There’s been no dearth of ports on the Nintendo Switch. From Doom to LA Noire, and even Skyrim, a plethora of developers have released their greatest and not so greatest hits on the hybrid console. Joining the ranks is South Park: The Fractured But Whole. It graces the Nintendo Switch after its debut on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The first game in the series, 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth, had a fantasy motif, but South Park: The Fractured But Whole ditches the fantasy motif for something much more current — super heroes, lampooning the likes of Marvel's Cinematic Universe efforts such as Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War. In our South Park: The Fractured But Whole review in October 2017 we stated it’s a welcome follow up to The Stick of Truth. Does this hold true for its Switch outing? Let's find out.
First up, if you’re buying South Park: The Fractured But Whole digitally on the Nintendo Switch, make sure you have the space for it. The South Park: The Fractured But Whole download size is 14GB, before a 3GB patch that takes it up to roughly 17GB. If you don’t have a microSD card for your Switch, you may want to get one before bothering.
With that caveat out of the way, the game itself is pretty much the same familiar title we all know and love. Be it your character customisation options, or its rendition of its locales like South Park Elementary, and Mephesto’s Genetics Lab, every single piece of the action has been brought over to the Nintendo Switch as it was on its more powerful counterparts. This extends to its tactical combat that’s as addictive as ever, and it keeps the fully-voiced cast as well as jokes that only long-time viewers of the show might get. In terms of content, this port keeps everything you'll remember from other platforms.
However, it isn’t as pixel perfect as the developers would have you believe. For one, the game is littered with loading screens on the Switch. Whether you’re in a house moving from the hall to the kitchen, or you’re traversing the game world, you’ll be seeing loading screens aplenty. Some of these last for a few seconds, but others were in excess of 15 seconds. Even before getting into combat, the pre-fight screen button is revealed only after the subsequent battlefield has been loaded. This is the case in both docked and handheld mode.
That said, the game did have some technical concerns on PS4 and Xbox One that were ironed out after launch, and the day one patch for South Park on the Nintendo Switch seems to have reduced the frequency of issues. Another Ubisoft game — Rayman Legends — suffered from similar issues at launch which were rectified with a patch. With South Park on Switch using Ubisoft’s Snowdrop Engine as opposed to Rayman’s UbiArt tech, we won’t be surprised to see another update to iron out these concerns completely.
One aspect where South Park excels on the Nintendo Switch is its controls. Aside from letting you use Joy-Con or the Pro Controller, you can use the touchscreen to manage some aspects of the experience. It makes combat a lot less confusing, allowing you to tap on the screen to see where your character moves. Selecting your actions or items can also be done with the touchscreen. Most crucially, the game’s button prompts in battle — that allow you to dole out more damage or lessen the impact of enemy attacks — can be executed by tapping on the screen, making it a whole lot more intuitive. Even outside of combat, you can use the touchscreen to open up paths and traverse the game world. It’s a welcome addition and one that other third-party developers should consider incorporating in their releases too.
All in all, is South Park on Switch worth checking out? The turn-based combat and exploration hold up well on the Nintendo Switch on the go and on a big screen. However, the loading times that are yet to be completely rectified do put a damper on the experience. It's still recommended for hardcore South Park fans, and for those who haven’t played it on PS4, Xbox One, or PC already.
Rating (out of 10): 8
Gadgets 360 played a review copy of South Park: The Fractured But Whole on the Nintendo Switch. The game is available now for $60 in the US and Rs. 3,499 in India.
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