South Park: The Stick Of Truth is Final Fantasy 7 with fart attacks. Yes, the fight scenes are dispersed with turd flinging and a machine gun-wielding Jesus. Nazi zombies, mutant rats and anal-probing aliens all conspire against you.
It's insane, irreverent and as close as you can get to immersing yourself in a 12-hour episode of South Park. But if you look further than the scatological, what stands out is the game's respect and affection for classic Role Playing Game convention.
The Stick of Truth begins with you as the new kid thrust into a town-wide live-action RPG played out by local kids who have clearly watched too much Lord of the Rings.
Your mission is to fight for the Grand High Wizard (Cartman) and his human forces against Kyle, Stan and their drow elf army in a battle for the stick, which controls time, space and the universe.
From there, things start getting familiar for RPG fans. Stick of Truth was born out of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker's shared love of role playing games growing up. It shows. Players have to first face the familiar task of picking a class: Fighter, Mage, Thief or, um, Jew (watch out for the 'circum-scythe' attack). The rules behind the gameplay are as old as Dungeons and Dragons.
Battles are run on a turn-based system you may remember from the classic Fantasy games, with players having to wait for an opponent to launch an attack before striking back. Cartman's in on the joke. When someone complains that having to wait your turn to attack is lame, he explains that's just how you play the game, douchebag.
Stick of Truth's mission to pay homage to classic RPGs doesn't stop it being true to its source material. In classic South Park style, the story unravels spectacularly from its small beginnings. Playground battles with drow elves don't take long morph into confrontations with Mongolian hordes and Nazi zombie babies.
Just about everything in the game seems designed to give you a laugh, from Cartman's never-ending stream of profanity, to the clever scenes peeling back the veneer of civility that masks the seedy underbelly of small town America.
Stone and Parker's desire to make the game feel like walking into an episode of South Park contributed to the continual delays in its production. They had to write and voice the entire game themselves. When it was finally came time for it to be released, censors objected to several of the game's scenes. Anal probe scenes were removed. A image of a swastika was edited out.
Despite the problems, the pair's dedication in the face of adversity was worth it. The Stick Of Truth is a serviceable RPG based on gameplay alone, but what distinguishes it is that it would also be a great season of South Park.
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC