Despite the success of the Batman Arkham franchise it is still rare to see a licensed property work as a game and even rarer for it to get a sequel. For every Shadow of Mordor or Arkham Asylum, there is a Superman 64, Aquaman or Simpsons Road Rage. South Park The Stick of Truth was a success because it was able to use the medium to deliver what fans of the show wanted which was more South Park. Using a simple turn-based RPG system similar to Paper Mario fans received an RPG set entirely in the kids’ imaginations where football pads are armor and that cardboard box is a castle. It was a success because it used a genre that it could tailor to match the show rather than tailoring the show to match the genre.
Working as both a sequel to Stick of Truth as well as the season 21 episode The Franchise Prequel, Fractured But Whole once again puts players in control of ‘The New Kid’. The base premise this time is Cartman in his hero alter ego The Coon has gone back in time to stop the kids from playing fantasy games because of the crime wave. His plans also involve creating the most successful superhero franchise that world has ever seen. As you progress through the game you uncover a conspiracy of the highest order in South Park, some malicious entity has gathered together all of the crime families in South Park those being the Italian mob, the Russians, the sixth graders, dirty cops and Korean ninjas.
As the New Kid progresses they will not only unlock more powers but they will fill out their character sheet with everything ranging from their gender to their alignment and religion. Everything is fed to the player slowly as you first choose your power archetype followed by Cartman revealing your tragic backstory. Eventually being granted to every power archetype which allows players to mix and match from every set which is required as part of the follower mechanic. While the first game had Facebook friends, this game has Instagram followers and some kids will only follow you if you are a specific type of hero.
Overall the story is exactly what you would expect from the creators of South Park, full of in-jokes or references that fans of the show will get almost instantly. Hammering home that this is the kids playing superhero its commonplace for someone to yell “car” during battle. This leads to everyone getting on the sidewalk and the combat music stopping. Once the car drives past combat resumes as if nothing had happened. They take the usual comedic style which is to take something to the height of absurdity and then beat it into the ground. Starting immediately with the nameless hero trope, at every point possible you will be called New Kid, Butthole or ButtLord by every principal member of the South Park cast. Background NPCs will call you the farting vigilante or the vigilante. While this trope is common in the RPG genre, here it’s overused with some characters saying New Kid multiple times in one dialog sequence. There was also one bit that dragged on too long, an unskippable scene narrated in the dark. Fans of the series will inevitably enjoy the game for what it is, but anyone not a fan of South Park will likely not enjoy their experience. While both the show and the game are about a lowbrow as you can get for comedy a certain understanding of the show is required to understand why things happen the way they do.