South Park: The Stick Of Truth could very well be the funniest game ever made. Admittedly that's not saying much given the dearth of comedy titles - humour has yet to become its own genre in the industry - but Matt Stone's and Trey Parker's first entry into the digital world (the other, terrible licenses they had nothing to do with don't count) has the potential to get by on its jokes, script, and sheer unbelievable nature alone.
Every time the game is showcased - as it was today at GamesCom - it manages to earn countless laughs, even from a room packed full of individuals. Whether that's because Randy Marsh is getting machine-probed, anally, by what appears to be an alien (as he cries out 'Why!'), to Cartman making jaw-droppingly shocking comments about the fate of Princess Kenny, it is always only a line away from making you, at the very least, crack a smile.
It's not like this is a fluke either. If South Park has always managed to tickle your funny bone, the writing here seems as good as some of the best episodes the franchise has offered, with the added touch of joy that this should last for around 20 hours, if not more.
As redundant as it is to say, though, there are people out there who don't understand Stan's, Kyle's, Cartman's and Kenny's ways, or do to a certain degree, but may need more than just the promise of a few jokes to actually convince them to part with some cash.
The structure has been well documented by now - The Stick Of Truth, essentially, looks to the likes of Paper Mario to build its turn-based fighting system - and crafts gags around it. It results in fart attacks, throwing poop at each other, and Butters launching into battle against his will. Thankfully, the system works, scraps being contested seriously despite the ridiculousness around them, and a depth to the mechanic which means it never degrades down into nonsense.
Ultimately it's the story, or at least the dangling carrot of what could happen, that will keep people driving through, represented in its latest form as you (the new kid), Butters and Cartman enter 'The Giggling Donkey' bar to locate a bard with information. While it's standard RPG affair - some exploring, dialogue, and brawls - it's the fan service and context that makes it so entertaining to experience: you take on a few enemies with a dildo-sword; Cartman, after a vicious beating, lies on the floor pouring tomato ketchup into his mouth before spluttering it out like blood; the bard turns out to be Jimmy who struggles with the word 'enchantment'; for no reason Cylde turns up. What you're actually doing is solid and fun, but it's nothing to what's happening around you.
The Stick Of Truth was always going to, obviously, be predominantly aimed at fans, and it's surely nigh-on impossible for anyone who finds the TV show perplexing to get anything out of it. For those who have accepted Parker and Stone's ways, though, this could be one of the best tie-in games that has ever found its way to any console.