This year has been…something. It’s been heavy and stressful and laden with worry. I’ve never “used” games as an escape, but this month I found myself wanting to play something illogical, particularly for me.
I got the mad urge to play South Park: The Fractured But Whole.
(That title still makes me amused and I’ve seen it dozens of times now. It’s so juvenile and silly. I love it.)
I hadn’t pre-ordered the game, but as soon as it released I felt like I had to play it. My partner, being the ever-generous person he is, picked it up for me on release day and brought it home as a “surprise” (he spilled the beans to me before he got home).
Now might be the time to explain that I’ve never seen an episode of South Park. Not one. It wasn’t that I hated the concept by any means, I just never happened to see one.
I find the fact that I was driven to play South Park hilarious. I Share Played it with a friend I regularly play with who has seen a lot of South Park. My partner sat next to me on the couch; he has also seen a lot of South Park. As I started the game (after creating my character from more options than I ever expected), I had both of them in stereo explaining what certain things meant or where they were from or that those toys were a callback to a particular episode. For me, it was all new. I have no nostalgia for South Park, but I do enjoy a healthy dose of toilet humor from time to time.
Which takes me to my first task in the game: a slightly intricate QTE where I was literally taking a poop. You level up in the game by pooping on various toilets.
That’s bonkers. I sort of love it.
What drew me to the experience was the sheer irreverent nature of the game. I wanted to play something ridiculous and silly and completely outside my wheelhouse. I love that I have no experience with the series (though I have a faint memory of seeing the South Park movie nearly two decades ago). I love that I am unfamiliar with the combat system. I love that the game is slightly overwhelming to a South Park newcomer like myself. I love that the game pushes the envelope on some crazy crap (seriously, no pun intended). I love that the word “fart” comes up (I have a strange fondness for seeing the word “fart” in print), and that my current ultimate is a massive fart attack.
Yes, I’m serious.
While there is no shortage (I honestly just typed “shartage” by accident; looks like the game is getting to me) of games to play, I find myself thinking about South Park and wanting to play it even more. I find myself thinking about my silly little character and exploring the town and such. Through my Ubisoft rewards, I unlocked an Assassin’s Creed outfit, so this is what my current character looks like:
I added those hot pink shades to complete the look. I love it.
If you look at the image below, you can see there are sharks coming out of the sidewalk. The sidewalk! LAND SHARKS! THIS IS THE GAME FOR ME!
If you’d told me earlier this year that I’d be having so much fun with a South Park game (or that the game would have actually come out this year), I would have said you’re nuts. Yet, here I am, enjoying the colorful silliness and biting social commentary. I can’t wait to get back to it and bop around town in my pink shades and Ezio duds.
Sometimes, I just have to step outside my comfort zone to see what’s out there. In this case, I’m terribly glad I did.
Have you ever played a game far outside your wheelhouse? If so, did you enjoy it? Did it cause you to experiment and try other games?
Also, what will you be playing this weekend? Any exciting autumn plans?
As for me, I will be fighting the terrible forces of South Park…with farts. Who says crop dusting doesn’t work?