South Park: The Fractured But Whole Review (Switch)

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is finally playable on the Nintendo Switch. It is the first South Park game to get released on Nintendo hardware. The game was released last year for the PS4, Xbox One and PC so the Nintendo Switch version comes after almost half year of the original launch, but thankfully all of the post-launch DLC can also be played with the Nintendo Switch version so this is essentially the complete package. The bad news is that despite a late release, this DLC still requires you to purchase the Season Pass separately.

As I said earlier, Nintendo Switch owners who don’t have South Park: The Fractured But Whole can enjoy the whole game with its all of the post-launch DLC, but this comes at a price. Normally if there is a delayed port for a platform, one should expect to see atleast the post-launch DLC being bundled for it at launch. In the case of South Park: The Fractured But Whole, this isn’t the case since Ubisoft has decided to release two separate editions of the game: Standard and Gold Edition. This means you have to pay a higher price in order to get the extra post-launch DLC content.

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Despite the issue with the price and locking the extra content behind a premium edition, the actual quality of the port seems to be decent at best. It is still the same South Park experience and if you haven’t played the game yet, you should expect to have great time with the game. I really enjoyed South Park: The Fractured But Whole when I originally reviewed it but I never had the chance to check out the DLC, so I wanted to see how it fares up with the Nintendo Switch version.

This is technically a sequel to The Stick of Truth and the game begins similarly with an opening that starts with the kid roleplaying Dungeon and Dragons. This was the main theme and idea behind The Stick of Truth, the prequel to this game. However as soon as the game opens up, the story changes and the focus is now placed on Superheroes and their powers. It is a nice change of pace if you have played the first game and the new battle system really shines with the way powers are integrated here.

You assume control of a new kid whose family has moved into South Park. This same premise was used for the last game but the customization options available for the character creator are more varied now. You can change the appearance of your character to match a set of predefined facial features or outfits. The difficulty slider works with the color of your skin so if you go for a darker color, it might lead to a higher difficulty overall.

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Gameplay wise, the turn-based approach to combat is gone now and the focus is on a grid-based combat system. The powers that you get as a Superhero are used here to damage foes depending on your reach, attack strength and the status effects that you can inflict on them. The story will offer you multiple choices of picking up a Superhero class and it effects how your character build will fare by the end. For example, if you pick up Brutalist, you will have a good amount of skills that hit hard but with a short range. There are close to 10 classes to pick from in the game and your character can have 3 of them active at a time giving you a wide range of moves and skills to use in battle.

One issue with South Park: The Stick of Truth was that the combat ended up feeling less engaging and repetitive. This seems to have been rectified with the new combat system that requires you to engage more in each battle. This works like in Super Mario RPG where timed button presses will lead to stronger attacks and better defense for your character. Once you have accumulated enough damage to fill the Super meter, you can unleash a Superhero finisher that deals a lot of damage.

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South Park is a good fit for the Nintendo Switch hardware. The portable aspect of the game really shines through on the Switch. That said, the transition to Switch is not exactly as smooth with some technical issues getting in the way of making it a great port. My first and perhaps the biggest issue is that the load times are a little long when it comes to exploring around in South Park. If you prefer the portable mode, chances are you will have to suffer through the load times every time you enter a new location in the game. I noticed that they were reduced in the docked mode so maybe if you want to avoid them, docked mode is the way to go here.

The second issue that I noticed with the port was that the frame rate is not that great in some circumstances. The game mostly works fine but there are certain sections where the frame rate doesn’t really hold up well. This is more apparent if you have played the game on either PC, PS4 or Xbox One. The load times and low frame rate make this port a little disappointing but it doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it. Despite these issues, the game still playable remarkably well and seems to nail the visuals of the TV Show.

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The Switch version also seems to lack the clarity of the console version. This mostly boils down to the lack of native resolution in both portable and docked mode. The low resolution also has an effect on the UI and text that is presented in the game. You can also notice that the game has now a softer look overall even when you are just accessing the options.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole Review (Switch)
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Game Reviewed on: Switch

Game description: The outrageously offensive superhero adventure is now available on Nintendo Switch. Enjoy the full South Park: The Fractured But Whole RPG adventure anytime, anywhere.

Summary

A fairly competent port for the Nintendo Switch that offers the complete South Park: The Fractured But Whole experience. Some minor flaws aside, the game still holds up well and the Superhero inspired adventure featuring fan favorite South Park characters is a delight to experience again.

8/10

Khurram Imtiaz

Editor-in-Chief at GearNuke. When I am not posting news, I can be seen sharing my thoughts over at Twitter.

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