I have adored South Park for years. During its early days of popularity, I wasn't allowed to watch it, but I admired the students whose Cartman t-shirts were banned from my middle school. (Many a young rebel was forced to turn his "I WANT CHEESY POOFS!" shirt inside out for the day.) in late high school/early college, I caught up on every episode of the series and watched it religiously for years.
When The Stick of Truth came out, I was delighted. The game was horrible in the best of ways: fart magic, abortion mini-games, an impossible version of Simon Says involving an alien probe... what wasn't to love? And when The Fractured But Whole, a new South Park RPG, became available for pre-order about a year ago, I pounced on it. I've been eagerly awaiting this game for months.
But then IGN released gameplay footage, and I had to back out. The new game is super gross—items I saw included "jizz" and a "soiled wet wipe." When you interact with a toilet, you have to let out a monster fart to end the interaction. And the gameplay sample took place in a strip club. None of this bothered me. Much to my boyfriend's embarrassment, I love fart jokes. I figured I was pretty much down for anything.
But then the lap dance mini-game happened. To get information about a missing cat, you have to infiltrate a local strip club and interrogate one of the dancers: a hilarious premise. But to get your information, you have to give lap dances to drunken adult men. You do get to fart in their faces while you do it... but honestly, I can't get past the child molestation aspect of this. A lap dance mini-game might be hilarious to me if my character were an adult, but South Park is a show where schoolchildren are front and center, and the "humor" went past funny and into "I'm embarrassed at the idea of playing this." Even worse, it felt like the scene would never end. No joke should drag on too long, but this is especially true when the joke is that little kids are giving lap dances at a strip club.
South Park is known for its gross humor and willingness to go unapologetically where very few others will go. I've always loved that about Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and I don't dispute their right to do and say whatever they want in their own game. But I need to reassess whether I really want to play The Fractured But Whole after more reviews and footage are out.
My name is Liz, and I play a lot of games. By day, I am a teacher. By night, I am an avid gamer.