Bring the Crunch is the final DLC for South Park: The Fractured But Whole so Ubisoft have gone all out and taken the shackles off.
Following on from Dusk Til Casa Bonita, instead of ribbing Vamp culture, Bring the Crunch now takes pot shots at summer camp horrors like Friday the 13th.
And in true South Park fashion, they’ve notched it up to the nth degree.
You’re Doomed! You’re all Doomed!
The New Kid meets up with FastPass, the villain turned sort of hero, Professor Chaos, and brand new character, Mintberry Crunch at Lake Tardicaca. All the camp counselors have mysteriously gone missing and so the group look for clues to discover their whereabouts.
What they don’t expect to find are blood, guts, dead bodies and sinister plots spread all over. Which is the most immediately striking thing about this DLC, Bring the Crunch is exponentially more graphic than anything you’ve seen from Stick of Truth or Fractured But Whole to date. It’s actually one of the goriest games we’ve seen this year, though Agony definitely has that award all to itself for the foreseeable forever.
And it’s not just the gore either as some of the jokes are really dark, to the point of being quite controversial. Casa Bonita certainly had its moments, but after playing Bring the Crunch it feels closer to the show’s macabre wit.
Bring the Crunch is also really tough. The battles border on the unfair, enemies will box you in and overwhelm with numbers, and it has some of the most fiendish puzzles served up yet. You’ll need at least 500 Might to properly tackle the content here, so don’t necessarily have to beat Fractured But Whole, but it’s recommended. If only to understand how all the mechanics work.
Fortunately, you have a brand new class and character with new moves to help even the odds a little bit. We’ll start with Mintberry Crunch because his skills are probably the most confusing even if they are really creative. Crunch will douse his enemies in berries and his allies in mint. If an ally is covered in mint and a berry scented enemy tries to attack them, they will come up against an impenetrable shield so cannot damage them for one turn.
The two-faced Crunch can also make his enemies more susceptible to berries using a cleansing ability which also protects allies and a super ability which takes everyone out on the battlefield at once after chucking down a bowl of cereal. While I’m skeptical of how effective he will be when bringing him back into the base game, Bring the Crunch is designed in a way where he’s often the last man standing in your team. Something that will happen pretty often, by the way.
Final Girl, meanwhile, is a better class than Netherborn, which was previously the best class in the game. Channeling the energy of every girl who has ever survived a horror film, The New Kid can throw garden shears to push back enemies, throw out saws like disks, planting them into the ground which causes enemies to bleed out, and a Hammer Bomb which can send an enemy sailing in any direction.
As for Final Girl’s ultimate, you can insta-kill several enemies in one go if you’re close enough and their health is low. The New Kid uses a devasting combo weapon to grisly effect by turning them into red slush. Brutal!
Don’t get me wrong, the game still knows how to have a laugh. I mean, any game where you’re using your ass to cook S’mores and go fishing isn’t taking itself too seriously. There are a few fun diversions in here to break up the action, like taking selfies with ghosts while finding what’s anchoring them to the real world, and collecting camp badges to find hidden goodies.
Bring the Crunch has a bunch of content, is well-designed, and feels like a refreshing and radical departure from every other South Park game to date. It also has one of the best end-boss battles in an RPG I’ve ever seen. I loved it.
Both mischevious puzzle solving and battle diversity really keeps the content interesting, though some sections were a bit frustrating, particularly the sacred ground battlefield where enemies are continuously revived, and others where enemy turns just seem to go on forever. Battles in Bring the Crunch are much longer than before due to environmental shifts and character abilities you come up against, in addition to your own slow natured abiltiies, but it forces you to think carefully about your every move and not just mindlessly tap the button to win.
Bring the Crunch is a brilliant DLC that shocks, startles, and almost always entertains even though it’s very different from its source material. It flows exceedingly well while still managing to offer plenty of optional content should you want it. Slight battle grievances aside, Bring the Crunch is not only a marked improvement on Casa Bonita, but it ensures that the Fractured But Whole Season Pass is now an absolute must-buy.
+ Unique and a real departure from any other South Park game
+ Smart tactical combat will always keep you on your toes
+ Well designed puzzles and side quests to keep the game entertaining throughout
+ Final Girl is the best class in the game
+ One of the most epic end boss RPG battles
– Battles can go on too long as enemies are obnoxiously overpowered
– Some of the humour is more divisive and controversial than normal
– Mintberry Crunch seems a bit out of place in base game
South Park: The Fractured But Whole: Bring the Crunch DLC
9 out of 10
Tested on Xbox One
Code provided by the publisher