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A pink and blue neon sign that says “new new content” and points toward an open door in The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe Image: Crows Crows Crows

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This is not a review of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe

No, really

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.)

(Thanks, Mike.)

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.

...

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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:

Grayson Morley’s proof that he did indeed play The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe 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.

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 michael.mahardy@polygon.com.

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