South Park: The Fractured But Whole released earlier this week to strong reviews, with a number of outlets praising it as a worthy followup to 2014’s The Stick of Truth. As many that have played it can attest, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is deserving of the praise its received, offering a meatier RPG experience than its predecessor with a deeper, more rewarding combat system. However, the game is far from perfect, with one particular boss fight near the end of the main quest proving especially problematic.
Before we get into details about this boss fight, we must warn that the following contains some spoilers for South Park: The Fractured But Whole. However, since this boss fight can result in numerous game-breaking bugs, those that are in the final stages of the game’s story may appreciate the head’s up. It’s also worth noting that these problems were encountered in the Xbox One version of South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and it’s unclear if these issues are present when playing the game on PC or PS4.
The boss fight in question takes place during the main quest called The Many Asses of Dr. Mephesto. This is the second-to-last main quest in the game, and it ends with a boss fight against the largest enemy players encounter throughout the entire adventure. The enemy in question is Mutant Cousin Kyle, a huge version of Kyle’s cousin (who is also named Kyle) that is horribly disfigured and bloated.
Indeed, Mutant Cousin Kyle is so large that it’s not uncommon for him to block one’s view of the action, taking up at least six spaces on the tactical combat grid at any given time. It’s often hard to determine exactly which square each character is on the grid because of just how big Mutant Cousin Kyle is, and it seems the game has a problem determining this as well, as we ran into issues during this boss fight that didn’t appear at any other point during the game.
One problem came about when attempting to revive a dead teammate that was apparently on a square occupied by some part of Mutant Cousin Kyle’s gelatinous body. Usually if enemies move onto a square occupied by a fallen teammate, that teammate will stand up and move to another part of the grid, only to fall back down again. However, this didn’t happen, and upon reviving the teammate in question, they were simply trapped there.
In South Park: The Fractured But Whole, characters can’t complete an action in a space occupied by someone else. Because of this, all we could do was walk around the combat grid, unable to attack or even end our turn. Ultimately, the only way to get around this problem was to reload the checkpoint and start the boss fight over. This is especially frustrating as the battle with Mutant Cousin Kyle is one of the longest and most difficult boss fights in the entire game.
If this was the only issue we ran into with the Mutant Cousin Kyle boss fight, it wouldn’t be worth writing about. However, there were at least two more game-breaking bugs encountered during the battle. The second one required another checkpoint reload, and it came about when Mutant Cousin Kyle attempted his running attack. Instead of actually hitting the move, Mutant Cousin Kyle just ran in place with the attack animation never-ending and forcing another restart.
In our third attempt to fight Mutant Cousin Kyle, we encountered yet another bug. Luckily, this bug didn’t cause a restart, but it likely would have if it wasn’t for some unique battle conditions. During this boss fight, players can use the New Kid’s magical farts to travel through time and make the sun rise, which temporarily immobilizes Mutant Cousin Kyle and leaves him open to additional damage. When in this state, players are free to get in as many turns as possible while a meter fills that measures how much sunscreen Mutant Cousin Kyle has applied to his genetically-altered body.
While this was happening, the character Super Craig (who was also the one stuck in our first example of a game-breaking bug during this fight), was unable to complete any actions. The game’s HUD looked as though all Craig’s abilities were selected, but there were no prompts to actually use any of them. Luckily, the meter filled up and Mutant Cousin Kyle stole Super Craig’s turn. It’s probable that if the meter wasn’t there, then Super Craig would have been stuck forever, which would have forced yet another restart.
Our experience with the Mutant Cousin Kyle boss fight was rather troubling, but it doesn’t seem as though gamers are experiencing issues with the boss fight on a wide-spread basis. However, there are other problems that have garnered some attention. For example, some players have complained about its stability, citing numerous instances where the game has crashed. The PC version of South Park: The Fractured But Whole also has a “black screen” issue that makes the game completely unplayable without going through some tedious steps to work around the problem.
It’s possible Ubisoft will fix these issues in a patch, though it’s disappointing that such glaring problems are present in the game at all. With a season pass and Casa Bonita DLC on the horizon, though, we know Ubisoft plans on supporting South Park: The Fractured But Whole on a long-term basis, so it’s likely that the game’s various technical issues will eventually be ironed out.
While the boss fight against Mutant Cousin Kyle gave us a headache, we don’t want to give the impression that South Park: The Fractured But Whole is an overall poorly-made experience. On the contrary, the game is quite good, and as we pointed out in our own review, it is a great follow-up to The Stick of Truth. And if Ubisoft addresses these bugs and others that may be found in the game, it should only become better in the following months.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.