Quick Review: The Stanley Parable

One of the many games I acquired in the Humble Freedom Bundle was a great game called The Stanley Parable. This game has been out for a while, but this is the first time I’ve gotten to try it out. It’s a walking simulator game, where you are interacting with an ever changing world, and what appears to be a computer AI that has unknown intentions towards you.

You start out in your office as you notice that everyone else in the world has disappeared. You start to explore while a voice in your head narrates your actions. However, because the narration is speaking about activities ahead of you, you quickly figure out that you can make choices that are in opposition to the narration. This is where the game starts to take off in weird and wild directions.

There are a dozen or so different endings to the game, and none of them take very long. Usually a couple choices will seal your fate towards a particular ending, and it’s becomes about playing it through to it’s conclusion. In the hour or so that I played I managed 4-5 different endings, each with a very different feel to them. Themes of control and purpose in life are sprinkled into the dialogue, and you’re often made to feel as if the life you’re living is fake, and the only way to escape it is to listen to the voice in your head. Or is it?

Needless to say, it doesn’t take long to get through the main endings in the game, but it’s worth going back to see the others as well. I can see why this game had such high marks on all the ratings sites. It is imaginative and thought provoking (much like Firewatch), and allows you to experience a story with many different outcomes.

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