Developer(s) – Davey Wreden & Galactic Café
Rating – N/A (Discretion is advised)
The Stanley Parable was developed about three years ago, as an attempt by it’s creator, Davey Wreden to go against the kind of narratives typically found in video games of story; and my goodness, he accomplished that. It’s unlike any other interactive story I’ve ever experienced, in that it’s a lot interesting and open-ended. Though I wish a bit more could have been added in terms of gameplay to keep it a little bit more interesting.
Graphics – 6/10
Though the visuals can indeed seem extremely generic and dull at first, as the game progresses, they become thoroughly more varied and engrossing; taking place in factories, lush fields and even Matrix-style computer rooms depending on which direction the player takes. The fact that there are so many places to go throughout the course of the game in itself makes for a fairly wide degree of visual diversity for a game that takes place mainly in an office building.
Gameplay – 4/10
The game takes on a first-person mode, but only containing a handful of thing to do in-game. There are no enemies to fight or puzzles to solve; only the facility to go off in multiple directions, thus effecting what ending the player is treated to. As I said, I wish the developer had added at least a little bit more to make the gameplay that bit more enjoyable, but ultimately, it feels more like watching a film unfortunately. It’s impossible for me to fully appreciate games that are made solely for the sake of art, and having next to no basis in viable gameplay.
Controls – 10/10
As a first-person with next to no other functions apart from walking, turning and interacting with certain objects and buttons, there was hardly anything the developer could have gotten wrong during the making, and so there aren’t any problems to address; so there is this positive to deduce, at least. If there had been any issues with the controls, then it would have inevitably led to me having major issues with this game.
Lifespan – 6/10
It will take roughly 10 hours for players to take each individual route and witness each individual ending, since there are a fair few to discover; the only basis in gameplay this title truly has in my opinion.
Storyline – 8/10
The story is most definitely the greatest aspect of this game; no matter how confusing it may be to people after a while. It follows an ordinary many called Stanley, who is guided by the player through a series of different paths leading to different places with a plethora of different events unfolding; all the while being narrated by British actor Kevin Brighting. Aside from the surrealist goings on that happen throughout the course of each playthrough, Brighting does provide an extremely good narration, and at times also even bring an element of dark humour, as well as breakings of the fourth wall.
Originality – 7/10
Though this game does have of the most unique stories ever told in a video game (indeed, one to go against other video game narratives by design), the gameplay remains largely unoriginal, and consequently, I can’t call it the overly unique game that many other critics have taken to calling it. It’s all very well and good to have such a strange story add to game’s charm, but for me, the most important aspect in any game is gameplay, and unfortunately, this title comes up short in that respect.
To summarize The Stanley Parable is indeed an extremely strange game with an interesting story. However, for all the room there is in the games environment, it seems criminal to me of the developers to not add any more basis in gameplay that what there ended up being.