Thoughts on: Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut

Q.U.B.E.

Whenever this game is worth buying or not depends, pretty much, solely on the fact, whenever you get the original version of the game or not. I’m saying that because Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut is probably the worst developers’ spent time and money I can think of in gaming history of remakes and re-releases. What we had was a really nice, chill and clever first person puzzle game, with very distinct look, complete lack of narrative (but a lot of environmental narrative, which left all to your imagination) and beautiful soundtrack.

There was also a DLC pack released, which decided that it would be smart to remove the “chill” part from the gameplay, and I personally could never get into it. Then, for some reason beyond my understanding, developers decided that having no narrative and great soundtrack is bad, so a lot of time and effort was spent on creating Director’s Cut, which undermines some of the better things about the original game.
At it’s core, the game is pretty much exactly the same, down to me getting slightly stuck in the same place of one secret area in the original and the re-release. Two new simple and not very exciting optional puzzles have been added and one really tough puzzle near the end of the game was removed. A lot of people, including me, didn’t like that puzzle, even though the concept behind it was cool, but, thankfully, the simpler puzzle with the same concept is still in the game. Controls and interface are almost identical, with the biggest and weirdest change being, that instead of three separate audio sliders in the options, there’s only one now. Which is especially strange, given that you’d expect there to be an additional fourth one instead – for voice. But then again – developers didn’t consider including subtitles into the game, despite making such emphasis on the added narration.
And the narration is the weakest point of the entire re-release. Original game, if you need a comparison, reminded me more of Kairo and Antichamber, rather than Portal, with which Q.U.B.E. was often compared (to be fair, those game were released after Q.U.B.E., so no surprise there). As such, it felt like the game was telling the story, without actually *telling* the story. It could slightly break the forth wall, and it would be fine, but then it could constantly evoke feelings of being in an cold and alien environment alone, and it would make the experience special. What added narration tries to do – is *say* the exact same things the game *implied* in the original version. There are two problems with that – 1. The story they try to tell makes no sense in relation with what you do in the game. They try to even mock that with narration itself, but that only shows how they knew it doesn’t work and still left it like this. 2. The narration as a whole is not very well written. There are several bits of dialogue (well, monologue, actually) that were written and voice acted in a fantastic and emotional way, but as a whole, it’s just crap. It also doesn’t help, when the script tries to reverse evoke some parts of Portal 1, and what’s probably stupidest thing of all, is the final “today we learned that” speech, during the moment, which felt really grand and exciting in the silence of the original version of the game, and here just falls flat due to how cheesy and stupid all of that sounds.
Sadly, to fit the tone of the narration, music was also changed. Where it was really nice and fit the mood of puzzle solving in the original, here it tries to follow the narration and, as such, at best feels okay, at worst feels annoying and doesn’t fit the gameplay at all. The final parts of the game, for example, feature harder puzzles, which might take some time to figure out, but the music in the rerelease tries to do the “you have to fight for the future of mankind” kind of music, reminiscent of some parts of Mass Effect 3 soundtrack. Which feels like the game being “come on, figure the puzzle out already!”, which is more annoying than anything, as I’ve said.
So, since you can’t get the original anymore, it would be nice to get it while buying this version. And playing the original, instead of this Director’s Cut. If not… Well, the gameplay is still very good, of course, but narration and music make it a lot less enjoyable.