Game Review: 'South Park: The Fractured But Whole'

Game Review: 'South Park: The Fractured But Whole'

I went on down to South Park, and I had myself one hell of a time.

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Story

"South Park: The Fractured But Whole" literally takes place the day after the previous game, "The Stick of Truth." Back in "The Stick of Truth", the player, aka Douchebag, becomes one of the most highly regarded kids in all of South Park. The kids are introduced playing stick of truth, which serves as a decent combat tutorial leaving out some gaming mechanics to be introduced later in the game. Cartman interrupts the game dressed as The Coon to convince the kids to start playing superheroes to gain a $100 reward for a missing cat to kickstart a Coon and Friends Netflix series and beat the Freedom Pals led by Mysterion (Kenny). With the thought of beating Freedom Pals, the kids quit stick of truth to play superheroes, causing the new kid to lose his popularity status. With the new kid following behind, Cartman lets them play superheroes and gives the new kid a choice of three classes: Speedster, Brutalist, and Blaster. With a class and a costume, the new kid is now an official Coon and Friends member, and so their journey for the Netflix series begins.

Gameplay

The game has drastically changed the combat system from "The Stick of Truth." "The Fractured But Whole" combat system takes the form of a grid system with players being able to move around the grid. Players still take turns attacking, keeping the turn-based RPG style of the previous game. When getting attacked, players can do a quick time event to reduce damage and fill up their ultimate meter. Summons makes a return to the game, and adjustments are clearly seen. Instead of summons being a one-time use and forever gone, in "Fractured but Whole" you get five to use once in combat with each summons you discover. Some summons can be crafted or found in the open world but are rare.

As you progress through the game, the new kid gains new... farting abilities, which can turn the tide of combat.

The introduction of the crafting is a nice touch to the series. However, most times it just became unnecessary. You'll have enough of the basic ingredients you'll need to craft whatever healing items you like most of the time, but I didn't find myself using health potions as often as I thought. I sadly learned it's best to spread out and try to balance the different characters on your four-man team. Doesn't do your squad any good with three brutalists going up against a bunch of ranged enemies.

Fast travel has made its return to the game as well. Instead of Timmy taking you around town, it's Fastpass, aka Jimmy, dashing you around. The problem with this system is that most of your objectives are all far away from the fast travel stations, and they only occupy one section of the map, so get ready for a lot of walking.

The puzzles in this game are more abundant than the last and require a lot of backtracking to complete, especially when you have to get a certain buddy to help you complete them. It would be less annoying if they weren't so repetitive. In the end game, I'm disappointed that there is not much to do. Sure you can go find all the collectibles and re-fight enemies you meet on the street, but other than that, the game feels empty. I mean sure you can pay for DLC, but other than that there is not much left to do

Graphics and sound

It looks and feels like you're actually watching the show. It looks and feels like you're in the show! In shops, you get to hear songs played in the show, and in combat, you get some adrenaline-pumping music, especially at the peppermint hippo. ;)

Verdict

If you loved The Stick of Truth and you're a huge South Park fan, then "The Fractured But Whole" is the game for you. For those new to the South Park series, I recommend playing The Stick of Truth first to test your limits, 'cause South Park is not afraid to push them, especially in this game. I mean what would you expect... it's South Park. With that in mind, go ahead. Have yourself a time down in South Park.

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My Definitive Ranking Of Animal Crossing Games

I know what you're thinking, and no, they're all not the same game.
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The Animal Crossing franchise has been around since 2002 and has four main games in its collection: Animal Crossing (Gamecube), Animal Crossing: Wild Word (Nintendo DS), Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) and Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo 3DS). Each game expands and improves upon the last one, while keeping the same simple game plot in mind -- you move into a new town and must take care of it and its villagers.

That being said, not every game is perfect. Here is my definitive ranking of Animal Crossing games, from best to worst.


1. Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo DS)

In my personal opinion, this is the best Animal Crossing game of the bunch. They added lots of little features, while keeping the point of the game simple. In this game you could create your own constellations, open a coffee shop in your museum and even plant money trees -- all perks the Gamecube game did not have. Also, this game was the first in the franchise to allow for online play. You could now visit other people's towns, to explore and play together. I also think the unique design of the Nintendo DS helped make this game great. You could write letters or create patterns with the stylus on the touch screen, you see both screens simultaneously while playing, which allowed for easier game play then the Gamecube version. This game, to me, really defined Animal Crossing.

2. Animal Crossing (Gamecube)

It's hard to beat the original. This is Animal Crossing, in its most basic, true form. You have a mortgage to pay, a town to take care of and villagers to attend to. There are certain features in this game that I loved and wished they wouldn't have dropped when moving forward in the franchise. One of my personal favorites is the statue Tom Nook would construct if you paid off your mortgage in full - it was gold, shiny, right in front of the train station and absolutely ridiculous. Another feature, while not exactly honest gameplay, was another great one - the cheat codes you could find online. If you told Tom Nook a certain combination of letters and numbers, he would give you all sorts of goodies -- 30,000 bells, rare items, furniture. It was a nice little perk to have.

3. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo 3DS)

This game is arguably the one with the most changes and new features. This game took the usual Animal Crossing plot line and flipped it on its head: Tortimer, the mayor of your town, has decided to retire and named you his replacement. As mayor, you have so much you can do to your town: create new town projects, set new town ordinances, kick villagers out. Plus, a new island is introduced. You take a boat to it and have a direct line to rare fish, bugs and fruit. On top of all that, Nintendo just introduced a new update recently utilizing their amiibos in gameplay. All in all, this game is a lot of fun because it gives you so much to do. It can get overwhelming at times since there is so much you want to accomplish as mayor, but it's most always an enjoyable experience.

4. Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii)

This game, to me, is the one I enjoyed the least. The game is pretty straight forward, like all other Animal Crossing games, but this particular one hyped up a city where you can shop from special stores or see shows. To be quite honest, the city never really impressed me. It was cool, but nothing that deserved all the hype it got. I also thought the controls for this game were a bit awkward -- you used both a Wii remote and a nunchuck, holding one in each hand. The nunchuck would control your movements and you would interact with tools, buildings or villagers with the Wii remote. It was something I could never get used to. This game wasn't bad, it just didn't live up to the other games in this family for me personally.

Cover Image Credit: Animal Crossing

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It's Time For You To Buy A Nintendo Switch

It's time to switch it up and buy a Nintendo Switch! Disregard the awful pun and check out my article about why I went with the Switch and why you ultimately should too.

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In the fall of 2018, my first semester of Junior year was taking off with a bang. My grades were looking good, I had just turned 21. Things were looking pretty good. But I felt like I was missing something and I couldn't quite figure out what it was. I felt like I had a mini-sized hole in my heart. I couldn't identify the cause, but I felt a sense of longing. One day I was sitting in class next to one of my buddies and I notice this girl two rows in front, who had this mysterious tablet looking the thing in her hands. It wasn't a conventional tablet for note-taking, it looked as though it served an entirely different purpose altogether. I nudged my friend and asked him what it was and he whispered back "that's a Switch." A what? "A Nintendo Switch." I was perplexed, to say the least. A portable Nintendo system that is a fraction the size of a Wii U? Get real. When I found myself back at my apartment later that day, reduced to my boxers (signaling a successful day), I pulled out my laptop and decide to do a thorough investigation into this Switch device. I hadn't necessarily been a fan of Nintendo since the original Wii days so I admit I was skeptical.

I did my systematic research which involves Youtube, Reddit forums, and Amazon reviews, in that exact order. I watched a few gameplay videos, specifically Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and was immediately intrigued. I was not expecting the graphics and frame rate of the console to be so smooth. After about 30 minutes of sleuthing, I was sold. Now I had to figure out how I would acquire a device with such a hefty price tag, especially since my parents would laugh in my face if I even hinted the question. So, I did what any no-income student would do. I went to my friend Aaron and easily convinced him to go in on the console with me, half-half. Before the words "Nintendo Switch" had even left my mouth, he had agreed to go in on it with me. After about two or three weeks of paid participation in economics experiments at my college, I was ready to do the deed. On my way back from my Public Relations writing class I excitedly went to the technology department of the student union and did the unthinkable.

I figure that I've done enough trivial rambling about how and why I bought the Nintendo Switch so now I'll explain why it's amazing and ultimately worth the purchase. I will also discuss a few cons to keep in mind when deciding for yourself. What really did me in with this device is the portability of the system. The quality of gameplay, as well as comfort, do not seem to suffer when playing on-the-go. In fact, I'm almost led to believe that the graphics and frame rate are better when condensed to a slightly smaller screen. To all of the video game laymen out there, the Nintendo Switch is essentially a smaller Wii/ Wii U with exceptionally better graphics, gameplay, and a beautiful on-the-go option. One of the best selling factors for this console is the exclusive Nintendo game titles.

You won't be able to find a handful of the Nintendo classics anywhere else but on the Switch. These titles include Super Smash Bros: Ultimate, Super Mario Tennis, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and many more. Disclaimer: Legend of Zelda: BotW is not for the weak minded gamer. I was in for an utter and absolute rude awakening when I bought this game. I expected it to be somewhat similar to Skyrim but had no idea that the puzzles and missions in this game would be so complex and time-consuming. I admit, with hesitation, that Aaron and I collectively logged more than 50 hours of gameplay into this single game. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "These guys are studs."

Looking forward there are a good number of highly anticipated titles such as Pokemon: Sword and Shield and Luigi's Mansion 3. Luigi's Mansion 3 hasn't been given its official title yet, but both games are expected sometime in late 2019. Aside from game titles, the switch excels in many areas, but multiplayer might its most successful attribute. The smaller, yet comfortably designed controllers allow for anywhere from 4 to 8 players to join in. The multi-player is also unbelievably fun. I think Nintendo games, more so than others, are specifically designed for the multiplayer experience. It's both rewarding and thrilling. It was rare for my apartment to not be utilized as a local hub for Nintendo Switch access.

Now to discuss some qualities of the Nintendo Switch that might cause some players to shy away from this purchase. I think the biggest limiting factor of the Switch is the number of titles available. While the Switch has a handle full of big-name titles, there aren't very many multi-platform titles or indie games available, making the Switch feel like a relatively new console even 2 years after release. After buying the top 10 or 11 Nintendo titles for Switch I felt as though there weren't that many games left to choose from. Luckily there are new titles being announced almost every month, but that still may induce hesitation in a possible buyer.

The second limiting factor is the fact that Netflix and Amazon Prime video are not available on the console. It was definitely a big slap in the face when I found out about this. I suppose Nintendo has an exclusive deal with Hulu and hasn't agreed on terms with other streaming services just yet. Obviously, these are just applications, and it is very possible that they will be introduced to the Switch very soon. Keeping my fingers crossed. The only other possible downfall I could think of relative to the Switch is its steep price. But I honestly believe that you get what you pay for in this scenario.

I couldn't be more happy with my Switch after owning the system for nearly a year. If someone demanded that I rate it out of 10 I would confidently give it a 9. If you're at a crossroads right now I hope that I was able to shed a little light on the Nintendo Switch, possibly encouraging the right decision of purchasing it.

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