The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is upon us, and all the big names in the gaming industry are announcing new stuff left and right. There are a lot very exciting things being revealed, like the Xbox One Scorpio and the stunning Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer. Both those announcements are way out of my league, though. I’ll never buy an XBone Scorpio, and I’ll never have a gaming rig capable of running Andromeda at more than perhaps half a frame per minute.
So I got very excited when I came across an announcement more suited for immature gamers with old PCs: A brand new South Park game, The Fractured but Whole1.
The video above is from 2016. I was a little surprised, however, to find out that The Fractured but Whole was actually announced exactly a year ago, at E3 2015. I guess this shows how far away from the gaming scene I am these days. But that doesn’t really matter, does it? The new South Park game is an RPG, and an unrelated sequel to the Stick of Truth, another South Park RPG that was developed by Obsidian Entertainment in 2014. I absolutely loved it2, but then again I’m a huge South Park fan. I’m sure I will have a great time playing through the sequel as well.
There are, however, a few things that makes me a tad bit skeptical about South Park: The Fractured but Whole.
First of all, it’s being published by Ubisoft. That, in itself, isn’t really a problem; The Stick of Truth was also published by Ubisoft, and that worked out just fine. But according to the Steam page for The Fractured but Whole, the game requires a Uplay account, which is a whole other ballpark, to be honest. Some games that require a Uplay account, also require an always-on internet connection – not only for launching the game, but during actual gameplay. My internet connection is mostly always-on, “mostly” being the operative word. If I’m kicked out of a game because someone at a data center tripped over cable, I’d might find myself somewhat annoyed with the situation.
Secondly, you can buy a Gold Edition of The Fractured but Whole for a whooping $89.99 that includes a Season Pass. Season passes in terms of computer games usually means that the publisher plans to squeeze out as much money as they possibly can from their customers through the release of downloadable content (DLC). All DLC isn’t bad, some of it has great production value and actually make useful changes to the game – old geezers like me might remember these DLCs as “expansions”. And DLC is, after all, strictly optional. The problem is that some games are just bare skeletons without flesh and bones if you don’t shell out your hard earned money for downloadable content. Let’s hope South Park: The Fractured but Whole doesn’t fall into this trap.
Either way, I’m not buying the game on release day. It’s a AAA game with AAA pricing, and I’ll be on the fence until it’s available at a discount during one of the many seasonal sales that happen on Steam and elsewhere throughout the year. Expect a review some time late 2017 or early 2018. It’s good to have something to look forward to, isn’t it?