The Stanley Parable Review


The Stanley Parable is a unique video game in which you don’t have a gun, sword or pickaxe to shoot, hack at or mine your surroundings. Your only tool is your free will.

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At the beginning of the game you find yourself in a cubicle in an empty office building with a patronisingly sinister narrator telling you what you are about to do. And from that point on you can choose to obey the instructions, do the opposite of what the narrator says, or disregard him and see what secrets you can find in your environment. There are many routes you can take and no set story – each decision you make brings you to a different conclusion unrelated to any of the others. In a way it’s the ultimate replay value game.

If you were a fan of the tone and sense of humour of the Portal games then this is a must-have. Although there are no complex physics puzzles, the overbearing presence of the narrator will be familiar and leads to some wonderfully meta moments. However, not all the routes lead to a happy ending, and anyone who works in an office job may find themselves facing any related dissatisfaction they have head on.

The main criticism of the game would be its short length, and while that comes hand-in-hand with indie games going for £9.99 on steam, you have to do multiple playthroughs to get a proper session out of it. This is partly the point, as the joy of the game is in the changes that occur depending on the route you take. Also, you really only have choice as your weapon. There aren’t any real obstacles to speak of, but only being able to walk through doors and push the occasional button might leave some players feel like it’s a somewhat empty gaming experience. And in a way they’d be right; it’s more of an interactive narrative experiment. But if you’re a fan of unique games or willing to holiday outside your comfort zone, chances are that you’ll be charmed by its humour and even its commentary on the nature of choice in gaming.

Twoflower

Twoflower

Playwright, writer-down of thoughts and occasionally fiction. I've recently discovered that my favourite film is The King's Speech and I'm accepting my new identity as Middle Class.
Twoflower
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Twoflower

Playwright, writer-down of thoughts and occasionally fiction. I've recently discovered that my favourite film is The King's Speech and I'm accepting my new identity as Middle Class.

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