The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe Review – IGN

Much has already been said about why 2013’s The Stanley Parable is so phenomenal – in fact, so much so that an episode of 2022’s The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is a literal sanctuary for all the praise and recognition it deserves. . Talking further about how it wisely messes with your own video game expectations, or how it dissects the choices games often give us, would only bone long ago made pointers (not to mention risking my own words popping up in the inevitable reissue from 2031). But then again, I go and do exactly that, because even though those points have already been well made both about and by The Stanley Parable, they still sound as true as ever – and Ultra Deluxe’s ​​new content proves that has much more worth saying, at. a scale that extends far beyond a simple remaster.

Before we get too deep, a quick spoiler warning: Stanley Parable is a difficult game to talk about because so much of its charm and joy comes from discovering its surprises for yourself. I will do my best not to ruin that experience while I tell you why it is worth having, but I will talk about some of what already made the basic game stand out, as well as the overall scope and structure of how Ultra Deluxe builds on it. So while I will avoid ruining the details of some jokes or endings, my real recommendation is that you stop reading here, play it completely fresh and then come back and see how your own thoughts are compared to mine. But if you need a little more to go on before you take that leap, read on.

Stanley Parable is a surreal adventure game at heart. You play Stanley as you walk around the halls of his office, while a narrator (brilliantly voiced by Kevan Brighting) instructs you on where to go. Of course, the now thoroughly questioned gag here is that you do not have to listen to him at all. The office is a maze of paths to choose from or stumble across, and each choice sends you further down its branched tree of funny stories and towards one of its countless endings. Every journey is full of jokes that made me laugh out loud (even years after the first time I saw them) framed in a constantly flashing satire on the way games are traditionally supposed to behave – be it the worldly things like getting to ignore the “correct” path, or more comprehensive examples like a reset that does not always set the metaphorical sliders back to zero.

Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe can be said to be a long-awaited console port with some nicely improved lighting and some new content, but the last part is, shall we say, greatly underestimated. When you first start it, Ultra Deluxe asks if you’ve played the original before, and developer Crows Crows Crows stressed to me that it’s important to answer this question honestly. Ultra Deluxe contains the entire The Stanley Parable, and if you has not played it, then it’s one of the easiest recommendations I’ll ever come up with – but if you haveoffers this reissue far more than a literal trip into The Memory Zone.

Ultra Deluxe’s ​​new content feels comparable to the original in size and scope.

Given how many secret paths and hidden endings the Stanley parable contains, it’s hard to say exactly how big the new content in Ultra Deluxe really is, but I feel confident saying that it can be compared to the original with four for six hours of things to look at at least. There’s essentially a whole new game to play through here, and the idea of ​​it being presented as something smaller is probably one of its best gags. Some of Ultra Deluxe’s ​​content takes place in entirely new areas that largely feel like a direct sequel, while other additions unfold as remixed or changed versions of Stanley’s usual routes through the office. (I do not know for sure, but I assume that the question of whether you have played before determines how early this new content shows up, as things start quite modestly).

The Stanley parable: Ultra Deluxe – 6 screenshots

While The Stanley Parable makes fun of games as a whole, it only seems right that Ultra Deluxe shifts its gaze towards the concept of sequels, expansions and DLC – as well as a sharp self-reflection on both the original game and its wider reception. I do not want to go into the details, but the new text is no less clever, insightful or funny than the old one, and the way it all fits together is a pretty ingenious bid for an extremely difficult task. To frame everything in this way, as new content for an existing game rather than the standalone one it probably could have been, if Crows Crows Crows really wanted to, Ultra Deluxe allows for many points about the relationship between modern games and their updates more efficiently, which was a real treat.

At the same time, Ultra Deluxe’s ​​new stuff didn’t always land as well for me. It’s all extremely entertaining, but one of the downsides of accommodating this pseudo-sequel in the original is the feeling that we’ve seen many of these magic tricks before. It’s not because they do not last or still are not impressive, and it’s not because there are not a lot of new ones who pleased me completely myself – but even though the well has not run dry, it’s hard to shake the feeling of, that we will eventually visit it again (something Ultra Deluxe even enjoyably teases itself for). Because of that, both of the new and remixed trails initially felt like a bit more passive experiences than the base game – but on second thought, I’m not sure if that’s actually true, or if their impact was just blunted by the fact that that I knew better what to expect nine years later.