south park

The Book Of Mormon – Bit of a change from Frozen!

Hello everyone! I apologise from the deepest recesses of my being to all of you for not uploading in an absurd amount of time. I’m not going to make excuses because I doubt you care so in the immortal words of the pythons lets “GET ON WITH IT!”.

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Recently I had the displeasure of growing another year older. I’m sure you’ve all been there. And like most years I received presents. This year though I got a present that was indeed rather special, you see for those of you who don’t know I am a massive South Park fan. Actually probably more like a massive Matt Stone and Trey Parker fan and ever since I heard about their spectacular new musical titled “The Book Of Mormon” I have been wanting to see it more than anything else. The dilemma I faced though was at first it was only in America and then once it moved to the U.K. It was a bit out my price range, mainly because it is only shown in a single theatre in London. Now for some reason the greater powers have seen fit to bestow me with an incredibly generous girlfriend that knew this. So yeah, if you haven’t guessed it yet, we went to see The Book Of Mormon. I mean seriously if you had trouble seeing that one coming you should probably get help. We’re worried for you.

Now just to say that I was going into this thing with high expectations would be an understatement. I purposely distanced myself from anything that might give the game away or tell me just that little bit too much about what happens in the show so that when I got to finally see it I would have no anticipation of what was to come and could really experience it all for the first time. One thing that really took me by surprise though was the level of showmanship and presentation. It’s well known that Trey and Matt are perfectionists and are always totally hands on with their work but I honestly didn’t think that would be so clear on the stage. And talking of the stage boy do they use it! This isn’t the type of show that would translate to the screen or really any other art form for that matter and that just is a testament to the care that went into crafting it. I mean why make a stage show if you’re not going to the use the stage to its full advantage?

The music and songs are catchy and cleaver and like with most of their humour sometimes outrageous. They have this skill of taking something really witty and blending it with the most childish things to really help deliver the jokes. It’s very pythonesque in that respect. The songs themselves are expertly written by Trey and Robert “Bobby” Lopez, The writer and director of the other comedy musical Avenue Q and who more recently had critical acclaim when him and his wife wrote the music for Disney’s very own Frozen. Yep that’s right, Frozen. What’s more is that they manage to catch you off guard with a lot of the show and I don’t just mean the humour. The characters are all really well portrayed and excellently crafted and you genuinely feel an emotional attachment to them.  There is a level of emotion that you really don’t expect when going into the show. Everyone feels believable and real which then in turn makes the funnier parts even more so. Anyone here that has seen the South Park Movie though will already be aware of the skill with song lyrics and music of Trey and Matt but are thinking what about dance numbers? Well have no fear, some of the dance numbers in this show are some of the best I have seen and again they work the dancing into the joke or scene. Every movement is done for a reason, which it is evident, and like with the use of the stage they use the dancing to great effect.

In terms of Story I will give you a brief synopsis as I really don’t want to give anything away. It’s about two Mormon teenagers that get sent to Uganda for their Mission. Chaos ensues. The main characters Elder Price and Elder Cunningham are phenomenal. A.J. Holmes really shone as Elder Cunningham and was quite honestly a revelation and I am shocked that I had never heard of him before this musical. Just to clarify as well that I am of course referring to the British version of the cast  as that is the one that I watched. All of the actors in the show were very good at personifying their respective characters but one other that really stood out was the character of Elder McKinley played expertly by Stephen Ashfield. Again Stephen just brought a certain presence to the character whenever he was on stage and although wasn’t in the show a massive amount still managed to make his parts really memorable.

If you are a fan of comedy, musicals or even just Mormons then this is the show for you! what’s even better is that because of the theatre that the show resides in I can say to you that there aren’t really any bad seats. You are able to see the entire stage comfortably from wherever you are so don’t worry if you can’t necessarily afford the most expensive seats .

A.J. Holmes as Elder Cunnigham

A.J. Holmes as Elder Cunnigham

Tickets start from £39.75 and are on sale online and from ticket offices, The show is preformed at The Prince Of Wales Theatre in London.

 

10/10 Must watch!

-Joe

 

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South Park: The Stick Of Truth: A big fat ass review!

Sorry for the late upload of the full review I’m not going to make excuses all I can say is that I was just having way too much fun playing the game to actually think about reviewing it yet but the show must go on!

First off I just have to say that this game is brilliant! If you’re a fan of the show then you will be amazed at how many references they have been able to fit into this game and if you’re a new comer and this is your first experience of the franchise then you’ll be pleased at how accessible it is. You can really ell that this game was made by Matt Stone and Trey Parker as it has their touch of perfection to it from the big things like story and dialogue to even the smaller things such as menus and inventory selection, everything just feels right.

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A small barbarian wielding a smelly dildo – Just another day in South Park.

