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South Park: The Fractured but Whole
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a mature role-playing game (RPG). While cartoon-like, the game is violent, bloody, and gory (including scenes of decapitation and dismemberment). It has many scenes with sexuality and nudity, including a controversial scene with Catholic priests who want to molest a South Park character and pull rosary beads out of their anuses. There's also a scene in a strip club where players perform a lap dance on other characters. The game features strong profanity and scenes of drug use (along with a mission tied to delivery of narcotics). Finally, there are comments made about movements like Black Lives Matter, along with some potentially offensive racial comments, including words like "nigga" and "coon" (though both aren't used derogatorily). In fact, the game lets you choose the difficulty for your character by sliding the color of your skin from white to darker to make life "harder" (like the TV show, there's social commentary mixed with satire here).
- Parents say
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What's it about?
SOUTH PARK: THE FRACTURED BUT WHOLE is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone -- the same duo behind the hit animated (and controversial) television series. This new game tells of rising crime in South Park, Colorado, so the town needs new heroes to come to the rescue. Eric Cartman takes advantage of the opportunity to create "the best superhero franchise ever" (also in the hopes of scoring a movie deal). As the South Park friends travel to multiple places and take on many quests, they'll engage in combat sequences against enemies in turn-based fashion on a gridlike battlefield. By choosing the right offensive and defensive moves, you could destroy evil and slowly unravel more of the story. This single-player game also features a revamped looting and crafting system, more options on upgrades and leveling up, hidden goodies, and hilarious (but oh so racy) situations the team find themselves in.
Is it any good?
If you enjoy turn-based role-playing games, love the South Park TV show or racy humor, you'll love this take on the characters exploring their town. While there might not be a lot of tact, there's a whole lot of tactics with the refined combat system. So if you don't mind your main character using flatulence to destroy enemies, you'll find a lot of solid gameplay here that can last more than 20 hours. While adventuring through South Park is a gas, and quite funny, it's the combat that will keep you glued to the TV or PC. You'll have a field of play during fights, with a limited number of squares to move across during each move. That forces you to choose the right member of your party (based on class and skill) and select when they should inflict damage, heal, or use a crafted item. Boss fights are funny (if not cringy at times, like an overweight stripper whose saggy breasts are falling out of her top).
You'll take on multiple missions and side quests, as well as explore indoor and outdoor areas, including ones that have environmental puzzles. You can look for collectibles, crafting items, and secret goodies, and you'll unlock and upgrade characters through a deep skill tree structure. There isn't much wrong with this game -- unless you think the multipurpose "flatulence" mechanic is a bit much -- but overall, it's an excellent turn-based RPG that's anything but politically correct.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about violence in video games. Is the violence acceptable in this game because it's clearly cartoonish, or does it push the envelope of acceptable violence, just like the TV show pushes the boundaries of acceptable broadcast content?
Talk about the concepts of satire and parody. Comedy often tackles hard subjects by making the audience laugh about things they normally wouldn't, but do you think this is effective? Are there certain subjects that should remain taboo?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: UbiSoft
- Release date: October 17, 2017
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Mature Humor, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.