South Park: The Fractured But Whole has finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch six months after the game’s original release. If you’re expecting a bevy of new features specific to the Switch, you’re out of luck, as The Fractured But Whole is a very simple port. And while it is a perfect fit to play on the go, a number of technical issues do hold it back.
For those who haven’t played it, The Fractured But Whole follows the kids of South Park as they form two rival superhero factions that are fighting to be the first big multimedia franchise. You play as the same new kid from The Stick of Truth, working alongside Cartman’s Coon and Friends to find a missing cat. Over the course of the game, you’ll encounter crab people, sneak into a strip club, and meet Morgan Freeman, who is operating a taco shack—this is South Park we’re talking about.
Much like Stick of Truth, you’ll fight enemies in turn-based combat. And while it is a notable step up from the previous game thanks to the addition of a grid for movement, it’s still a pretty standard battle system. You can also change character classes that are inspired by superhero archetypes, but these also don’t add a lot to the game and do not provide much incentive for replayability. It’s fortunate that the game is pretty funny, with jokes and gags coming at you full force throughout the entire game. It’s a lot of dumb fun, and the 15 or so hours it takes to complete the game, not including DLC, are a blast because of it.
But within minutes of starting up The Fractured But Whole, you can already see the sacrifices that were made to bring the game to the hybrid console. Load times are frequent and long, and considering you’ll be entering and exiting tons of buildings over the course of any given playthrough, they add up. The frame rate is another issue I encountered sporadically, taking noticeable dips when exploring larger areas or during pivotal scenes in the story. These issues weren’t common in battle and when navigating the menu, which is fortunate considering the amount of time you’ll spend doing both of those things.
The Fractured But Whole is also much better played in handheld mode than docked. Not only is the game well suited to playing on the go, jagged textures are very noticeable when played on a TV. It takes away from South Park’s trademark art style, and I’m not even sure that the game is running at 1080p as a result. The issue is not noticeable when played in handheld mode thanks to the smaller screen, and looks closer to what you’d see in the other versions of the game.
For the most part, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is a perfectly fine port to the Switch. The simplicity of the gameplay and turn-based combat lends itself well to portable play, and Switch owners will have access to all of the great DLC—should they choose to purchase it—to continue to play more of the game. The technical issues are disappointing and hold the port back, but if you haven’t played The Fractured But Whole yet, the Switch version is still a perfectly fine way to experience it.
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