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    The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe review


    What is it? The Stanley Parable rebuilt in the Unity Engine, but with much more of itself.
    Expect to pay: $24.99/£19.49
    Developer: Crows Crows Crows
    Publisher: Crows Crows Crows
    Reviewed on: RTX 2080, Intel  i7-9700K , 16GB RAM
    Multiplayer? No
    Link: Official site (opens in new tab)

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    I’ve never given much thought to the “skip dialogue” button in a videogame, but after playing The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe I can’t stop thinking about it. The button (it’s a physical button in the game world, so you have to be standing in a specific place to use it) is just one of several new features you can take for a spin in the “expanded reimagining” of 2013’s The Stanley Parable. Once again, stepping into Stanley’s shoes turns the act of playing a game into a hilarious, surprising, and at times deeply thoughtful examination of games and game development, players and player choice, and yes, even the consequences of pushing a button.

    I’ll get this out of the way early: It feels like a trap to review The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, considering that part of this expanded version takes place in a museum of memories, where the narrator reads aloud from several reviews of the original game. Not just professional reviews from Destructoid and GameSpot, framed and hanging on walls and lit by candlelight (PC Gamer’s own 90% review (opens in new tab) is missing, I noted with some disappointment), but also Steam user reviews unceremoniously dumped in piles and scattered around a rainy dockyard, including one which suggested a skip dialogue button was needed because the narrator talked a bit too much. It really gives you something to ponder while you’re pressing the new skip dialogue button because the narrator is talking a bit too much.

    Back to my point: Reviewing a game so willing to shine a light on its own reviews seems a bit like stepping onto a trap door clearly labeled “trap door.” On the other hand, walking into traps you’ve been warned away from, and doing things you’re not supposed to do before finding out the game really does want you to do them, is how you play The Stanley Parable. So, why not review it? Maybe it’ll wind up framed in The Stanley Parable re-re-release someday.

    Something tells me this ending won’t suffice. (Image credit: Crows Crows Crows)

    There’s far more than just a bucket in Ultra Deluxe—I just don’t want to spoil the rest of the new features, or even reveal how they’re revealed because it’s just about perfect for a videogame about videogames. I’ve played for about 10 hours and I’m pretty sure I still haven’t uncovered all of Ultra Deluxe’s tricks and treats. 

    As with the original game, there is a fair amount of fruitless wandering through parts of the office you’ve been through many times before, trying to discover something new where there is nothing new to be found. And there are still a few patience-testing moments where the narration carries on just a bit too long and I found myself restless to keep exploring rather than standing in place listening. (I definitely don’t think it needs another skip dialogue button, however. One is plenty.)

    But mostly, Ultra Deluxe is an adventure full of delightful surprises and sharp, funny observations about games, how we play them, what we expect from them, and what they expect from us.

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    As seen on PCgamer

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