I was a South Park virgin, and I hoped to stay that way.
I am not a fan of its crude humour, juvenile themes, and mockery of things I consider holy. Then The Fractured but Whole Nintendo Switch version came along, the gods of South Park appointed their victim, and I got stuck with the review for the long weekend. Little did I know that I was in for one of the biggest surprises in my 30 odd years of gaming.
My biggest surprise of 2018
I am everything a South Park fan is not, and against all the odds, I enjoyed the game. During the first few hours, it felt like a gang of enemies threw me with pee or something as I was grossed out all the time. The Fractured but Whole offended me at every turn, and after the lap dance scenario, I wanted to tell my boss that I refuse to continue playing the game.
Gradually, however, it started pulling me in, and before I knew it, I was charmed. There is so much to enjoy in The Fractured but Whole that it completely overshadows those offending moments.
The characters, the banter between them, the combat, the conversations, the silliness, the RPG elements, the buddy moves, the boss fights, the navigation – the cleverness of it all – is just so damn charming.
Talking about the boss fights, I found it exhilarating to beat those. I also have to point out that the game has a few surprisingly touching moments, like when you help the gay couple Super Craig and Wonder Tweek sort out their relationship issues. I also thought that the game highlighted the problems of being the new kid at school, and one with racial and gender problems pretty well.
Overall South Park The Fractured but Whole is a brilliant game, and it also has moments of pure hilarity, which is an exceptional combination.
The Switch is the real hero
At first, everything felt so completely foreign to me, and to say that after decades of gaming is in itself a tremendous achievement. The very first movement you make in the game as The New Kid is a bowel movement on a toilet. I just looked at the Switch, and for the life of me, I couldn't fathom what to do. Remember, I have never watched an episode of South Park or even a decent video clip of the games or TV series. You can imagine how the wires in my brain were going all bonkers. After a few excruciating minutes, I finally figured it out and was free of the toilet and my glorious pooping session.
The first gameplay mechanic that got me hooked on the game was the combat, and as you unlock more abilities, (later on you have a string of mains and a zillion abilities to choose from), the more fun these encounters became. Combat takes place on a grid, is turned based, and sometimes include environmental hazards. As you unlock things like the time fart, combat becomes even more of a thing as the Switch vibrates when you well,
The different buddy ally moments and solving puzzles with them remained a treat throughout the game, especially playing it on the Switch, I am so used to playing on PC, that everything with the Switch felt fresh and like something I discovered for the first time.
The key mapping on the Switch is so simple and easy to use, and it makes the whole game such a delight to play. Everything from combat to customization, crafting, movement, taking selfies, to accessing your character sheet or making changes to your abilities on the fly, it all feels intuitive and switching between the different game mechanics is a seamless experience on the Switch. The Fractured but Whole also looks stunning on the Switch, with character animations a joy to watch, map navigation a pleasure to use, and superb sound quality.
The Switch also offers different ways to play The Fractured but Whole; on your TV, or as a portable device that you can play anywhere and for as long or short as you want. I tested the docked TV option, and again, no issues whatsoever, it is a seamless and joyous experience. There was also no drop in visual quality or gameplay when you switch from the portable version to the docked version. Most of the time I had the Switch close by as I moved around the house so I could quickly jump into a gaming session between my chores. I also played for hours on end just relaxing on the bed with headphones while my partner was watching TV or reading.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole on the Nintendo Switch has to be the definitive version of the game. What can be better than South Park on console or PC?
South Park on the go.
This review was based on a review code of the game provided to us by Ubisoft.
Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch | Reviewed