South Park: The Fractured But Whole released last week as the second installment of the television show’s video game series (that is, if you don’t count the classic 1999 release of South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack), and for the most part, the title has been seen as an overall improvement over the first. Critics have left The Fractured But Whole with generally positive reviews, praising both its enhanced combat mechanics and goofy narrative that seems to replicate perfectly the charming, oftentimes vulgar nature of the show.
Of course, the game does have its issues. PC users have voiced some rather scathing commentary regarding the studio’s decision to include DRM, while others have criticized its unintuitive UI and complete lack of navigation tools. All in all however, South Park: The Fractured But Whole has seen a relatively positive reception – a fact that Ubisoft is more than willing to celebrate.
Players on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will now have access to a free, one hour-long trial of South Park: The Fractured But Whole. According to the game’s official website, this period does not limit the amount of accessible content (DLC excluded), and those who purchase the title after the trial will neither have to download the game again nor start the story over.
For those unfamiliar with the game: South Park: The Fractured But Whole is an RPG-within-an-RPG set in the show’s setting of South Park, Colorado. Players take on the role of “the New Kid,” a seemingly mute character of the player’s design that, in an effort to escape the toxic atmosphere set by his bickering parents, ventures out into the town. Little to his knowledge, however, is the fact that something sinister is brewing in South Park, and only by donning a superhero identity and joining up with the other children can the New Kid hope to save his new home.
As for gameplay, The Fractured But Whole offers a fairly enjoyable (if mildly shallow) traditional RPG experience. Players can loot the town of South Park for new costumes and equipment upgrades, or craft their own via the game’s crafting menu. Combat is a definite improvement over the first game in that the player is always joined by up to three friends, each of whom offers their own capabilities and skills. “The Human Kite,” for example, can heal and protect friendly players, while “The Coon” himself can attack and bleed enemies at close range.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC for $59.99. The trial, which unfortunately extends to only consoles, can be reached via the PS4 and Xbox stores, and as previously mentioned, only lasts an hour into the game. That’s probably long enough to create your own character and engage in a couple of the sillier quests, but only by purchasing the full title can players expect to uncover the true mystery behind the missing cat, Scrambles.