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sistently highlighted its comedic achievement. Game Informer said it is frequently hilarious, ranking it among the best comedic games ever released. IGN praised The Stick of Truth for its witty and intelligent satire of the role-playing genre, while others said that as well as being consistently funny, the game was suitably boisterous, shocking, provocative, self-effacing, and fearless in its desire to offend. Many reviewers agreed that much of the content was more appealing to South Park fans; some jokes are lost on the uninitiated but others said that enough context was provided for most jokes to be funny regardless of players' familiarity with the source material. IGN said that it is the game South Park fans have always wanted, but some reviewers said that without the South Park license, the game's shallowness would be more obvious. Combat received a polarized response; critics alternately called the battles deep and satisfying or shallow and repetitive. Reviewers considered the combat mechanics to be simplistic while allowing for complex tactics, and others said that the requirement to actively defend against enemy attacks and enhance offense kept fights engaging. Others also praised the combat but considered the mechanics to be robust and elaborate, presenting a solid role-playing combat system concealed under the intentionally simplistic visuals. Some reviewers said that a lack of depth made combat gradually become repetitive; they said that even when combat is funny and engaging, by the end of the game the battles can become routine. Joystiq stated that defense was more interesting than offense because it relied on time-sensitive reactions to creative enemy attacks such as Al Gore giving a presentation. Destructoid said there are too few powers available for offense for the game to remain interesting for long. GameSpot found combat was too easy and lacking in challenge because of an abundance of suppleme nt items such as health packs that were found more frequently than they were used, and powerful abilities that quickly subdued opponents. Others disagreed, stating that the variety offered in combat, such as character abilities, allies, weapons, armor, and upgrades, ensured it always felt fun. The effects of the enhancements were sometimes considered to be confusing, and typically relying on simply equipping the highest level item available. Joystiq said the special characters that can be summoned during battle were extreme in terms of power and entertainment value. IGN said that the difference between character classes such as Thief and Jew were disappointingly minimal, offering little variety or incentive to replay as another class. IGN also said some missions and side quests were tedious, and were elevated by their setting rather than their quality, while the reviewer thought the environmental puzzles were a clever option for avoiding combat and were rare enough to be enjoyable w hen available. However, GameSpot said the puzzles felt scripted and simple. Reviewers said that many of the gameplay functions and controls were poorly explained, making them difficult to activate; others were critical of excessive loading times upon entering new locations and slow menus such as the Faceb