Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I don’t watch South Park anymore. I bought the first few ‘volumes’ on VHS back in my teenage years but I fell out of the habit of watching shortly after seeing the film at the cinema. It’s not that I have anything against the show – I don’t even keep up with the controversies or conversation around it so I have no idea if it’s still to my taste – I just haven’t made time for it in my life for a long time.
Obsidian’s game, though? I made time for that and I’m glad I did.
It’s a South Park game, with the creators directly responsible for much of the writing, more than it’s an Obsidian game. But, damn, it was good to see one of my favourite studios making something that not only seemed confident as an adaptation but that seemed like it must have been extremely enjoyable to create.
The Stick of Truth isn’t just a very funny game, it’s an extremely well-pitched idea for a game. What better way to adapt South Park into an RPG than by having the town itself become a hub of live action roleplaying. I love that enemies defeated in battle sometimes throw down their weapons and complain that they don’t want to play anymore, and that Butters actually apologises if he pulls off a perfect strike with his hammer, worried that he might have actually turned playfighting into real fighting.
I’m certainly not the only person who reckons the combination of Alpha Protocol plus a successful cartoon adaptation makes Obsidian the perfect studio for that Archer game we all so richly deserve, but the brilliance of The Stick of Truth isn’t just that it nails the visuals and the humour of the source material, it’s that it creates a fitting story for those characters and that world that also suit the kind of game Obsidian made. A similar treatment wouldn’t necessarily work for Archer. But, god, I’d love to see what they’d come up with.