Game Analysis: South Park: The Stick of Truth

Funny South Park XP wallpaper.
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  • I chose South Park: The Stick of Truth for this analysis. I chose this game because It’s one of the best games that I’ve played in a while, as one of the more unique games that I’ve played recently.

Game Play Analysis

Formal Elements_______________________________________
Name of the gameSouth Park: The Stick of Truth
The platformI played the game on PC, but I believe it’s also available on Xbox and Playstation
Time played (should be at least 30 minutes)12 hours
If you could work on this game (change it), what would you change and why?Make the tutorial a little more in-depth. There were really important things that I learned about the game halfway through playing it
How many players are supported?1
Does it need to be an exact number?Yes
How does this affect play?It’s the only option that makes sense for this game
Some types of player frameworks:Single Player – like Solitare.Head-to-head – 1 vs. 1, Chess.PvE – Player vs. Environment, or multiple players vs. the game. Common in MMOs like World of Warcraft.One against Many – Single-player vs. multiple (obvy).Free-for-all – Every man for himself (1 vs. 1 vs. 1 vs. 1..). Most common for multiplayer games, from Monopoly to Modern Warfare.Individuals Against the System – Like Blackjack, where the Dealer is playing against multiple players, but those players have no effect on each other.Team Competition – Multiple vs. multiple, i.e. sports.Predator-prey – Players form a circle and everyone’s goal is to attack the player on their left and defend themselves from the player on their right.Five-pointed Star – Eliminate both players who are not on either side of you.Single Player PvE
What are the players trying to do?The goal of the main storyline is to get the Stick of Truth for your faction, and stop the government from nuking South Park.
Some common objectives include:Capture/Destroy – Eliminate all your opponents pieces (Chess).Territorial Acquisition – Control as much territory as you can, not necessarily harming other players (RISK).Collection – Collect a certain number of objects throughout the game (Pokemon).Solve – Solve a puzzle or crime (Clue).Chase/race/escape – Anything where you are running towards or away from something (playground game Tag).Spatial Alignment – Anything involving the positioning of elements (Tetris or Tic-Tac-Toe or that game at Cracker Barrel).Build – Advance your characters or build your resources to a certain point (The Sims).Negation of another goal – The game ends if you perform an act that is forbidden by the rules (Jenga or Twister).
There are three categories of (what the book Rules of Play calls) operational rules:Setup – the things you do at the beginning of a game.Progression of Play – what happens during the game.Resolution – How an outcome is determined based on the game state.
What controls are used?M+KB for PC
Was there a clear introductory tutorial?Yes (but it’s too quick and basic)
Were they easy to understand or did you find yourself spamming the controller?The general gameplay is pretty easy to understand
Resources & Resource ManagementNOTES
What kinds of resources do players control?The player character has certain gear and weapons that effect gameplay. You can also use class specific abilities, “Magic” (special kinds of farts), consumables that effect your stats in combat, and a companion that you fight with that has fixed gear and abilities.
How are they maintained during play?In combat you maintain your resources by using consumables, and using other moves directed to keep you fighting. You maintain your consumables and get new gear, money, abilities and items by looting defeated enemies and things in the environment.
What is their role?The progression of the different resources you control makes your character more powerful, in order to fight more difficult enemies as the game progresses.
A resource is everything under the control of a single player. Could be the money in Monopoly or health in WoW. Other examples are:Territory in RISK The number of questions remaining in 20 Questions Objects picked up during videogames (guns, health packs, etc.)Time (game time, real-time, or both)Known information (like suspects in Clue)
Game StateNOTES
How much information in the game state is visible to the player?All of the information about the player themselves is relevant to them. Some information about the enemies is restricted, like the moves they can use and their effects, but most of the non-player information is available.
A snapshot of the game at a single point is the game state. The resources you have, the un-owned properties in Monopoly, your opponent’s Archery skill all count towards the game state. Some example information structures are:Total Information – Nothing is hidden, like Chess.Info per player – Your hand of cards is only visible to you.One player has privileged info – Like a Dungeon Master.The game hides info from all players – Like Clue, where no one knows the victory condition.Fog of War – In video games, where certain sections of the map are concealed if you do not have a unit in sight range of that area. You also cannot see other players’ screens, so each player is unaware of the other’s information.
In what order do players take their actions?combat is turn based, with each side having a turn, an then everyone on the other side having a turn. Before entering combat, the player can stun some enemy AI with their ranged weapon, and if you hit the enemy first before entering combat, you get the first turn.
How does play flow from one action to another?The player uses their actions until they run out, then they defend from enemy attacks, and the cycle continues until you win or lose.
Some structures include:Turn-based – Standard board game technique.Turn-based with simultaneous play – where everyone takes their turn at the same time (like writing something down or putting a card down in War).Real-time – Actions happen as fast as players can make them. Action-based video games.Turn-based and time limits – You have this long to take your turn.Turn-based
Player Interaction
Some examples:Direct Conflict – I attack you.Negotiation – If you support me here, I’ll help you there.Trading – I’ll give you this for that.Information Sharing – If you go there, I’m warning you, a trap will go off.Direct Conflict for the most part
Theme & NarrativeNOTES
Does it have an actual story structure?Yes
Is it based on a historical event (or similar)?Some side quests are based off of, or continuations of things from episodes, but it’s mostly a standalone story
Does the theme or narrative help you know how to play?Not much with combat, but it does help you progress through the game
Does it have emotional impacts?The game is meant to be comedic
Also, look for en media res (does it start in the middle of the game)?No
The Elements in MotionNOTES
How do the different elements interact?The player progresses through the story in an open world, having it available whenever they decide. When you get to certain points some things happen that you can’t control, and you have to play through them. When you meet enemies in the open world, you switch to the combat screen once they hit you or you hit them.
What is the gameplay like?The heart of the gameplay is the story. The game feels like an interactive episode of South Park, and the developers did a really good job with it,
Is it effective?Yes. The fact that it’s a game feels like a bonus, because it does all of the great things that the show does with jokes and storytelling that the show does, while creating fairly simplistic and enjoyable combat and interaction.
Are there any points where the design choices break down?No
Design CritiqueNOTES
Why did the designer make these particular choices?To make the game that any South Park fan will enjoy playing.
Why this set of resources?Every resource in the game is something that exists in the South Park show, or that would exist in it
What if they made different decisions?I can’t picture the game with different decisions being made
Does the design break down at any point?No
Graphics & SoundNOTES
Does the game art pair well with the mechanics?Yes. The art style is the same used in the show, and the game is made in perfect parallel to the show.
Did you find any bugs or glitches?None in my playthrough.
What about sound?Again, same as the show. It would have felt wrong if it was different
Can you spot any technical shortcuts?I didn’t spot any
Various Stages of the GameNOTES
To wrap up, some things to keep in mind (as if there aren’t enough already) as you play:
What challenges do you face, and how do you overcome them?
Is the game fair?Yes. The difficulty is fairly low, but high enough that there are some parts you’ll have to replay multiple times.
Is it replayable? Are there multiple paths to victory or optional rules that can change the experience?Yes, but there are only enough story paths to make a second playthrough interesting
What is the intended audience?South Park viewers
What is the core, the one thing you do over and over, and is it fun?The story, and it’s a very fun story

This analysis form was adapted from



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