viking_funeral's The Stanley Parable (PC) review

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Clever, Quick, but just barely worth it.

I'd recommend this game, but only very barely.

This game may be a victim of its own hype, but in my experience, it didn't live up to those expectations. There is very little action on the viewers part. You largely go down hallways, listen to the narrator, and constantly make left / right choices. Depending on which order you choose these, you get the different endings to the game. There are some neat ideas and endings here, but some of the paths can become repetitive to get to, when the only difference is the final left / right after a long string of these choices.

The narrator is a nice touch, and if you told me that the original version of this game came out before Portal, I could see how the narrator was an obvious influence on the much better GLaDOS in Portal. However, the original version of this game came out 4 years later, and in my experience, barely does enough with the lightly mocking voice leading you through the adventure.

The length of this game is also not much. After deducing the system, I was quickly able to get nearly every ending in under 2 hours. I didn't realize these were the different endings, as nothing explains as much, and you are quickly ported back to the beginning of the game to start again.

So, this isn't much of a game. That seems to be a trend this year. But is there artistic merit? A very reluctant yes. It's clever, but being clever seems to be about all it has going for it. There are some parallels to be drawn between gaming and mind control, but it's so light that most of the allegory needs to be filled in by the viewer.

One of the hardest endings to get requires the viewer to click a button for 4 hours. Another difficult achievement is to play the game for an entire Tuesday. Light, fun, mocking commentary on reaching achievements in video games, but this seems to be about as deep as the rabbit hole goes. Even then these examples are outliers compared to the much easier achievements and endings.

So why would I recommend it? Like I mentioned, it's clever and quick. Not overly clever, but just enough to entertain, and there are some funny moments. However, keep in mind the length and notable lack of gameplay if / when you acquire this game. If you're the type of gamer with a small budget that can only get games once in a great while, I'd highly consider checking out other propositions.

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