Eyes on “South Park: The Stick of Truth” at Comic-Con 2012

So this is happening. For those of you living under a rock or not familiar with the South Park series on Comedy Central (if you’re really interested, you can see all the South Park episodes), but THQ and Obsidian Entertainment have been tasked with making a game around the beloved and controversial series.

I probably don’t have to tell you what South Park is, but suffice it to say that it’s a crude show about several small children that is hilarious and downright offensive, and that’s why we love it.

During E3, there was a giant poster on the side of the Los Angeles convention center to advertise the game, but no game. No demos. Not even any really awesome promo swag. Nothing. Color us disappointed. I mean, with a huge poster like this:

What a tease.

you would think they’d have more than just a trailer. But, no. Just a trailer shown by the creators. Granted, the trailer is pretty funny and interesting, but it doesn’t really show you much gameplay. It’s a teaser. We wanted more. At San Diego Comic Con, we got it.

There, in a small replica of the school that Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny attend, visitors were treated to a demonstration of the game’s capabilities and gameplay style.

What is this game actually about? I couldn’t for the life of me tell you, but it has something to do with the Stick of Truth being stolen from Cartman’s encampment. The entire town of South Park, or at least the kids, are embroiled in a vigorous and quite violent game of Live Action Role-Playing, or LARPing. LARPing is great, it’s “Dungeons and Dragons” but in real life with cardboard shields and paper-towel-tube swords. The Stick of Truth seems to be the prize they’re all gunning for.

As the new kid in town, you’re tasked by your parents with making some friends, and the loveable, and quite odd, Butters is the first one to approach you with an opportunity to join the game. I’m sorry, Butters the Merciful. He is a paladin, after all.

After meeting the Wizard King, who is obviously Cartman, you are taken on a tour of his domain where you can gaze at the Rock of Insanity or attempt to pop the blow-up Pool of Visions.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of “South Park.”

There’s even a moment where you can stand on an extremely unsafe looking tower to see the whole of South Park itself. For the first time, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have actually mapped out the layout of the entire town, which is yours to explore should you choose to. It’s a nice nod to die-hard fans.

Soon you get to choose your starting class and pick your name. Don’t worry too much about picking a cool name, though. No matter what you type in Cartman always just ends up calling you “Douchebag” or “New Kid.”

But the calm of initial player creation is shattered by elves attacking. And by elves, I mean kids with Vulcan (think Spock, from Star Trek) ears glued onto their heads. You’re thrust into action to protect the Stick of Truth. Combat is standard turn-based fare. Think “Final Fantasy,” or better yet think “Paper Mario,” since a perfectly timed block or attack will deal extra damage or keep you from taking damage all together. This keeps the player invested in the combat at all times, watching and waiting for the precise moment to strike or block.

Of course, there are common melee attacks, but magic attacks are present too. Then again, if you call Cartman lighting his farts on fire and shooting a column of flames at the enemy magic, then Webster’s needs to update their definition.

All in all, it looks surprisingly fun. The last time the gaming world was graced with a South Park game for a console was…the N64 and PlayStation, I think. I’m serious. I honestly can’t think of anything else ever being published except for that XBLA tower defense game. Naturally, the gaming press and public were wary. What could they possibly have made this time that wasn’t a racing game or throwing pee-coated snowballs at one-another?

“South Park: The Stick of Truth” looks to be a hilarious spin on an old style of game, lovingly crafted by Obsidian and THQ with the help of series creators Matt and Trey. Will it play smoothly? Probably, since it doesn’t look too graphically intensive and is a basic RPG-turn-based-fighting game. Will it be fun? It’s definitely funny, but we didn’t get to play it so I can’t speak to the gameplay. Keep an eye out for this game. We definitely will.

Fight for the Stick with magic farts.