Games: Ouch! South Park sequel another slice of scatological superhero shenanigans
South Park: The Fractured But Whole (PS4)
WHAT a title (go on – say it out loud)! Given it's been raising a crudely animated middle finger to culture for 20 years, South Park has seen its fair share of gaming tie-ins, but it was 2014's Stick of Truth that truly nailed the show's anarchic spirit.
Built from the ground up under the bead of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, it was the closest fans would come to controlling an actual episode. Playing out like Paper Mario with Tourette's, the turn-based gameplay came courtesy of RPG artisans Obsidian as Stan, Kyle and the gang duked it out amid a flurry of filth.
For the sequel, Matt and Trey still refuse to play nice, taking on scripting and voicing duties in another sick puppy of a game. With Lord of the Rings mania so noughties, the gang have replaced their Tolkien schtick with superheroes as Cartman hopes to kick-start a ridiculously convoluted crossover movie franchise.
Players assume control of the new kid in town, soon to become Sir Douchebag in a series of turn-based brawls involving such wonderful crusaders as The Coon, Captain Diabetes, Fast Pass, The Human Kite, Tupperware and Wonder Tweek.
Users can now control up to four heroes, with each getting a turn to position themselves and attack while environmental hazards, reinforcements, status effects and ultimate moves make this a far more involving prospect than the original.
Gameplay also changes over a night and day cycle, with quests and selfie opportunities while the sun shines and longer missions and boss battles under cover of darkness.
Bulking out the sparse original, South Park is now fizzing with interactive life, and over the course of its 30 hours players will fight their way through a menagerie of strippers, ninjas, meth heads and paedophiles. Never trust the autosave, though – like west Belfast voting, you must save early and often, lest you lose hours of grind.
Preaching to the converted, Fractured But Whole (still makes me smile) boasts a constant slew of fan-pleasing references, from singing excrement and stoned towels to Scientologists and farting Canadians.
You can unleash stink bombs that make enemies vomit, let off reality bending farts or take part in the greatest pooping mini-game ever. Yet it's all in the name of social commentary – the difficulty slider automatically changes your skin colour, giving less money to black players.
Regardless if you think the series jumped the shark years ago, South Park continues to shine in the games world, with another surprisingly complex yet accessible slice of scatological superhero shenanigans that improves over the original in every way.