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The Stanley Parable Review

A parable, as defined by Oxford English Dictionary, is a simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson. Whilst The Stanley Parable is, in essence, a simple story about a man, Stanley, investigating where his cohorts have gone, it is so much more than this. It is, in all definitions of the word, an adventure.

The Stanley Parable

Originally a Half-Life 2 mod, The Stanley Parable has been remastered both by looks and story in this standalone version created by Galactic Café. The premise of the game is that you are Stanley. You control Stanley's actions and you decide how Stanley's adventure plays out. However - like so many of my dreams - there is an ominous voice narrating your every decision and trying to guide you through the story. It is your decision whether Stanley follows the commands of your narrator or not and both following or disobeying him will have different consequences.

An example of this would be the very first decision that you are faced with. After navigating your way out of your office, you are shown two doors. The narrator says "Stanley went through the door on the left" however, both doors will swing open. It is now down to your own moral judgement whether you follow blindly or rebel. If you follow blindly through the left door, the story will continue as planned but venturing into the right will cause the narrator to ridicule you for your actions and try to put you back on your intended path.

This very first decision sets the tone for the rest of the game and you will spend the rest of your time within The Stanley Parable choosing whether to obey the voice-over or ignore him, finding your own path. On its own, this sounds like a pretty dull concept but what keeps you plowing through your office building is the incredibly well written script of the narrator, voiced by Kevan Brighting.

The Stanley Parable

As you play, and you get further down a story path (there's multiple ones depending on your decisions), he evolves and, as such, so does the way that he treats Stanley. It did, at times, put me really on edge. For quite a while, I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was but I finally discovered that I didn't trust the narrator at all. There was a genuine mistrust of a character in a game - something seldom seen from my perspective. I rarely get attached to characters within games and whilst I was controlling Stanley, it was the narrator that not only stole the show, but was the most real. Stanley was just a vessel that I used to interact with the narrator and because of this, he was talking directly to me. It was this connection to the narrator that I found so unnerving and, in some situations during my adventures, felt incredible empathy or fear towards him.

Due to the nature of the game, for every decision that you make, it opens up another set of decisions and thus, another potential story. I can imagine completionists spending hours upon hours venturing down every potential aisle to find out what happens - I know that I did! The Stanley Parable plays out a lot like an adventure book but instead of keeping your index finger in between pages 38 and 39 whilst you flip to page 85, you keep a mental map of which choices you have taken and which you will have to try next time. If the narrator wasn't enough to bring you back to play, then finding out what's behind every decision sure will be!

Graphically, the game is very smooth and looks great, even if there are a few minor glitches with certain textures such as (and I'm being deliberately vague to save from spoilers) the corner pieces of a yellow line, or where the carpet meets certain walls. The style fits the game perfectly and is definitely a step up from the Half-Life 2 mod.

The Stanley Parable

For those of you who have previously played the mod, you will see a few similarities in story and already know one or two of the potential endings to the adventure, but there is a lot more for you to find in the story and a lot more to the game itself. It's incredibly well written and, whilst not unheard of, rarely trodden territory. It's a refreshing change from the sometimes overused formulas you see these days and often pokes fun at them. The only advice I will give you upon purchasing The Stanley Parable is this: remember that fern, study it from every possible angle, drink in its precise details, it will be important later on in the story.

9.00/10 9

The Stanley Parable (Reviewed on Windows)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

A parable, as defined by Oxford English Dictionary, is a simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson. Whilst The Stanley Parable is, in essence, a simple story about a man, Stanley, investigating where his cohorts have gone, it is so much more than this. It is, in all definitions of the word, an adventure.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Kris 'Kaostic' West

Kris 'Kaostic' West

Janitor

Zombie slayer, quest completer, mouse clicker and, in his downtime, writer and editor.

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COMMENTS

FoxyStoat
FoxyStoat - 11:48pm, 3rd April 2015

Having watched this on You Tube I'm rather tempted to give it a bash, I know Dawson defo will be and from that I'll end up having a go. :D

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The Griddler
The Griddler - 11:48pm, 3rd April 2015

This sounds right up my street. Will definitely check it out soon.

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