The Ninjabot

The Stanley Parable Review: Just Buy It

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 10:48 am by Victor Chaves


The Stanley Parable is the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure game where you play as Stanley wandering the halls of his office, with the end goal of experiencing funny and thought-provoking situations Stanley encounters. The Parable part comes in from the narrator, as quippy as Portal’s GlaDOS who actively narrates what you are or about to do, and reacts to your actions. Using this story structure and witty writing, The Stanley Parable is an excellent game no one should pass up.

A Simple Man for a Big Story

Using first-person controls, the player plays as the ever-silent Stanley. With only the ability to walk around, interact, and crouch (although I haven’t found a reason to use it), the game provides the simplest of controls. There is no skill, there is no leveling up, and there is no health-bar. There’s not even a HUD to speak of! The only challenge here is choice, which is the entirety of the game.

What mysteries lie in your file cabinets?

What mysteries lie in your file cabinets?

Choices are the backbone of this game, with nearly everything you do causing a ripple that draws a different wave in each choice you make. It’s easy to reach those choices as the game does not require a huge time sink to view everything, nor is it ambiguous with showing a choice (often it’s choosing a door or a button). The game clocked only 2 ½ hours for me to explore most branches, and the time it takes to proceed from the start to the end of a branch is generally 20 minutes. And like a true choose-your-own adventure novel, this game makes you want to check every choice to see every outcome, like holding your finger on a page in a choose-your-own adventure to see what happens on both page 25 and 38.

A Lot of Tale to Tell

Whereas the choose-your-own adventure book has one of your choices just ending the story, the choice you make manipulates the story, contextually providing exposition that matches the nature of what you chose. The branches that you travel down will cause you to question the game itself, question your role as a gamer playing this game, and question the reality that you have put yourself in. And while you are scratching your head, you will slap your knee with the excellent humor the game provides. You will guffaw at the situations you find yourself in, and truly be entertained by the narrator played by Kevan Brighting who makes the game incredibly compelling.

These innocuous walls hide a lot of flavor.

These innocuous walls hide a lot of flavor.

The Stanley Parable is one of the smartest games I’ve ever played without being condescending. Where other games breach into serious subjects but fall into pretentiousness, this game makes those subjects endearing and has the player actively want to learn all of its messages. There is a demo available on Steam that does not actually take place in The Stanley Parable, but it accurately represents what you will experience when playing the full game. Buy the full game, play it, and enjoy what may be one of gaming’s crowning achievements.

Presentation: 9

Gameplay: 8

Replay Value: 10

Legacy Score: 9

Geek Legacy’s review scores are on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest possible score.

Follow Victor on Twitter @fake_brasilian to keep up on his sandwiches.

    Sharing the Legacy on Flickr

    See all photos