Review by John Hellier
No, that wasn’t a command. Actually yes, yes it was, you’ve started reading this so now you’re obligated to finish, I like the validation and the view count. Don’t you dare click off this page…Please come back…
I don’t know how to start describing Stay, which is making typing this review quite difficult. Let’s try the standard opening gambit and see how we do. Stay is a… Nope, I can’t think of a sufficient way to describe it as a whole, Appnormals have brought us a truly unique experience here, and given me a few headaches in the process. Along side this the guys at Red Art games are bringing this game onto the physical platform as of May 2019 which includes a digital copy of the soundtrack and a DLC with exclusive content.
Let’s try it this way, instead of taking Stay as a whole, I shall break it down into the component parts, that should make things simpler right? Right?
First things first (obviously, first things can’t exactly be second after all) Stay is at it’s core a visual novel of sorts, with the story being portrayed through the medium of an internet messaging service. You play as yourself attempting to aid main character Quinn escape from the clutches of his kidnapper. In practice this boils down to a lot of reading and choosing the occasional dialogue choice in order to decide what Quinn should do. Occasionally you are tasked with solving a puzzle in order to advance the plot, but these are spread thinly, so get used to reading.
Strangely for this kind of game, decisions you make tend to be more emotional rather than physical. What I mean by that is during your interactions with Quinn, the responses you give affect your relationship with him. This is split between his trust level and his affinity to you. For the most part it is these things you are affecting rather than the events, and this is reflected in how Quinn replies to you. As far as characterization goes, this is amazing, it makes you feel actually connected to him.
As this is a story based game, I shall skip talking about it, because I can’t really talk about it without spoiling anything. Let’s just say that I really wanted to keep going and help Quinn escape, that’s how engrossing the plot is. Instead, I’m going to talk about the puzzles.
For the most part the few puzzles are fairly basic, mostly put a picture back together or line up two ends of a lightbulb. However, there was one puzzle where I had to look online for the solution, because the developers apparently spent all the resources on atmosphere that they couldn’t give their puzzles some explanations. Happily however, redemption was given when a later puzzle was based around Ceefax. I’d put money on the fact there are some of you googling that word right now. This puzzle was amazingly well done, however again I’d imagine those who have no idea what it was would be stumped.
So we’ve concluded that Stay is great at sucking you in with it’s atmospheric writing and visuals, but not so hot with how it handles the puzzles. So far so good. But wait, we aren’t done yet…
One thing you should be aware of with Stay, is the game is very clingy. Most games track your play time, as this does, but as an added twist Stay also tracks how long you HAVEN’T been playing. That’s right, if you have to stop playing because of life, then Stay tuts and wags a finger at you. Not so bad you might think, but stay away too long, and the game actually prevents you from continuing. That’s right, a game guilts you in to keep playing it, and then punishes you for having a life in the real world.
Now this alone isn’t too bad, but the next point I’m going to make was the final nail in the coffin so to speak. I reached a point in Stay, where I was confronted by…something (no spoilers remember). Now during this confrontation at the end of a chapter (I assume) you are given 3 choices, 2 of which i have discovered kill you and send you back to the start of the chapter. There is no obvious way to tell which option is correct, so trial and error is the only way through. If you do die, you have to go through the whole chapter again, with no fast forward to get back to the point where you choose. This means I saw the same scene 3 times until I got the right answer. Take a guess what followed? No, not that…or that…look, I’ll just tell you, another 3 way choice. After my 5th death, I understandably rage quit, and haven’t gone back. So now if I do, I’ve got to start right from the start again…I think not.
So to sum up my feelings of Stay. A good idea, with good writing, let down by some of the worst decisions in game making I’ve ever seen. Now you may have more patience and less distractions than me, in which case I would recommend the story, as for me? I guess Quinn will be trapped forever. Sorry buddy.
You better hope and pray, that you make it safe, back to your own world…
8 thoughts on “STAY – PS4 review”
I don’t like how this review was written, there is a lot of point that weren’t true in my opinion.
First, if you leave for too long, the game doesn’t prevent you to continue, you only have a chapter reset, and you are saying this like if you actually have to restart the whole game (wich is not true)
Second, at the point of the confrontation, the “whole chapter” is only 10-15 lines of dialog wich can be skipped in few seconds. And if you actually paid attention to the answer, you are supposed to not be a jerk toward him and encourage him.
If only 5 deaths makes you rage quit in a video game, I don’t think you should review games (Imagine dying 5 times in CSGO with an opponent killing you in a corner you didn’t checked and ragequitting the game forever and say that it’s a bad game)
Greetings and Salutations,
Thank you for commenting we greatly appreciate opening discussions.
Firstly, You state “the game doesn’t prevent you to continue, you only have a chapter reset” resetting your progress IS stopping you from continuing.
Secondly, your comparison of a game that punishes you for being away, encourages empathy towards the main character and gain is trust to CSGO is ridiculously erroneous.
When John said he rage quit, He meant that the constant repetition of restarting the chapter put him off from returning to the game.
As a game mechanic, this completely failed to be a game. When it screams for your time and doesn’t allow you to continue at your pace and your lifestyle it becomes a game breaking issue for many games (John included)
A review at the end of the day is an honest opinion of that person’s time with the game. You are free to your opinion just as much as the reviewer is. In fact, that is why we have a comments section.
