The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe | PS5 Review
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, developed and published by Crows Crows Crows, is a first-person puzzle game where your choices matter, and there are countless endings to keep you amused. This Ultra Deluxe edition is a remake of the original 2013 release but with some entirely new content added throughout, so as well as allowing new players to experience the game, fans of the original release will also get some new content to enjoy. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
Important note before we begin our deep dive into the game, I will be keeping this review spoiler free so that people can get a good idea of the game and my opinions but still maintain their fresh eyes to appreciate and enjoy the game on their own. Is this really a review of The Stanley Parable? It might be… but what if it isn’t?
Assume the role of Stanley, an office worker who discovers that his co-workers have mysteriously vanished, so Stanley must head out on the hunt for answers again and again and again - a hunt that may, or may not, provide answers to Stanley as to what exactly is, or isn’t, going on. As previously mentioned, I’m really going to strive to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, as there are so many little nuances tied into the game throughout that I really would hate it if I ruined any of these wonderful things for someone. After playing the game myself, my advice to anyone who wants to play the game would be to not watch any of it and don’t read reviews. Go in as blind as possible. So in that vein, I really hope this review simply helps make decisions on whether it's worth your time and doesn't spoil anything for someone.
The main game play loop starts off with Stanley in his office, and once you reach an ending, you’ll restart again in the office to begin a fresh loop. Along the way, you’ll be mostly alone; I say mostly because you're accompanied by a wonderful narrator voiced by Kevan Brighting, who existing fans may recognise from the original Stanley Parable or other games like Black Mesa. The narration throughout is witty, funny and snappy, and just the narration alone provided me with endless entertainment and punchy one-liners that at times had me laughing without fail. Whilst the narrator is seeking to guide you through the story, you don’t necessarily have to do what he tells you, you can totally disregard the narrator and tread your own path to discover endings - like my parents always told me as a kid, “Do you do everything that someone tells you to do?” (the answer was always no… and it’s still a resounding no). The original Stanley Parable had 19 different endings, however the Ultra Deluxe edition now adds an additional 24 endings to the game. One thing I was very surprised by is that many of these endings aren’t tied to hours of gameplay, and these endings never failed to amuse me with their humour and the content that they provided.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is so much more than a mere console port of a well received Windows PC game. This new Ultra Deluxe edition doesn't just pay homage to what made the original game so successful. Instead, it built on that success and maintained the quality gameplay that existing fans loved. Often, new content being added to games like this doesn’t really do very well, however, I’d argue that I felt no difference in quality between original content and the new content. For those who were massive fans of the original I don’t think you’d be disappointed with the new content, and I’d even go as far to say that the new content is entirely even with the original, so this is a huge testament to the writers for managing to carry that same humour and feel from the 2013 release.
Crows Crows Crows have truly knocked this one out of the park and I couldn’t have been happier to finally play The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. I’d have happily taken a 1:1 port of the original game just to experience it, however, what we’ve been given is so much better. Game developers should really take note of the masterclass that has been delivered here on how to make a remaster/port/sequel, because the Ultra Deluxe edition is essentially all of those things rolled into one, and it's quite a fascinating creation that impressed me throughout. For those who had never played the original (like me) I’d highly recommend not watching any content of the game, don’t read reviews (ironic to say this in my review - I know), go in as blind and clueless as I did, and you’ll have the best experience. At the start of the game, it asks you if you’ve ever played the game before - be truthful for the best experience.
Lj’s Rating: 5 confused fever dreams out of 5. (or is it?)
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Many thanks to Crows Crows Crows for the Review Key.