“South Park: The Fractured but Whole” is the sequel to the 2014’s “South Park: The Stick of Truth.” If you are a fan of the television show, then you already know what you’ve gotten yourself into: a crazy nonsensical comedic ride.
The Fractured but Whole adds on to its turn-based gameplay with the addition of tile-based movement in combat. This adds a slight complexity to the combat system that was lackluster in the original game. This is paired well with an extensive combat upgrade system; DNA strands are unlocked after leveling up and offer increased buffs and powers that you can change between multiple classes to a max of four powers. The amount of customization is satisfying to see, but the combat, for the most part, was simple and simplistic.
The story is not as humorous when compared to The Stick of Truth, players might not get 80 percent of the references, which are from earlier seasons of South Park. This game focuses more on jokes from the show that were not included in The Stick of Truth and shows little material left for them to work around. The Fractured but Whole was strongest when it leaned into show material, but the moments that were enjoyable were stretched too thin and often repetitive. I found that the story was mediocre and flavorless, except for a few saving references to key comedy from the show.
The most significant issue that I had was the animations, which were incredibly tedious and slow natured, especially in some of the more massive fights. When initiating a special move there is a 20-second animation, after a while this gets stale, and I found myself on my phone waiting for time to pass. In fights that have more than 10 characters taking their turns, it was a chore to watch the turns slowly make their way back to my main character. In the 15 hours I had with the game, I felt a decent third of my experience was just waiting around in frustration.
If you love South Park, I would highly recommend playing this game, there is definitely still fun to be had here. But under any circumstances besides that, I would not recommend The Fractured but Whole. It needed fine tuning with expediency in mind. For a show that produces new episodes every week, I expected more attention to what felt like filler and what didn’t. The Stick of Truth was great, and it’s disappointing that The Fractured but Whole did not keep up the momentum. I am looking forward to the next entry.