To say John shouldn’t review games because he had a legitimate, game-breaking problem with Stay is counterproductive to the discussion you are attempting to start
You achieve nothing by becoming personal. In fact, the moment you attack the reviewer directly is the moment you lose any moral high ground and any legitimate argument you had
As someone that has made the 7 differents ending. I’m 100% sure that this review isn’t professionnal at all.
The full playthrought can be done in 2hours divided in 24 chapters, thats around maximum *5 minutes* by chapter, so you don’t lose THAT much, (the review makes it think that you are stuck and have to restart from the BEGINING which is wrong) and you actually need to leave for around 2/3 days to actually have a dead end because of leaving. And saying at the begining “Stay is great at sucking you in with it’s atmospheric” But then, complaining about it is quite irelevant.
Second, this isn’t a “gamebreaking problem” Everyone that played STAY entirly (this part was literaly the ending) had to go throught that 3 way dialogue, alright, there is no actual hint for the dialogs but they are quite obvious if you take 20 seconds to think about them. (Unless you think yelling at someone “YOU ARE WEAK” is a good choice)
This part reflect the most the story, you got to be persistant, and not give up after few misstakes and keep gooing. They are all the time the same, there are 9 wrong choice for 5 good choices to continue (and at least 5 are obviously wrong).
I mean, Imagine dying to a boss 5 times in SekiroSDT (And you have to do the entire level again) and leaving the game because you can’t win at your first try and saying that the game is bad because of that ? It looks hypocritical.
If you can’t stand losing 2/3 minutes of progress because you left the game for a week and the character killed himself over the anxiety and the thought you’d never come back, and saying that the game is bad because of that doesn’t makes sence, specialy when you praise the fact that you are “Stay is great at sucking you in with it’s atmospheric”
And for the last point, missusing words in a review isn’t professional and it is in my rights to say my opinion about the “reviewer”. Anyone who would read your review will think that :
-Leaving the game for too long doesn’t let you play the game anymore
-Chapter 22 is impossible and gamebreaking
Both of them are fake and wrong
Hello there Sid, I am sorry to hear that you didn’t appreciate my opinion of Stay, but all reviews are subjective. The part in question that made me give up on Stay was very poorly executed. Given that you have said yourself you have to be reassuring in order to proceed, can you explain why “It isn’t real, it’s all your imagination” is considered a wrong answer when faced with a man who sprouts tentacles from his back? Then could you explain why I have to sit for 4:41 (I timed it) before I can have another try at the question? This might very well be what some people are looking for in a game, however personally I don’t enjoy sitting through 45 lines of unskippable dialogue every time I inadvertently fail because I can’t pick the arbitrary correct answer. As for leaving the game for too long making it unable to continue, if the intention is to keep us invested in Quinn and stay with him, then surely I was playing as intended by restarting when our relationship broke down, rather than restarting at the last checkpoint? If not, then why even have the away counter make Quinn smash his device rather than simply lose trust and make comments? As I have said, reviews are subjective, so just because I disliked Stay doesn’t mean everyone will, but if I disliked Stay, then I’m sure there will be some others out there like myself who dislike it as well. Anyway that about covers my response, I hope you continue to follow all of our reviewers here at Stoffel Presents.
Good Morning Sid,
This is the last time myself or anyone from Stoffel Presents will respond to your comments.
As mentioned in my previous reply we welcome disagreements, debate and discussion. it is the sole reason we have a comments section. What we do not tolerate is personal attacks. Whether that be on the reviewer or site visitors.
You claim you are a developer for the game and worked on several of Stay’s endings. If that is truly the case then I utterly shocked and find your behaviour even more deplorable.
You attack the professionalism of this review whilst failing to show a single ounce of professionalism yourself. Stoffel Presents is dedicated to bringing all opinions of all gamers together in a way that encourages and inspires healthy discussion and debate.
At no point did we attack the developers (or anyone else) personally or question their ability to make a game. The review in question was the personal, honest and subjective opinion of John Hellier, as are all our reviews from everybody in our writing pool.
You have consistently failed to appreciate this, conflated the negatives in the review whilst completely ignoring the positives mentioned and made ridiculous comparisons between Stay and Seikiro, then gone on to attack John personally. This is not acceptable behaviour…even more so from a developer.
Whether you agree with the review or not is not in contention and as I previously stated, of course, you have the right to disagree. But as I previously mentioned when you personally attack the reviewer you lose any argument and all moral high ground.
Finally, severely tongue in cheek, Thank you. Your unwarranted and continued attacks by yourself and the games official Twitter account has only proved to our audience and the world at large that Stoffel Presents reviews are 100% honest, independent and truthful.
Thank you for proving to the world that we are not bought by any developer, publisher or distributing. We greatly appreciate your time and hard work in this matter.
Your only negative point on the game is that you loose progress when you die and gave it a 3/10.
So every game where when you die you loose some progress and have to do a certain part over and over again you’ll give them 3/10 ?
And I’ve said I did played the game and made every ending while playing, I read the whole game dialog 20/25 time to get them, I’m not involved with the devs.