The Stanley Parable Review
Initial NA Release Date: October 17, 2013
Review Date: August 10, 2016
Reviewed on: PC
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
There is no right or wrong way to play The Stanley Parable.
Well that’s not entirely true if you’re going by what the game’s narrator thinks, if it were up to him, the right way would be by taking the door on the left. But where is the fun in that?
A fully narrated first person explorer, The Stanley Parable is a fun little experience that takes you on different paths along the way, showcasing a light and funny narrative but with a hint of a heavier tone at times.
Presentation – Yellow lines that guide you all over the place, marching soundtrack, a British narrator and Minecraft? Yup, all that and more make an appearance in The Stanley Parable.
It’s safe to say that the game isn’t a visual masterpiece nor does it have an outstanding soundtrack or certain immersiveness to it, but I think that’s a good thing considering the plot of the game which is exploring a regular office building, not Hyrule or Rapture. It’s supposed to look just like a boring corporate building, and so the sounds and sights of the game fit the script.
Where the game really gets its liveliness is with its narrator who is guiding Stanley through his journey. For better or for worse the narrator will tell you what he thinks, whether he’s being funny or gets mad, his personality shines and is what really makes the game enjoyable.
Gameplay – Considering how you’re basically playing the same short sequence over and over, the game may feel repetitive to start out each playthrough but was not a major gripe of mine the longer I kept playing. Everything seems to look the same at the beginning of each playthrough, then things quickly change the more you explore. Doors go missing, the narrator gets in the way and changes your soundtrack and even changes the game you’re playing when you refuse to listen to him and has had enough.
The fun of the game really comes from exploring different paths, finding things along the way like funny slideshow presentations in an office or even a whole museum-like-room that shows the development stages of the game. All so you can see the end and do it all over again with different choices and different outcomes.
The Stanley Parable maintains a good pace for each playthrough you decide to journey on, none were extremely long or short but feel just right for you to want to see another ending once you finished with one. The lightheartedness nature of the game really benefits its multiple playthrough system, the different places to see, new narrator lines to listen to, all come together for an enjoyable experience.
Final Impression – Fun, whether you decide to see one ending or see them all, The Stanley Parable is just good fun. Taking a theme about a boring life of an employee, in a boring office with no real importance, compiling that with a Narrator whose guiding you to a plot of some kind, making you laugh along the way, leaving you just enjoying the experience.
No single playthrough is real meaty but that’s the point of the game. You get to choose what you want to see. You can stop after two playthroughs or try and see them all. Ultimately The Stanley Parable is more about enjoying the ride and hopping off whenever you feel satisfied with it.
+ Funny narration
+ Cool level design
– Playthroughs can get repetitive
– Average visuals
Final Score – 7.0/10 Good