South Park: Snow Day – PS5 Review

It’s been a long whilst since a South Park game really missed the mark. It’s been ages since I gave the TV series a glance but the last two RPGs have produced something more fitting of the show’s humour. There is a care and attention with those that South Park: Snow Day, perhaps doesn’t quite have. With a budget price tag and a much smaller time commitment, Question are certainly throwing this out as something of a stop-gap. Unfortunately, what’s here isn’t that compelling.

The premise of South Park: Snow Day is neat continuation of kids at play. An obscene blizzard has ripped through the town and, despite the death and disruption, the town’s youngsters are taking the chance to escape into fantasy. As such, the usual tropes materialise. Weaponry made out of cardboard, a ruleset that changes as the cast starts to bicker and so on. It’s serve the resurgence of the series well but, in this case, it’s all too slight.

I suppose that’s a bi-product of the game being much smaller in scope. It’s a budget title that has about four hours to it before credits roll. Rather than treat it as an opportunity to densely pack the game with as much humour as possible, most of the time is taken up by monotonous battles. There are moments to it. The opening with Cartman’s selfish glee at school being cancelled is a particular highlight. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough of it. What is here feels like writers not necessarily bringing their A-game.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone provide plenty of voice work but the comedy just doesn’t land. Dare I say it feels fairly safe? Not just in premise but how the kids play together. There’s no real element of surprise to it and it feels like an episode stretched beyond a reasonable runtime. I want more South Park for my buck, really. The adults are largely window dressing, although there are a couple of moments where they intersect with the kid’s playtime. That can lead to interesting set-pieces but it feels few and far between.

It does look decent visually. The 3D models don’t look out of place and it’s quite special to see them run off through the snow. The trails they leave behind are a nice visual flourish that I wasn’t expecting. It runs well and it’s good to see these characters have transferred into 3D space well. Fights are easy enough to read and you do get plenty of feedback with how a wave is going. I haven’t seen any performance issues or glitches.

Combat lacks a precision and your options do feel a little limited. Basic attacks can come in melee and ranged varieties. Both suffer from little impact and dealing with mobs mean a real chaotic feel to scraps. It doesn’t feel good. Radial indicators help to somewhat keep track of threats but latter enemies can have invisibility or a real propensity to dodge. As such, striking can often be a hit and hope experience. There’s no lock-on to focus down tougher enemies and I consider most encounters to be drawn out affairs.

The structure of South Park: Snow Day is also very rigid. You have five missions in total which usually have set objectives. There is one exception to this where failure dealt me a completely new trial, but that feels like a specific twist on that mission. Perhaps it would’ve been nicer to see more wildcard situations like that to keep the game relatively fresh. As it is, your objectives largely focus around killing all enemies and then moving on from an arena.

These arenas do have plenty of space to them and verticality allows ranged opposition to pin you down. Enemy types can repeat fairly quickly but, in a game so short, I never felt variety was the problem. The sheer volume of them can make the endgame feel like a slog. As a four-player game, you’ll always have someone with you but the AI companions lack some common sense. They rarely revive you and losing them all does put you at a big disadvantage. If you want some coordination, this game is better with friends. Without them, you might undertake some babysitting duties.

Once a combat scenario is dealt with, Jimmy will stand at the exit and offer you a chance to upgrade one of your powers. At the beginning of each mission, you pick one of three cards to act as a buff and you can also pick a bullshit card. This is effectively your ultimate attack that can turn the tide in battle. The opposition also picks cards and, mostly they have more cards to play than you. Despite this, it still feels like the only cards to worry about are of the bullshit variety. They do seem to last a while and can suddenly shift your focus from thinning out enemy hordes to targetting a specific problem.

The cards do add a random element to the missions. As I mentioned, the mission structure can be very static so these variables do give the game a mildly repayable factor. Aside from Jimmy, goth kid Henrietta can be found to get an extra upgrade. These can sometimes feature compromises but I’ve found either card-giver can dish these out. There’s nothing majorly distinguishable between them beside the edgelord motif. Cards have a rarity and toilet paper can be exchanged to increase that.

Once a mission is complete, you can return to Cartman’s backyard to gain further perks, buy cosmetics or try out new weaponry. It sounds like a lot but I find dark matter, the currency to purchase perks, is slower to accumulate. On top of that, the perk tree is vast. You’ll most likely finish the game before ever touching the sides on it. Cartman’s war table is where you pick up missions and set the difficulty. There’s no other variables to fiddle with so the content is seen rather quickly. There is a free downloadable horde mode but, given how horde-heavy the game already is, I fail to see the appeal.

It’s a real shame there isn’t more to this. South Park: Snow Day feels undercooked with a decent premise that’s not fully explored. The humour is somewhat lacking in bite and the content settles into a monotonous trudge. It all feels very slight and, despite the cheaper price tag, I can’t really justify it. Combat lacks precision and encounters rely upon strength in numbers rather than tactical nuance.

South Park Snow Day
4 Overall
+ The 3D models and environments look really polished.
+ Some of that trademark humour is here.
+ The cards do allow for some curveballs in combat.
- Feels like a weak episode of the show stretched out into four hours.
- Combat is clumsy and encounters feel very similar.
- Enemy types lack variation.
- AI allies are largely useless.
South Park: Snow Day is a slight effort that feels somewhat underdeveloped. The combat has a chaotic feel to it without any real nuance or precision. The few missions that are here follow a familiar path and it misses some much needed variety. The random card drawing can deliver some variables but not enough for encounters to feel different. South Park's humour is here but it's in much smaller doses and simply can't carry what's a mediocre offering.

About Mike

Mike gets all the racing games because he understands that stuff even though he doesn't drive.

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