This is not a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe
This is not a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. If you clicked on this thinking that it would, in fact, be a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but that is not what this is.
Unfortunately for me, who agreed to review The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe for Polygon, to even describe the relationship between the The Stanley Parable (2013) and The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe (2022) is to ruin the entire experience of playing Ultra Deluxe, a game that is an extended meta joke about games. And because a video game review is not meant to ruin the entire experience of playing a video game, I’m left with very few tools at my disposal with respect to writing this review.
I sympathize, though, with your clicking on this and expecting it to be a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. I do. To that end, I have an idea. If you have clicked on this not-review for the express purpose of deciding whether to buy and/or play this game, I have just the thing for you. (Hit ’em with the ol’ Polygon Recommends, Mike.)
Polygon Recommends is our way of endorsing our favorite games. When we award a game the Polygon Recommends badge, it’s because we believe the title is uniquely thought-provoking, entertaining, inventive, or fun — and worth fitting into your schedule. If you want to see the very best of the best for your platform(s) of choice, check out Polygon Essentials.
So there! Fret no more, would-be consumer. Though this is not a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, it should be clear now that Polygon has recommended The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe.
Phew. I feel better already. Don’t you?
(Note to self: Find a screenshot to put here. The screens of this game are all so boring, so maybe use something from Elden Ring. We have plenty of those. DO NOT FORGET TO DELETE THIS)
Anyway, if that’s all you were here for, feel free to take off. This is and remains not a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, a game recommended by Polygon.
OK, I think they’re gone now. It’s just you and me. Thanks for sticking in there. I gotta say, it’s not a comfortable thing to not write a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. I genuinely want to share some of the more insightful and clever moments from the game, like when
, and that one time when
. Those were great moments. Really great moments. Genuinely great stuff.
Maybe at this moment you find yourself doubting that I actually played this game. One of the basic assumptions we have while reading a review is that the reviewer has, in fact, played at least some of the game, to the point where they could craft a coherent opinion of it. To your credit, hypothetical skeptical reader, I could conceivably have not played this game and still written what I’ve written. It’s a valid, if somewhat conspiratorial, concern. To that end, here’s a screenshot of a system menu on my PlayStation 5 to assuage your concerns:
Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon
How’s that for transparency? It’s not that I didn’t play The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe and thus could not write a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. No, no. It’s that I chose to not write a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe.
Which leads us to the natural question of: Why would I choose to write the review this way?
I mean, what is Metacritic even going to do with this? Is this a Positive review? Is this Mixed? Does Metacritic have an “Abstain” option? I don’t know a tremendous amount about SEO, but I imagine this review is very much not optimized, so not even the advertisers are going to be impressed by this. Elden Ring, Elden Ring, Elden Ring. There, that should help, if Mike even chooses to publish this, which, you know. I wouldn’t blame him.
Usually this is where I’d tell you that the online multiplayer component was not functional at the time of review, and thus we, the good people of Polygon, are taking it in good faith that such things will be live and operational upon release. But I’m not going to tell you if this game has multiplayer, operational or otherwise, because to do so would be to review The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, and I’m very dedicated to not doing that. Instead, let’s talk about what a sidebar does for a review. They’re actually a neat little textual contrivance. Essentially, with a sidebar, I’ve quarantined off a bit of the review into a textual limbo, an islet of information I could not fit naturally into the flow of the body of the review. But make no mistake: The sidebar is no lesser area of the review, no. The sidebar is powerful! The sidebar draws the eye! The sidebar says: Listen, you should really know this information for the purposes of the review, but I, the reviewer, struggled to find an appropriate transition between paragraphs, and thus I have flagged to my editor that this bit ought to be a sidebar. Or perhaps it was the other way around (the editor being the one doing the flagging; e.g., “Hey, Grayson — should this be a sidebar? Or perhaps deleted?”). If you’re still reading this in the hope that this sidebar is in fact a secret review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, then I have bad news for you. This sidebar is not a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe.
OK, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve proven yourself to be a Valued Platinum Reader™. So I’ll level with you: I wrote this review this way because if you are the kind of person who can make it to the end of this and not totally hate the reviewer (me), and furthermore you find that you are the kind of person who is actually kind of entertained by this whole “deconstruction of genre as extended joke” vibe I’m giving off, and even more furthermore you have at least once laughed or drolly smirked while reading this not-review, then you are in fact a person who should play The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. Even if you’ve played the original. Perhaps especially if you’ve played the original.
Which is a long way of saying:
In conclusion, The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is a game that can, and should, be played.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe was released April 27 on Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The game was nonreviewed on PlayStation 5 using a download code provided by Crows Crows Crows. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here. If you’d like to complain about this non-review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, you can email [email protected]
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