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- South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Every town needs… a Coon.
Taking place four days after the end of South Park: The Stick of Truth, where your character is ultimately crowned as King of South Park's live-action fantasy role-playing game, South Park: The Fractured But Whole starts with the cast of kids resetting the world. You're no longer the king of anything and have been reduced to the role of The New Kid once more, named by Cartman as Douchebag (or Douche, for short).
Ubisoft more or less showed off the best parts of the game's E3 demo during its press conference, along with the couch interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone. But with some hands-on with this sequel at a private Ubisoft event, held just a day before E3, I gathered some more information about the combat system and the superhero role-playing game that The Coon and friends are, to comedic effect, taking much too seriously.
First off, your character from The Stick of Truth will not be able to carry over any of the progress you into this sequel (deal with it). Your character starts off wearing the king's crown from the previous game, but all of the kids conveniently forgets who you are and wonder why the hell you have a crown on your head in the first place.
The demo starts off with you trapped in Cartman's house, where you can investigate any cabinets and drawers with a yellow handle to gather all sorts of items (which you'll be familiar with if you've played the first game). Crappacino, anyone? You can try to head outside, but the kids have laid red bricks around the front stoop, the game's equivalent of "lava" that you can't cross. (Who knows, maybe you'll earn some anti-lava boots in the game.)
To progress, you need to gain access to the basement where The Coon and Friends are plotting against their once-buddies The Freedom Pals in a superhero civil war over how to get millions of money through superhero movies. By searching Cartman's room, you can find the three-word passcode to get to the basement, though I'm sure that you can possibly figure out what that is just by guessing.
Between these moments of exploration, you can just fart at everything and anyone at your leisure to hear their grossed-out reactions. In other instances, like trying to reach a treasure chest on top of a building, you'll need to call upon the aid of The Human Kite to fart his way onto the roof.
Once you have the opportunity to choose a superhero class for your character, with Cartman irritatingly filling your character sheet for your silent protagonist, the demo allowed me only to pick one: the Speedster. The description of the other two options, though, were available, with the Brutalist being your basic high-strength tank and the Blaster being the glass-cannon energy-projection caster. The Brutalist may seem to be boring, but the class comes with plenty of interesting placement tactics that can push enemies into certain spots. Later on in the game, you'll be able to pick two classes (possibly more) and create a powerful hybrid class instead.
As the E3 2016 trailer showed, the battle system is now placed on a small square grid. Both the team members on your team and the enemy team take turns based on a queue and can move on the grid before unleashing an attack. Placement is extremely important, as certain skills only work if an enemy is, say, two spaces away while some can only target enemies horizontally and not vertically on the grid.
High-powered finishing moves, that require you to use up part of your team's shared energy meter, tend to target every enemy in a particular area of effect. Pulling enemies into the right squares to pull off the Speedster's Multiverse Strike, which spoofs Kenshiro's signature North Star Hundred Crack Fist attack, is very satisfying. In this way, this superhero-charged game ironically plays out more like a Dungeons & Dragons session than The Stick of Truth.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole will shit out a release, in the most satisfyingly smooth way possible, on December 6, 2016 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.