Visually It emulates the show to a tee! The seamlessness between game and cut scenes are only noticeable when they use it to make a joke (Such as any cut scene involving Jimmy you actually have to skip otherwise he just stutters forever) and it gets to the point where it doesn’t actually feel like you’re playing a game but more like an interactive episode. Actually an episode wouldn’t be doing it justice this is more like an interactive season! The story line feels like a true South Park story line where there are twists and turns that take you all over the place but then at the end it all reels back to the original thing you set out for. Not to give away any spoilers but the story line itself is bloody hilarious!

The controls for this game are solid and the navigation of menus and inventory are also very well done. It seems like an old school RPG game where you can really micromanage your character from appearance to gear which you can even customize further with dyes and boost patches(Known locally as strap-ons). It makes for a much more interesting game and gives you a greater feeling of control over your character.

Combat is really fun and progresses with your player so it always keeps you guessing. Even though you can press buttons to block you only receive some reduced damage instead of no damage which as it was one of the things that worried me when I saw the combat system in a game demo as it made it look like as long as you knew the times to block you would be invincible but this isn’t the case. At the beginning of the game you choose which class you are which doesn’t really impact the game all that much just on what abilities you can use in battle, Each of the classes are balanced as well so you can choose which class you prefer rather than the one that will make the game easier or harder. The four classes are Warrior, Mage, Thief or Jew which could only happen in a South Park game.

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Who ever said South Park was a quite mountain town?

Right now I’ve had a chance to profess my love for this game there are a few things that bug me. The biggest thing is the play-time. I completed the game doing every side-mission bar one (which I missed) and the game clocked in at 12 hours. And this isn’t like I’m a super fast gamer this tends to be the norm for most players. Now there is some replay value by playing as a different class and choosing a different side of the “War” to fight in but even that doesn’t impact you game that much. The main reason to play again for most people will be so that they can re-do their favourite levels or hear their favourite jokes. DLC has been announced to be released for the game which hopefully will extend the game by a few hours though. The other thing is that once you have completed the story-line you can explore the town and finish any side-quests (apart from event enabled quests) but if you’re like me and completed them all before the actual story then all you can really do is wander around as there are no new missions or enemies to fight, I would of like even some new-side quests that were only accessible once the main game was done just so you had something to do at least other than making yourself look like David Hasslehoff (I’m not kidding, Its hilarious!).

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Hasselhoff in a crab suit holding a flaming katana. Your argument just became invalid.

With a £39.99 price tag though we do expect a little more content from our games and granted at some points it does seem a little unjustified but on the whole I would say that for a Fan like I am Its well worth it but non-fans who are looking at this to be their way into the show then maybe wait off till prices go down.

The other thing that’s rather annoying is how easy the game is. Other than the odd boss fight (Mainly Al Gore) no enemies pose much of a threat so you’re going to want to turn the difficulty up to hard as soon as you boot up the game pretty much. Especially when you add in the fact that there are location/area based things you can do to take out certain enemies before actually fighting them which isn’t dependant on level or skill or anything and it gives you the same experience as if you had fought.

My final annoyance is that you get capped at level 15 which I think is a little bit too low but I can see why they did as it makes you choose which abilities to upgrade but even then it still seems quite low. Again maybe this is something they will change when DLC is released like we see in so many games but until then this is what were stuck with.

Final thoughts: This game is everything you could possibly want from a South Park RPG, It blends the humour of the show with the game style many of us probably grew up with and honestly I think I will be playing this game again and again just like I re-watch my favourite episodes. However I’ve not mentioned something that I feel I should. If you are easily offended then do not buy this game as you will hate it. For everyone else though, Get this game now!

Now my final verdict on this game comes in 3 parts this week, Normally I say how good the game is then value for money but I didn’t think this was fair as the rating of this game I think will be quite different for fans of the show over people who aren’t.

Fans: 9.5/10                        Non-Fans:8/10                                                  Value: 7/10

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South Park: The Stick Of Truth QUICKPICKLE!

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Okay for this week’s review I’m going something slightly different, its gunna be a really quick talk about a game and might become a regular thing but till then we shall see.

Right, when I first heard about the game in question I couldn’t have been more excited. I am a huge South Park fan and as a writer I can’t help but admire Trey Parker and Matt Stone for their creation. When the game got pushed back for release It was a little bitter sweet though. On one hand bitter because I wanted to play this game more than anything but sweet because it shows that they really care about the finished product and like with much of Parker and Stone’s work they wanted it perfected. Well that’s what I hope. If gameplay footage is anything to go by then the wait has been well worth it. The game seems to play exactly like an episode and I’m very happy they went with this instead of attempting to make it 3d (I still have nightmares of their last attempt at a 3d south park game for the ps1). After a lot of deliberation I decided to spend my student loan wisely and pre-order the game for my PC however it isn’t released until this Friday so instead of differing a few days to give you my verdict I thought I’d give you a little snippet of my thinking to tithe you over till sometime this weekend(I’d wager Saturday).

Its no exaggeration to say that this game is my most anticipated for 2014 but I’m gunna give a shout out and want to know what some of your most anticipated games for this year are? Also are there any games you’d like to see reviewed on the site? Leave a comment or write on the face book page over at https://www.facebook.com/picklepantsreviews