South Park: The Stick of Truth

Common Sense Media says

Audacious, satirical RPG with mature themes to the extreme.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game, like the South Park TV show, occasionally uses its crude humor to explore cultural hypocrisies, racial stereotypes, and societal issues -- including, fittingly, kids' love of fantasy role-playing. However, the satire and parody is filled with adult language, subjects, and themes. None of the messages here are intended or appropriate for kids. 

Positive role models

None of the children or adults depicted is a proper behavioral model for kids. They fight with each other, use racial and sexual epithets, behave greedily, and generally get up to no good.    

Ease of play

This is an old-school turn-based RPG geared for an audience of experienced adult gamers, and combat is appropriately challenging. However, unintuitive controls and poorly designed menus make things harder than they ought to be. Exploration, keeping tabs on quests and character developments, and upgrading the game's hero often are more frustrating than fun. 

Violence

Combat involves turn-based melee attacks. Characters -- kids pretending they're heroes in a fantasy game -- whack each other with a wide range of weapons, including swords, hammers, beer bottles, and sex toys. Magic spells are graphically less violent but take the form of powerful, explosive farts. Combatants' faces appear red and bruised, and blood occasionally spatters the environment (when Kenny dies he's torn apart and dragged off by rats). Players can kill small animals including birds, cats, rats, and dogs without consequence and are sometimes sent on missions to attack civilians around town, including homeless people. Adults attack the kids with guns, knives, and special moves such as curb stomps and gut punches.

Sex

Several sequences show full male and female nudity. Characters are depicted masturbating, having sex, and even engaging in bestiality. Some receive anal probes from aliens. Moaning sounds often accompany these acts. Sex toys such as vibrators can be found lying around environments (a quest actually requires players to retrieve a vibrator for a male sex slave). Some weapons and attacks involve sexual equipment, such as a rubber penis and a staff adorned with brass breasts. An izmel knife is used as part of a special attack in which enemies are circumcised. "Pubes" found lying around the world can be collected and added to the player's inventory. A mini-game requires players to tap a button as quickly as possible to make the player's character poop while sitting on a toilet. 

Language

Spoken dialogue is filled with profanity. Strong language includes "bitch," "a--hole," "damn," "goddammit," "fag," "s--t," "f--k," and "motherf--ker."

Consumerism

This game is based on the popular and long-running South Park television show, which has spawned several other games, a variety of toys, and a film.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Illicit drug gear appears in some areas, including a ramshackle meth lab where players find syringes and drug ingredients lying around on the floor and tables. One of the game's settings is a bar. Beer and liquor bottles are lying all around town and in the sewer. A handful of characters appears under the influence of one substance or another, including a strange sentient piece of fecal matter presented as a housewife with a serious drinking problem. 

Privacy & safety

No privacy or safety concerns.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that South Park: The Stick of Truth is absolutely not for kids, despite its cartoonish aesthetic and cast of kid characters. Like the TV show that inspired it, it's filled with very mature humor. Jokes often include extreme profanity and explicit sexuality and represent a form of cultural, religious, and racial satire that kids are likely to misinterpret. The South Park children frequently fight, leaving each other bloody and bruised, and generally spend their time getting up to mischief, from vandalism to attacking small animals. Most of the grown-up characters are deeply flawed and irresponsible as well. They ask the kids to fight a gang of Mongolians, have a beer with them, and "deal" with the town's homeless problem. Meaningful and interesting ideas about issues such as commercialism, peer pressure, individuality, and religion are occasionally communicated amid the poop jokes, foul language, and questionable quests, but they're best received by a savvy, mature audience capable of sorting it all out. 

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Based on the long-running Comedy Central animated show, SOUTH PARK: THE STICK OF TRUTH is a role-playing game packed with crude and satirical jokes. The script -- written and performed by show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker -- tells the story of a new kid in town who begins the game looking to make some friends. He stumbles upon Cartman and his pals playing a fantasy role-playing game around the neighborhood and is drafted into Cartman's army of heroes, where he must decide whether he wants to take on the role of a fighter, mage, thief, or Jew. Then he begins adventuring around town, where he makes friends by adding them to his Facebook account, gets into turn-based fights against other kids using weapons ranging from a police baton to an izmel knife, and completes a wide array of quests that range from escaping from a ship full of aliens intent on giving him an anal probe to helping Al Gore track down and slay the ManBearPig.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Like the TV show, South Park: The Stick of Truth is definitely not for kids. And its sense of humor -- more edgy and boundary-pushing than ever, thanks to a lack of network censorship -- won't be to all tastes. That said, grown-ups attuned to South Park's unusual brand of comedy will find a season's worth of politically incorrect satirical jokes scattered through the game. Its animation and dialogue are so similar to what's seen on TV that the game is essentially an interactive version of the show.

Sadly, though, the role-playing isn't quite a match for the presentation. Turn-based combat is sloppy and unforgiving, and navigating the two-dimensional town can be frustrating. Making matters worse, the controls are hard to figure out -- especially when it comes to solving puzzles outside of combat -- and likely will leave many players stumped in some areas. None of these issues will be deal breakers for die-hard South Park fans, who'll likely keep moving along just for the laugh-out-loud jokes. But players hoping for a great gaming experience equal to the comedy are bound to be disappointed.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concepts of satire and parody. Comedy often tackles hard subjects by making the audience laugh about things they normally wouldn't. Do you think this is effective? Are there certain subjects that should remain taboo?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:UbiSoft
Release date:March 4, 2014
Genre:Role Playing
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Violence (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of South Park: The Stick of Truth was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of an infant, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 year old Written bymykidsarebabies April 14, 2015
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

NO AGE

SHUT PARK SUCKS BAD
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byKhuzy December 25, 2014
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Not a kid's game

Hi I am 14 and I love this game and I think it is wonderful. But it isn't age appropriate. I mean if i had children I'd let them play Call Of duty or Halo or even Dead Rising but not this game. Especially if they haven't had the "talk" I mean the day your kid comes running to you and asks what a condom is you can blame this game. It has plenty of nudity and the violence can be mildy bloody at times. But for a immature 10 - 12 year old it can freak them out. And even when you do have the option to skip the sex scenes,whilst your playing the character are going to constantly be saying iffy stuff. I remember one part where cartman is fighting and said "go choke on condoms you faggot" and that kind of language is going to be constant. So no this is more then your average fighting game, sorry to all the kids reading this but no you shouldn't play this, there are plenty of other games you can play which are more fun than this.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Adult Written byripredrum November 28, 2014
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Good, but inappropriate!

It's a great game, funny, relatable, somewhat easy, with just enough challenge! However, with alien rape scenes, abortion scenes, sex toys,climbing inside a man's anus to find a variety of things, and general things I wouldn't want to see, it is extremely inappropriate!
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much sex

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