When playing the Nintendo Switch version of South Park: The Fractured But Whole, I started to realize that this might be a game that is hard for me to get sick of. This is technically the third time that I’ve played this game since its original release back in 2017. And I can honestly say that the game felt better than I initially remembered when I had played it back on the PlayStation 4. Now, that isn’t really to say that the game is without flaws. It has its problems, but, I would say that they come mostly from the technical side of things. Regardless of any of the issues that it might have, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is still a fantastic follow-up to The Stick of Truth. I can honestly say that I was happy to be replaying this game on the Nintendo Switch. The game does have DLC now, but, I’ll get to talking about that in time. For now, I’ll be focusing on talking about the base game.
So for those who are unfamiliar with South Park: The Fractured But Whole, you play as an unnamed protagonist who is referred to as “New Kid” throughout the game. The game is a follow-up to South Park: The Stick of Truth, taking place shortly after. The game has the South Park kid’s playing as Coon and Friends, who are trying to find a missing cat named Scrambles, so that they can use the reward money to help fund their superhero franchise. If you are unfamiliar with the South Park series, this might seem ridiculous. I assure you, this game is very entertaining, but, I would say that you have to enjoy crude humor. It’s honestly like watching a long South Park episode. I absolutely adore this game with a passion, but, I am also a fan of the TV series so I guess that might put me in a bias spot.
Now, as for the game’ combat, it greatly differs from The Stick of Truth. It’s still an RPG, but, instead of the turn-based system that was in the previous game, it is set up to be more tactical. You have the ability of moving around a rectangular battlefield now. This allows you to line up various attacks, and creates a little bit of strategy. I feel that it’s also worth mentioning that different classes have different attacks. There is a lot of variety, but, I suppose it depends on how you want to build your character. As you progress through the game, you are able to choose from more than just your starter class. And after a certain point in the game, you’ll be given access to every class.
Much like The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole also has a Buddy System. Each buddy has their own different class, and you can use up to three members at once. This allows you to create a party with a little diversity. And, I’d say that it’s worth playing around with the other buddies just to see which combination feels right. Additionally, as you progress through the game, you will be able to access different Buddy Powers. These powers will allow you to access different parts of the town that are otherwise inaccessible initially; or they can even be used to help solve different puzzles. It doesn’t really matter if the Buddy is in your party or not, you are able to call on them to access their power at any time.
So being a role-playing game, there is obviously going to be equipment. In South Park: The Fractured But Whole, the strength of the gear, is by your character’s Might. Might can be strengthened by either finding; purchasing; or crafting better Artifacts. It’s also worth noting that the Artifacts include team bonuses as well. These bonuses are varied depending on the item, with several different team stats that can be increased. In addition to that there is also the DNA strand. Different DNA strands can be obtained throughout the game, and can be equipped to increase your character’s stats. It’s a good thing to keep yourself well equipped, since throughout the game the power of opposing enemies will increase as you progress.
In addition to being able to equip Artifacts, there is also a large range of cosmetics for your character. They don’t add anything beneficial towards stats, but, it is at least an option to make your character feel a bit more unique. You can change all of your character’s costume, and even change around things like your hair. And you can find new cosmetics throughout the game, just in case what’s offered at the start of the game isn’t quite enough.
So in terms of what the game offers, it’s technically an open-world RPG. Like The Stick of Truth, The Fractured But Whole has the town of South Park open for exploration. You can get around by walking around the town, but, as you travel around you are able to unlock Fast Travel points. This makes getting around a lot quicker. In terms of the available content, there is a decent amount of things to do in the game. Replacing the Facebook function from the previous game, there is now Coonstagram. Taking selfies with townsfolk will add them to your Coonstagram followers, which can be completed as you go. Some selfies may only be obtained if you have the correct class, or some people will only allow you to take selfies with them if you help them with something. There are also a large number of collectibles in the game, with the rewards being costumes and yet more selfies for Coonstagram followers. Outside of that there are also random challenges that can be completed. Completing these challenges will reward you with experience points; varied cosmetics; and crafting items. It depends on what you complete, with each challenge offering something different.
So getting to the more technical side of the game, since the Nintendo Switch version is a port. I would say that in some ways its positive – the game still looks good, retaining that South Park vibe. I do think that it looks a bit better in handheld mode, verse on a television, but, I’d say that it’s still fine. Everything looks and sounds great, like you’re watching South Park. The performances given by Trey Parker and Matt Stone are always really great, and make playing the game that much more fun. There are flaws, however, the Nintendo Switch version of The Fractured But Whole doesn’t run phenomenal in some areas. I noticed in a few of sections of the game that there was a lot of frame rate droppage. The game would slowdown, and just look like it was struggling to run. I also noticed that the game had incredibly long loading screens. I can’t say the exact length, but I would guess that it’s around a minute. And this happens with almost every other loading screen, including entering the battle sequence. I also noticed that the game crashed on several occasions. I’m not entirely sure what had caused the crashes, sometimes it would just happen when I was traveling to a different part of the town. It wasn’t completely terrible, there is an Auto-Save function, so any of the times that I did happen to experience the game crashing there wasn’t much progress lost. But, even if it didn’t hinder my progress, it was still pretty frustrating to see this happening.
So with all of that, what do I think about the Nintendo Switch port of South Park: The Fractured But Whole? Well – After putting in around 30 hours to complete just about everything that the game has to offer, I would go as far as to say that I think this might be my favorite role-playing game of the current console generation. But, like I said earlier, I could be a little bias here. I enjoy South Park a lot, it’s one of my favorite television shows, and being able to play an RPG based on that show is something I enjoy a lot. The game is fun, the combat is pretty satisfying, I love the writing, I love the way everything looks and feels. It’s just an awesome game. It’s just a shame that the technical side of this port isn’t perfect. It’s a little frustrating to me, because, I really did enjoy playing through the game’s story again. Even with its flaws, I feel that I can still recommend the Nintendo Switch version to anyone who doesn’t have access to another platform. It feels like a game that was created for fans of the show, which I can respect. I do feel that I have to address that this game may not be for everyone. The humor can be very over the top at times, and it may offend someone. I personally love the game, and I can appreciate that the Nintendo Switch port has given me a reason to play it again. So – yes, this is one I can say that I highly recommend. But, be wary of the technical problems.