather pointless and I honestly never noticed the difference between any real differences between any of the three classes I’ve played.
Classes in The Fractured But Whole, however, plays a much more important role. Instead of choosing between one class, the player is given access to multiple skills from multiple classes as the game progresses. These skills also relate to different attributes, Brawn, Brains, and Spunk, which can be improved via artifacts and DNA strains, which replace weapons and armor from the previous game.
When not engaged in combat, the player will spend their time exploring the town of South Park. To search every part, one will have to use abilities that are unlocked as the game goes on. The Stick of Truth is more enjoyable in this aspect as the interactions are a lot quicker to perform. For some reason, the developers of The Fractured But Whole decided it’d be a great idea to bog down these interactions with an awkward interface and cutscenes.
Despite their flaws, I’d recommend both these games unless you despise South Park. I’d assume that’s a pretty small group of people considering both these games were published by Ubisoft.