The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe 2022 – The End Is Never The End.
April 27th, 2022
Crows Crows Crows
The Ultra Deluxe edition of The Stanley Parable offers new paths, new choices, new secrets to uncover, new endings, and much more.
The whole labyrinth is bigger than ever.
This game encourages repeated playthroughs. More than that. The game is better and better the more you play it.
Firstly, you might want to follow the narrator, but the more you play, the more curious you get. Exploration is the key here and the humor from the narrator combined with the unpredictability of the gameplay makes it a very original gaming experience.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is an excellent video game. The 2013 edition was ingeniously constructed, and it’s one of those games with a tonne of easter eggs and mysteries if you dig deep enough, which we love. A remake with fresh endings seemed like a fun time. And we had great hopes, especially considering the three-year delay, the exorbitant price point, and the fact that it’s “so different” than the original edition is still sold separately at full price.
As you can see, we had a poor reaction to the game’s release. We still recommend that you play the original version. If you haven’t played the original version of the game, you can skip to the end for a quick recap. If you’ve already played it and are wondering whether this version is worth it, we go into more detail in the rest of the review. We may be a little rambly, but we believe we get our thoughts over rather well.
So, what exactly happened? Why do we not believe it was delivered? In our judgment, there are a couple of factors at work here in The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe.
So, first and foremost, the key selling factor in Ultra Deluxe was the new material in this edition of the game. And we believe it fails in practically every manner. Almost the majority of the new content is sealed behind a door labeled “New Content,” which appears when you complete a particular number of endings (determined by whether you indicate you’ve played the original or not when the game first boots up).
Yep. Only three (extremely minor) endings were actually incorporated into the main game, and they’re all joke endings like “we didn’t repair this out-of-bounds problem from the original game and instead added some narration to it!!!”
The majority of the new content consists of a single ending (long, across several restarts, but still one ending). This ending’s main story element is “this is the content that was added in Ultra Deluxe.” We expected some of that, but not nearly all of the new information. It’s just a big joke on how game makers remaster titles without adding any significant material. It’s as though the writers forgot that the first game was more than just breaking the fourth wall. It also delves into other topics. The only time this version accomplishes anything like that is when it introduces story points that are directly related to self-referential humor.
After this ending, you’re given an item that you can choose to take up at the start of the game every time you restart, which changes all of the main game’s endings to reflect the fact that you’re carrying this item around. However, it is nearly never substantial. It’s still the same old routes, with just the very end of each one altered in any meaningful sense. It’s a fantastic joke until you realize how much of the rest of the content revolves around it.
Some endings in The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe didn’t even get a new version with this item because it would be too difficult to create a new version with that item. So some of the game’s longer endings, including one entire road that splits off into numerous other endings, are sealed off, and you get a short unmemorable conclusion instead. And they didn’t even bother changing a couple of endings. Furthermore, picking up the item occasionally interferes with development (in a “this is not how the game is intended to work” sort of way). Was plainly merely slapped on top of the primary game to artificially exaggerate the amount of material, because they didn’t have enough to justify selling the game again. So, certainly, the worst offender here is the content. But that’s only half of the story.
So, other than that “New Content” door and a handful of minor gag endings, the original game is essentially intact. But here’s the deal: To bring the game to consoles, and possibly because creating for an extremely-outdated engine with unpleasant tools is becoming less and less appealing, the developers chose to convert the entire game from Valve’s Source engine to Unity.
We dislike Unity, but it can be useful for some devs, and we believe it could have worked here. The issue is that it’s a rather shoddy port. They’ve added a lot more things that weren’t there previously for a game that included an entire finale joking about an out-of-bounds bug they didn’t catch. Movement is considerably slicker than before, and climbing on things feels quite finicky compared to the original.
Furthermore, we have an ultrawide monitor, and several HUD elements did not appear for us unless we converted to 16:9, rendering certain areas unplayable.
The greatest problem with this Source->Unity transfer is that it resulted in some content being cut. The original version makes use of the built-in command line of the Source engine. There are cheat codes and even an ending that can be reached via console instructions. The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe relocates at least one, perhaps two of these cheat codes to hidden locations throughout the game.
However, the conclusion of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe was heavily reliant on attempting to enable hacks via the console, and it was completely removed from Ultra Deluxe. And that is absurd. There’s no technical reason why a simple reimplementation of the console command window couldn’t have been created just for these two cheats and the ending. There are none. Even on consoles, simply bring up the on-screen keyboard to enter into it.
Another content modification occurred in The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, which was probably half a game engine issue and half a licensing issue. One of the original endings had you exploring Minecraft and Portal. Firewatch and Rocket League have taken their position. We believe the latter of the two originals was replaced because it originally ran on the Source engine, making it straightforward to pinpoint. Because this Unity version was tailored specifically for The Stanley Parable, they’d have to do some fiddling to get it to feel exactly right… but there’s a problem with that theory – the same goes for Rocket League and, to a lesser extent, Minecraft, neither of which feel quite right in the first place. We believe the first of the two originals was replaced due to license issues. We don’t know if one was replaced just to replace both games when one of them needed to be modified.
In any case, the new ones are significantly worse. The pacing of Ultra Deluxe version is terrible, with one being far too long and the other far too short. And you’re piped back into the original game’s location in an unusual manner. Rocket League, in particular, is tedious.
The point is that wherever the original version and The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe diverge in the main game, the original is superior.
So, considering that the new content doesn’t really know what it’s doing and mostly just waters down the experience, and everything else that’s been updated has made things worse… we genuinely believe we have an unpopular position, even among those who dislike this version of the game. Perform the original. Ignore The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe completely.