We got the chance to see South Park: The Stick of Truth in action while at E3...and...well, on one hand I'm surprised with the content, but on the other, it makes complete and perfect sense, given the context of the show.
The Stick of Truth is a turn-based RPG, but that's not what it looked like at first blush. The main character (The New Kid) was walking around a disheveled South Park Elementary, interacting with the environment in a way that felt more like an action/puzzle title. Getting by obstacles, taking out enemies in front of him, using his personal Alien Anal Probe to teleport or underpants to shrink, it looked pretty standard. Oh, and he was using farts. Sidenote: the New Kid has amazing 'powers', which makes him desirable to the different factions in the LARPing war that was going on - these powers, fitting to a elementary school student, all revolve around farts. So, throwing farts to blow up nearby fires was a common occurrence here.
The turn-based combat soon came into play, and you could see what the game played like for combat. It looked a lot more dynamic than standard turn-based affairs, with button pressed required at certain times to do more damage, choose what kind of attack you want (while the attack is occurring), that sort of thing. The special abilities were also inventive, perfect for what kids would use: for example, the 'Cone of Frost' was a fire extinguisher, and I saw an electrical-based attack which was just dousing the enemy in water and tazing the ground.
We got a glimpse of character customization, all done through Facebook. It looked like a pretty unique interface, where friend requests were 'the source of your abilities', as the presenter said, and you could customize your appearance at any time in the game. There were a bevy of unorthodox items to equip, and this was demonstrated by throwing on lingerie, a corset, and cornrows to fight more battles.
At one point we went into a washroom, defecated into a urinal, and got a poop as a new item to use in combat.
The demo culminated with a choice - the entire time, we had been fighting on Cartman's side in order to win the Elves vs. Humans LARP that was going on and claim the Stick of Truth, but Kyle, the king of the elves, gave us an option to turn against him. How much this would affect in the future is a good question, but we decided to do it, and fought Cartman in a boss battle that I am going to remember for a very, very long time. As Cartman threw expletives, some racial, some anti-semitic, around the battle, we quickly dismantled his defenses and reduced his HP (at one point, using the poop we 'earned' earlier). And then he pulled out a lighter, and in a scene that on one hand is ridiculous, and on the other fits so well in this game, the final battle begun. He farted into it, our character farted back, and suddenly it was a QTE to fight back his burning fart with ours I can not believe I just typed this sentence.
Anyway, the battle concluded, but a twist in the tale came up as the Stick of Truth turned out to have been spirited away by a third party who was raising an army of the dead with biological waste. Which in my head sounds a little goofy, but then I remember what kinds of things actually happen on the show, and this is pretty tame in comparison, now that I think about it.
I'm not going to lie, I am looking forward to South Park: The Stick of Truth. It's ludicrous, it's offensive, it's the show exactly put into a video game. The writers of the series, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have had a very in-depth role in the game, and it shows. Not just that, but the graphical design is spot-on, looking like an episode come to life in every way. A current-gen game, it'll be released later this year on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.