South Park: The Fractured But Whole Preview – The Coon and Friends

South Park has a long history of irreverence, and its wholesale approach to laughing at modern day’s silliness has gathered it a large following over the years. It was no surprise, then, that when Obsidian made The Stick of Truth the game became an instant hit, capturing the style and atmosphere of the show and letting it take on classic fantasy and RPG tropes.

The sequel was long in the making, with multiple delays along the way, but it’s finally coming to us this month, under a different developer (Ubisoft San Francisco) and the same viciously funny direction from Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Let’s see what South Park: The Fractured but Whole brings with it.

We’re superheroes

Last time you emerged as the victor in the fantasy-themed LARP the South Park kids were destabilising the town with, but that’s literally, yesterday’s news. Nobody cares about it now. A new day has come, and now the superheroic cinematic universes are all the rage, get with the times, will you?

Cartman and the rest of the gang now want to replicate the overwhelming success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and play the same second fiddle DC movies unfortunately keep playing. They even have elaborate plans for the Netlix spin-offs and team-up movies. Everything’s planned out.

I, Superhero

As the New Guy (or gal – this time we can play as a girl, too) we will have to create our superhero persona, complete with a traumatic backstory Cartman will gladly create for us.

We’ll also have access to a total of twelve superhero archetypes, some of them available up front, others presumably unlockable along the way. What are these archetypes? We’re reportedly getting the following: Brutalist, Blaster, Speedster, Elementalist, Gadgeteer, Mystic, Cyborg, Psychic, Assassin, Commander, Netherborn, Karate Kid.

Each class will have its own specific powers, including a devastating and spectacular super, which, given South Park’s propensity for going over the top, may even come close to topping the absurd specials in Injustice 1 and 2.

Reworked combat system

The first game had a fairly straightforward combat system, very reminiscent of classic jRPGs. Ubisoft decided to add more tactical thinking to it, possibly to cash in a bit on the new popularity of tactics brought by Firaxis’ XCOM reboot.

As a result this time battle will take part on a square-based grid, somewhat similar to the one from The Banner Saga. And just like in Stoic Studios’ production, positioning is going to matter a lot, especially when you’ll be trying to line up your AoE abilities in an optimal way. One wonders if this change to combat system has any connection to Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle which launched not too long ago for Switch.

Either way, it’s nice to see the system expanded and deepened to enable more complex manoeuvres.

Closing statements

We’ve been waiting for a very long time, but it seems that the long and extended multiple time development is going to pay off. Riffing on the now-omnipresent superhero genre is a great idea, especially given the somewhat infantile feud between DC and Marvel fans. Combat has apparently more depth and variation to it, and the show’s masterminds stay at the helm of it all.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole launches on October 17 this year, leaving just a tiniest sliver of time to still get your preorder, and a Towelie companion to go with it.


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