Reviewed on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
I couldn’t resist the curious lure of playing as the Jew class over the archetypal Fighter, Thief, and Mage options, but the differences between them turned out to be disappointingly
slight. Sure, each has their own special abilities, but there are effectively no class-specific weapons or items, and there’s nothing to stop a Mage from choosing melee-enhancing gear and carving up foes with a blade just as well as a Fighter. All classes eventually learn special farting magic (a crude parody of Skyrim’s Dragon Shouts) though both the thumbstick motions and especially the tutorial sessions for your powers of flatulence tend to be cumbersome. Achievement or Trophy hunting aside, this lack of class differentiation or significant choices in the story are big reasons why I don’t feel much incentive to replay the campaign.
But that’s about the extent of the damage. Aesthetically, The Stick of Truth might be the most beautiful crappy-looking-on-purpose game I’ve ever seen. While it may seem trivial to make a role-playing game resemble the crude, construction-paper cutout style of the show, it’s executed so well here that the two mediums are almost indistinguishable. You’ll never see a HUD when walking around town, for instance, unless you tap the Y/Triangle button. Only the very rare stuck animation on an overworld enemy and (on both consoles, but not a capable PC) the occasional frame rate stutter when a new area loaded in for the first time reminded me that this was a game and not the show. And that was the extent of the technical problems I encountered.
A convenient fast-travel system eases post-exploration navigation, but various quests provide plenty of enticing reasons to comb the town throughout the adventure. Classic songs like “Taco-Flavored Kisses” and “Kyle’s Mom is a B****” are deployed with deft comedic subtlety on radios and in shops, and you absolutely must listen carefully for the particularly perfect use of Bigger, Longer, & Uncut’s “Blame Canada.”
The roughly 14 hours of absurdity and satire feels just right, from beginning to end. That being said, despite featuring over 100 characters and countless references, I wanted more. Towelie only ever shows up in a loading screen. Ditto the Talking Taco That Craps Ice Cream. The always-hilarious Christmas Critters have a criminally short cameo that is literally off-the-beaten-path. And while I’m being picky, I was also hoping for some sort of interactive or customized version of the show’s opening-credits Primus song that never came (though, laudably, any time you load up your save file, the instantly recognizable back-from-commercial-break guitar riff plays).
- +Feels just like the show
- +Light but fun RPG systems
- +Legitimately funny
- +Canada. Just...Canada
- –Classes too similar