Randy and Stan Marsh get in on the action in the game "South Park: The Stick of Truth." Credit: Ubisoft
Turn-based RPGs are the bread and butter of video games. They are comforting, filling and occasionally accused of being boring and stale. But nuts to that! Bread rules. Butter rules. Turn-based RPGs rule. Let’s review some recent releases.
"South Park: The Stick of Truth" Xbox 360/PS3 Ubisoft 4 globes
Ever had the hankering to play an interactive, 20-hour episode of "South Park"? You are alive on planet Earth, so of course you have. Well, here it is. "South Park: The Stick of Truth" is not only a fantastically lewd and creative video game, it’s also a mighty fine episode of television.
First of all, it looks, sounds and feels exactly like an episode of "South Park." The gameplay, however, is straight up RPG. You wander around the town and fight a myriad of enemies, including homeless drunkards, Nazi zombie dogs and, of course, Al Gore. The writing and voice work is so strong that it's just as much fun to watch as it is to play. About the only knock you can give it is lack of replay value. Once you find everything, that’s pretty much it.
"Final Fantasy X/X2 HD" PS3/Vita Square Enix 4 globes
It’s July 2001. People are listening to bands with strange names like Train and Lifehouse, watching Oscar-worthy performances in films such as "Scary Movie 2" and grooving to America’s most popular politician, Josiah “Jed” Bartlett. People are also playing a whole lot of "Final Fantasy X" for the PS2. The 10th in the series was a huge hit, selling almost seven million copies.
Now it’s back! Square Enix has put together a polished HD remastering of the original, along with its sequel. If you loved FFX back in the day, you’ll love this. It looks great and they didn’t skimp on modern accoutrements (trophies, touchscreen integration, etc.). New players will also fall in love. It’s classic, turn-based FF. The voice acting still sucks though.