South Park: The Fractured But Whole is no ordinary turn-based role-playing game. It's one for the fans. Within 30-seconds of our E3 gaming expo presentation, our presenter - playing The New Kid (AKA Douchebag from previous game The Stick of Truth) - is tapping in guesses to break Eric Cartman's (AKA The Coon's) keypad to access his secret lair (in Mrs Cartman's basement, obviously). "F*ck Donkey Poop". Nope, that didn't work, so it's time to go and hunt down the real password ("F*ck You Mom" as it transpires).

Thus begins the side-on exploration game, a familiar experience for fans of the previous The Stick of Truth. Only this time it's all about superheroes, in an obvious but amusing piss-take of the current glut of Marvel and DC Comics movies that are spilling into cinemas. The characters mirror those in the South Park TV show too, from Mysterion (Kenny) to TupperWear (Token) and beyond. Timmy playing a spoof Professor X who "rapes Cartman's brain" did make us chuckle.

Story set, the main obvious differences in The Fractured But Whole compared to its predecessor are a revamped combat system; full crafting system, so now you can collect items and, with the right recipes or instructions, create new and more useful items to utilise; and "fartcour" (that's the SP take on parkour) meaning in-level verticality is easier for the sake of exploration - and yes, you can far your way up buildings.

We've seen the whole combat system in play and it's a lot more complex than before; more chess-like. Just not in the traditional sense. Different characters have different reaches across a play grid, with differing abilities, attacks and defences meaning hiding behind objects and other characters won't always be helpful - sometimes it'll be counter-intuitive.

To the top left of the screen is a ultimate meter level-up bar, which when maxed out means you can unleash an ultimate attack with devastating effect. There are the usual potions and specials which can cause rage, bleeding and so forth to make things extra tough - either for you or your opponent.

Which is actually all pretty complicated stuff for an apparent toilet humour show. That's the thing that's great about The Fractured But Whole: it's embraces being completely silly and totally rude, without being one of those wishy-washy franchise titles for the sake of it.

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Although, as you might have gathered from the opening line of this preview, it's definitely not going to be a game to suit all tastes. Given how close to the mark The Stick of Truth went - some scenes were censored in the UK, which is very unusual - we suspect The Fractured But Whole will try and push things even further. Not just in the gameplay stakes either: prepare to be appalled and thrilled in equal measure, depending on how much of a South Park fan you are.

South Park The Fractured But Whole will be released for PS4, Xbox One and PC on 6 December 2016.

Sections Ubisoft Games