The Stanley Parable: Alpha Works Great

So, to make a long story short, The Stanley Parable devs have finally made good on their promise to bring the title to Linux after a looooooooong hiatus where the game could not be released because of a Portal 2 Engine not being out of beta for Linux, or something like that. Please don’t mind if I get the details wrong, but I think it was around those lines. Now, the port is almost ready and a number of Linux users were invited to join the Alpha. I threw it on my SteamOS machine yesterday, and everything worked very well overall.

stanley

Performance-wise, there is no issue at all, but I tested it on a beefy machine with a GTX970, everything maxed out, so I would not expect any slow-downs. Even Portal 2 works very well in max details on a much slower nVidia card, so I don’t believe there should be many issues around that. The controller worked as you would expect, and there were just a couple of minor issues I noticed, such as:

  • The game starts in 1024*768 resolution or something at the beginning. Not sure why it does that instead of following SteamOS’ native resolution.
  • This is not related to this game only, but I would really like some kind of system-wide auto-config to ensure that the most correct settings are used vs the hardware at disposal. Most of the graphical settings were on Low by default. Again, no big deal, but Valve should really think about providing a solution for this on their platform.
  • The environments can get pretty dark (visually!) at times, but there is no gamma slider in the options yet. I hope they can add it for release.

Other than that, after playing a couple of hours, I could not find much problems at all. It feels very polished and close to a final release already, especially since many games for SteamOS/Linux are not even properly tested before they launch (I am looking at you, New’n Tasteless…).

I did not know anything about the game (and I certainly did not want any spoiler) before playing the Alpha, but as you may have heard it’s a very different kind of game. Not really a game actually, rather an experiment. The best way I would describe it is, “GroundHog Day in a Video Game”. Obviously the situation is very different, but it’s very similar in the idea: you keep relieving the same experience all over again, and you try living it in different ways to see where that leads and if you can get a different scenario or ending. And the narrator who is behind the story continuously adapts his comments as you go through your choices.

stanley2

It’s something funny, thoughtful or downright hilarious (the part where it references other games is very, very well done and surprising). It will make you wonder about the importance of choices in video games – something we are not really used to because we rarely have meaningful choices in the first place, and even if we do we usually don’t replay every single game to see what changes would occur for a given decision.

I’d certainly recommend it, while it’s certainly COMPLETELY different from an usual game. And the Linux port seems very solid, so there’s nothing to regret if you decide to get it at release, as far as I could tell.

EDIT: The game was since then released on September 10th, just a couple of days after the Alpha tests! You can grab it now on Steam.


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Ekianjo

2 Comments

  1. Great, now I’m waiting for the Insurgency, the next one from the Source engine games pool 🙂

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